L-R Emmy (lying down), Drama, Kendra, Savannah & Teya

19 June 2013

The mini Wall

Before The Drain there was The MINI Wall
(originally posted on Facebook 14th May 2013)

Today I hit The Wall. Not The Real Wall, that's reserved at 18 miles for people who can actually run. This was The MINI Wall, reserved at 6 miles for idiotic people who like object lessons in how not to run. 

  • First check the weather and see there's a storm coming, so plan to run in the calm before the storm. 

  • Get the time of your run wrong so instead of the calm before the storm you're running in the storm before the storm. 

  • Forget to hydrate properly.

  • Stretch once instead of twice because you're impatient to get going because of the weather

  • All this on top of not enough sleep. 

Result - at 2 miles slow, at 4 miles sludgy, and at six miles threateningly empty quickly became stalled. The wind against became like treacle, my legs started to get dragged to the floor, my shoes started to make scrapey noises as I wasn't lifting them properly. I was trying to just go left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, and root march my way through it , but the wind and exhaustion were drowning out the drill sergeant in my head, who from I could tell was only capable of mumbling something along the lines of 'der duh der der derduh, floppity flop.'

So I set myself a lowered target, and at least matched my last time of 90 mins, but I only covered 8.8 miles. That works out at 10.2 mins a mile, and a marathon pace [even in dreamland] of 4h 28mins, a full half hour slower than my last time.

Message to self - prat


15 June 2013

Remind Me Again When They Grow Up?

You would think at the age of 21 months (which is so close to 24 months that they really might as well be 2 years old) that the 'puppies' being quiet wouldn't mean they were being naughty.  You could be forgiven for that. However, having raised 5 whippet puppies (3 from birth - not counting their siblings), a Chelsea Bear and numerous family dogs, there is no way that *I* can be forgiven for thinking that (sigh).

I am upstairs watching TV and making Tuggitz!.  The dogs are free to come and go.  Drama and Teya are with me, Savannah and the pups are downstairs.  All is quiet and good except the occasional sound of plastic.  Good puppies playing with an empty plastic bottle (yeah right).

Kendra brings up the plastic crinkly toy and I ask her to show me.  She obligingly brings it up on the bed and drops it in my hand.  The outside packaging from a 5 pack of BRIGHT NEON GEL PENS!

My mind instantly envisions my living room carpet, rugs and furniture splashed with a psychedelic blend of neon pink, orange, yellow, green and blue.  Those of you who knew me in my early 20's are probably thinking 'yeah, that sounds like something she'd like', and you're right - it was (at least based on my wardrobe accessory choices at the time), but not in my current day living room.

In my panic I try and rush off the bed and downstairs (while telling KK she's a good girl for bringing me the 'toy') and am mobbed by 5 excited whippets wondering what game we're going to play (AARGH).  'Mummy's moving fast - it must be something AWESOME!'  Hmmph, mummy can't move fast with you're all jumping on her and bashing her in the head and knees.

I finally make it past the sea of bouncing whippets, down the stairs through the school of running whippets and discover....

Phew!!  Plastic shards, chewed up caps and ends, but NO INK!!  Gel ink is awesome - it stays put in the tubes, and doesn't leak out the back end or the writing end.  The puppies chewed the caps off (the caps had interesting bits on them) and then chewed the other ends, and then got bored before they reached the ink.

Dogs are locked outside while I clean up the shards (don't want any cut paw pads), say a sad goodbye to my pens and all is good.

And now that it's all over I'm a little disappointed.  While I'm glad my carpet and furniture were saved, I'm thinking that it might have been kind of cool to have a couple of neon coloured pups for a few days.


'A Simple Whippet' & 'Mommy's Rules'

A couple of whippety poems Nick wrote several years ago.  

He wrote the first one when we just had Chelsea (whippet mix) and were waiting for Savannah (our first purebred whippet).  At the time we only planned on 2 dogs at a time - we never dreamed we'd have a houseful of whippets. The line about 5 or 6 whippet friends must have been a bit of foreshadowing because before she left us Chelsea had 5 whippet housemates.

