Hot October

Camping in the Pine Barrens came with its share of ups and downs.

I had to commute into Manhattan for a work meeting, so we didn’t get down to the campsite until about 4:30 PM. Denali and Knox were immediately comfortable on their tie-outs, since we had camped there this summer. Dexter was a bit antsy, but I still managed to set up my new (bigger) tent and cook dinner. The sun sets around 6 PM and we made it a pretty early night.

It was in the mid-40’s when we woke up on Saturday. I cooked up a quick breakfast (pork roll, eggs, and tea) and loaded the dogs for our first run. The campsite is about five minutes from the Mt. Misery trail, so it was nice to get an early start without the usual hour and a half drive.

The dogs did great – I know I say it a lot, but they’re really starting to round out as a team. Even Dexter has been keeping a better pace with the speedy huskies. I wanted to explore the surrounding trails a bit more, but it warmed up too fast. 

Most of Saturday was peaceful, until a family rolled up and took the campsite directly next to mine. That’s the one thing you can’t prepare for when you book online – families that just drive in without reservations.

The kids weren’t really bad, I just wanted to relax and not listen to their squeaky little voices. The family also had a small dog with them. It was perfectly well behaved, but of course my meatheads wanted to either wrestle it or eat it (can’t be too sure).

I eagerly awaited sundown so I could cook my dinner and have the darkness provide some seclusion. It was another early night, since I wasn’t sure if it would be cold enough to run the dogs the next morning.

I’m glad I decided to stay, despite family, because Sunday’s run was beautiful. I drove out before breakfast, since it was already nearly 50 degrees when I woke up. We were on the trail as the sun was rising, and it made for some beautiful light through the pines.

While it was warm at the campsite and at the trail head, the trail itself felt a few degrees cooler. I wasn’t going to push the dogs, and had planned to just do a mile and a half, but they were on fire. We took a few breaks for water, but they were revved up and ready to run each time.

We did the whole 3.8 mile trail again, and they ended strong. There’s a hill towards the very end of the run, and Denali must have seen an animal or something, because they took the hill full speed, when normally I have to pedal the rig along.

The dogs got a well-deserved breakfast of kibble, beef, and eggs while I cooked my own (awesome) campfire omelette. My neighbors were wide awake, so I decided to pack up and head home before my “check out” time.

All in all, I’m glad I went, but I’m looking forward to colder temperatures and (hopefully) fewer campers next time.

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Fall is Here

Day two of fall training. It was a bit warmer and more humid, so we took it slow. The squirrels are very active right now, and Denali needs to learn to keep her prey-drive in check!

Day two of fall training. It was a bit warmer and more humid, so we took it slow. The squirrels are very active right now, and Denali needs to learn to keep her prey-drive in check!

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Back on Track

I’ve been pretty bad about updating this blog, but I’ve been even worse about getting the dogs out for runs. To pick up where we left off – the dogs and I attended our first race of the season. We didn’t make it out for Jersey Sand’s first race, but we did get down there for the Pine Barrens Dryland Run.

I wasn’t expecting too much from this race. I was treating it like a normal run down in the pines, since this was only our second time at Mt. Misery this season. Also, it was around 50 degrees when we ran, and I didn’t want to push the dogs too hard.

Despite the conditions and lack of training, we came away with second place – only a few seconds behind the first place team. We had some opportunities to overtake the other team, but I held the brakes. I knew my guys would lose steam as soon as we passed, so I tried to stay on their tail for the majority of the run. Given the minute starts, we could still grab first if we came in close enough after the first team out. That plan almost worked, except everybody slowed down during the final leg of the race.

But that’s alright. They still did great. I’m especially proud of Knox. His line was tight the entire time. Denali got a little distracted, which is entirely unlike her. Dexter did well, but I could tell it was tough on him.

Speaking of Dexter, we had a little scare with him just over a week ago. I had all the dogs in for their wellness exams, and his blood work came back a little off. It seemed as though he was fighting an infection, though he had antibodies pretty much finishing it off. The vet was worried about Lyme, so I had to bring in a urine sample to make sure his kidneys were working properly.

Luckily, everything came back fine. I need to keep an eye on him for any stiffness and get his urine tested at least once a year. I feel pretty guilty for making him run the last race, seeing as he likely didn’t feel great at the time. But he sure didn’t show it.

Now, as I mentioned, our runs have been infrequent. We had a freakish warm spell for a few days, followed by what seemed like a week of rain. Followed by me getting sick and the holidays. Hopefully, now that I’m feeling better and the chaos of Christmas has passed, we can get back into the swing of things.

2012-2013 Mileage to Date: 43.87

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