Friday 24 March 2023

Rusty's 6th adopt-versary

Six years ago today, I collected this doggy girl in JHB. With incredible trust, she climbed into my car and came home with me to Parys.

Rusty is a blessing. She is silly and funny, smart, fast learning, loving, playful, easy going, and sweet. We've been a perfect match from the moment our eyes met. We are fortunate that we have granny Liz who loves Rusts so very much and looks after her when I am out or away.

Rusty was about 5-6 years old when she came into my life. She is a mature girl now. She is still active and loves trails and outings but we do low-key activities and focus on health and enjoyment.

Thursday 23 March 2023

Ultrasound and x-ray for Rusty without anaesthetic

My Rusty came with me on an in-and-out road trip to CT for a meeting with an overnight stop on the out and back routes. She is a great traveller and it was special for us to hang out. Tomorrow is our 6th adopt-versary.

We had a bit of a worry when I spotted blood in her urine during our Tuesday evening walkies. At 8am on Wednesday morning, we were at the Bergview vet in Hermanus. They found crystals (and bacteria) in her urine, recommended an ultrasound soonest and gave her antibiotics and pain meds.

I called my vet, Vetcare Animal Clinic - George and got her booked in for an ultrasound for our return home.

Rusty never complains about anything and had been her normal self - playful, loving walks, loving road trip and devouring meals. I had no sign that anything was wrong.

We're back from the vet and thank goodness there are no blockages and no kidney stones. Vet thinks the crystals are secondary to an infection she must have had.

What I am super proud of is that we did x-ray and ultrasound today without anaesthetic. She was held, of course, especially being on her back for the ultrasound - and having her belly shaved. Rusty is quite a private girl a d doesn't like to be exposed but she handled this all really, really well. One of the veterinary assistants hugged her shoulders, another had her back legs. And I focused on her face and eyes - and mouth with yummy liver treats. She came out with smiles, she stuck out her tongue, she made cute faces and she gave the assistant a kiss. This girl!

At dog school, one of the things that Teacher Nics has always said is that it is so important to train your dogs to lie on their sides and to stay there - and for strangers like a vet to be able to inspect them. This makes doing things like x-rays possible without needing to sedate the dog. Rusty got full marks today.

Rusts is in for a diet change to food that will help to dissolve the crystals, needs to finish her course of meds and will be under my watchful eye. She is otherwise in great condition for being 11 to 12 years old.

Monday 6 March 2023

Local kayak race

With thunderstorms and heavy downpours predicted for Sunday, I was undecided about participating in a local kayak race hosted by the Knysna Canoe Club until I saw the forecast on Sunday morning had turned in our favour. So, I headed in Knysna direction to the Goukamma River and arrived in overcast conditions with glimmers of blue sky and sunshine.

This is what it looked like about 20 minutes before the start.

Of course, within 10 mins of the start, the heavens opened, the thunder rumbled and the wind picked up. And then it calmed. And then it stormed. And then it calmed, and then it stormed. All in a 10km - 90-minute period. And it was fabulous. For me, Goukamma never disappoints.

Getting above the weir for the start. This is the first time that I've seen the weir exposed - I usually paddle right over the wall.

Lining up for the start. I was the only plastic kayak. Yay and three cheers for my Vagabond Marimba kayak. We paddled upstream above the weir for 1.5km. Just after the turnaround, the first storm hit. Back at the weir, I wavered and considered waiting for the rain to pass. Instead, I just carried on and the storm was done within a few minutes.

On the section below the Weir, we had wind and rain and clear. This was on the way back - maybe 2km from the end. Beautiful, still, bit of sun. Not even 10 minutes later this changed....

From the photo above to this one - in 10 mins. It was barely a drizzle when I got to the finish less than 10 mins later. Fortunately warm out and quite fun.

As a bonus, I was first K1 lady today. Hahaha - I did ask if I was the only one.

It turns out that I wasn't the only K1 lady, but a group of paddlers overshot the turnaround, putting in at least an extra two kays overall, so the other ladies were likely in that group. I didn't spot the turnaround either but I only did an extra 150m to 200m before turning around - a hundred metres on the return I did see the tag on a log.

