Agility Spaz

Monday, January 29, 2007

Let It Snow

Last weekend, we received our first decent snowfall of the year. Decent, meaning enough to get the diehard cross-country skiers out onto the trails, with only the odd blade or so of grass surfacing in their tracks. As a not-so-diehard cross-country skier (Did I mention Viva likes to bite my skis?), I figured I'd use the white stuff to help with lateral distance training.

We are, at present, doing baby distance work. Five feet doesn't feel like a big deal, but ten feet? Ten feet seems like a good 2007 goal. Still, baby distance. We practice using cones in the backyard, though as someone has kindly replaced the local soccer field's trash cans with cones for the winter (???) we've been doing a good bit of work at said soccer fields during our morning walks. Since my instructor has observed on more than one occasion that I tend to cheat by moving closer to the cones than I plan, I've been looking for creative ways to mark my distance lines that don't involve littering or moving heavy objects. Enter last weekend's snow.

Snow, I discovered, is perfect for making distance lines. I can easily measure from my position to the cone, and then (Voila!) produce a nice, semi-orderly path of footprints in the snow. The line is there when I return the following morning, enabling me to run at a slightly greater distance from the footprints and, therefore, the cone. Viva and I had actually worked our way up to ten feet when disaster struck.

It snowed again.

Last night, we received enough of a dusting as to completely obscure my previous footprints. Arriving at the soccer fields, I could find nothing of yesterday's distance line. Nothing. The cones were still there, standing forlornly amidst a sea of white. I cursed my fate. (Well, actually, nothing quite so melodramatic, though I groused enough for the dogs to notice as I walked past the cones to the empty goalposts at the far end of the field, where we usually turn around.)

Gentle reader, I groused for a full fifteen minutes before the thought occurred to me that, having constructed a line in the snow once before, I could construct a line in the snow again. Eyeballing what seemed like a goodly distance (albeit a reasonable one) from the cone , I gave Viva her "Get out!" command, and she got out. Turns out I'd asked for more lateral distance than I'd anticipated, as she had to think about it as she approached the cone, but she wheeled around it like a champ. Good girl. I gave her a couple of treats, and proceeded to measure.

Seventeen feet. I made us a new, snowy distance line. Due to a temporary fit of chicken-heartedness on my part, the line runs fifteen feet away from the cone, rather than seventeen feet, but if I remember correctly, that'll serve when Team Viva gets to NADAC Elite a year or so from now. Of course, if we can go from ten feet of lateral distance to seventeen feet of lateral distance overnight, we may get to Elite sooner than I think.

Let it snow.


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