I was the only paddler with a plastic kayak. Three cheers for my Vagabond Marimba. A few of our Social Paddling Group paddlers were keen to come but this iffy weather was definitely a deterrent for them and many other paddlers in the area.

Good experience and I'm glad that I went.

Thursday 2 March 2023

First biathlon

My Rusty dog sets a great example that old dogs can learn new tricks. On Tuesday evening, I took part in my first biathlon event. I had my arm twisted by a friend in the Masters Swimming Club to give it a try - and I'm so glad that I did.

Unlike triathlon where you transition from swim to bike to run, biathlon consists of two, timed, sprint distance events: run (track) and swim (pool). 

For most age groups - with the exception of the very young and the very old - the run distance is 800m and the swim distance is 100m (half this for young ones and over 70s). You run first, with age groups taking to the track every few minutes. Then, the event moves to the nearest pool where the swimmers are set off eight lanes at a time. 

This event took place in Oudtshoorn on a tartan track and a 50m pool. My feet haven't been on a tartan track for decades, literally, and I haven't swum a length in a 50m pool for many, many years (the one I go to with the swim club is 25m). I enjoyed the 50m length.

Oudtshoorn is a 50-minute drive from George. We left George in cool temperatures and drizzle with cloud on top of the Outeniqua Pass and arrived in Oudtshoorn to 30-odd degree, dry-and-sunny weather. It is another world on the other side of the mountains.

It was super to see the number of children and teens taking part. For the run, us adult age groupers set off with the U19s as we were very much in the numbers minority.

A couple of weeks ago, I joined in with a weekly track training session and made it three weeks in a row. I haven't done speed work in years and I thoroughly enjoyed being stretched. I also realised how slllooowww I am on a sprint. So much work to be done here. I need to make this a regular part of my training.

As for swimming, I've done a few sessions this year and to improve I need to put in some work.

My run went well. I knew that I wouldn't be close to most of the runners so ran my own pace - my main concern here was misjudging pace for the second lap. I felt good after lap 1 and went into lap 2 with enough to catch the two girls in front of me - although the one out-sprinted me at the finish.

I was very much at the back of the group. Those front girls are quick! Could I have gone faster? Maybe a bit. Now I have a benchmark to improve on.

We drove to the Oudtshoorn pool, a nice 50m pool not far from the track. We had a bit of waiting and hanging out until it was out turn. 

My concerns for the swim were about the start (false start or being delayed), losing my goggles or having them fill up with water, and misjudging the wall for the tumble turn.

My dive could have been stronger, but it was fine. A few weeks ago. I did one practice session from the blocks to test diving in with goggles on. At the event, I didn't lose my goggles but they were filled with water so I couldn't see much. Thankfully, I could see the black line on the bottom and I nailed my tumble perfectly. My turns are generally fairly solid but I have misjudged the distance to the wall more than a few times.

The whole swim was a bit surreal. There were 7 of us in the water. I was in Lane 2. The girl in Lane 1 was slower than me so she was behind me and there was no-one in Lane 3. I felt like I was in the pool on my own, which was disconcerting because I don't want to be THAT one - in a race with a false start - who swims the whole length before realising that they were meant to stop and the crowd (ok, we didn't have a crowd left there) looking on.

I touched in 4th place. Definitely can improve but is a good benchmark.

In my age category, there were three of us. I was slower than both on the run but piggy-in-the-middle for the swim. Overall, I was 3rd.

Biathlon has an interesting points handicap system to accommodate for age. 

Everyone starts off with 1000 points for each discipline. The goal is to get the most points. I'm in the 40 to 50 age category. 5 points are added for every year that you are older than 40 according to the age you turn in the year. I turn 47 so I got an extra 35 points. 

Then, each discipline has a benchmark time for your age category. You win or lose points according to whether you beat the time or are slower. I'll need to check on the allocation but you lose x-number of points for every second that you are slower than the allocated time and you gain points for every second that you are faster. The objective is to get the most points overall. 

This way, older athletes can compete with Open age groups and even beat them overall on points.

This experience was a good one and I will definitely do another. I've got some speedwork to put in on both the run and swim.