The second poem was written after Savannah taught Chelsea how to steal food off the kitchen counter.  Naughty Savvy!  You'd never believe that if you know her now, but she was very naughty as a young'un.

(c) Colin Penney            (c) Chelynnah

A Simple Whippet

I am a simple Whippet
and my needs are far and few
We’ll start with a big, soft, warm bed
that you thought belonged to you.

A backyard with tall fences
where I can chase some things
like squirrels, chipmunks, bags and twigs
or anything with limbs.

A big long beach with miles of sand
that I can fly on through
so long as it’s away from cars
(’cause I would chase them too!)

Then onward to my favourite chair
- the comfiest I’ll pick -
and whippet friends to share it with
(not many, five or six!)

I’ll deign to curl up round your knees
to show that I approve
but if I am not comfortable
then you’ll just have to move.

As long as I am not disturbed
I’ll sleep for King and Country
but one step near the kitchen door
and you’ll soon know who’s hungry

The first and last bites must be mine,
I get to lick all dishes
and leave just one crumb on your lips
for lots of doggie kisses.

And as the hour, it turns to late
and sleep-time’s where we’re heading
be sure that I will snuggle close
if I get all the bedding.

Just know whenever you’re with me
this message clear I’ll send:
You’re truly someone special
when a Whippet is your friend.

Nick Jones
January 2001


Mommy's Rules

There is a rule my mommy made
Which I’ve misunderstood
She thinks to do it I am bad
When really I am good

She yells and screams and gets all at
The short end of her tether
She thinks that I’m not listening
When really I’m just clever

She’ll give me all the finger wags
Her voice firm and insistent
Then pushes it back way out of reach
Like that will make a difference

I sneak a look, I leap and jump
My tummy gives applause
And now I have those yummy treats
Between my whippet paws

There’s no way you can stop me
Though you try for all it’s worth
You think I should be curled up tight
But I was born to counter surf

Nick Jones
13th July 2003

13 June 2013

The Tale of the Obvious Tree

(Background - Nick has run a couple of half marathons and was working up to a full marathon when an injury kept him from running for just over a year.  He is now back to training and hoping to do a full marathon in September)


Today I met The Drain. Not The Wall, not The mini Wall, The Drain. I'd gotten up early, planning to do a half marathon along the seafront, with the incentive of doing one under two hours after last weeks 15 mile epic [sorry, 15.1 mile epic, the .1 is very important - see note at bottom**] I'd checked the weather, and it was going to be bright but cloudy, and just slightly chilly. Perfect jogging weather. Did the numpty check what the wind was doing? No, the numpty did not. So, arrived at the beach, complete with sideways trees, but happy the wind was against me, so I'd have it on the way back. And that's when I met the The Drain. 

There's a great feeling at the start of any run as your GPS watch goes from the default 60 min/mile to 8 min/mile. It makes you feel you're accelerating like a proper runner, when all you're doing is stopping standing still. Today, with the wind against, it got to 10 and stayed there, then within 5 minutes had drifted back towards 11. That was just the first sign I was in trouble. The second was that my diaphragm, the thing meant to move up and down to suck air into my lungs, didn't want to move. It's supposed to feel bouncy like a beach ball, mine felt like an old car tire. And within ten minutes the oxygen depletion had got to my shoulders, by twenty it had gone to my legs. By thirty the cramp started in my right calf. There was no sudden downturn, no marked point at which my body complained, no ice picks [or blood axe] to the lungs, no moment when some part of my body broke and fell off [it has a habit of doing that]. This was gradual, like a sink full of water in a cheap hotel where the plug doesn't fit. The energy just slowly drained out of me, the stride pattern shrank, the pace slackened, the numbers slunk back down, too embarrassed to show their face in public.

It didn't help that as well as the Beaufort scale shredding force 84 wind, there where these gusts, aimed specifically at me, trying to make me feel even worse. These gusts were not aimed at anyone else, just me. All the other runners, bombing past me at 10 miles an hour, were completely left alone by the wind, glancing down at me with a kind empathetic look on their faces that quite clearly said "Why aren't his legs working?" Worse still were the runners coming the other way, floating along like rose petals on a breeze, 2 of them carrying weights. I, of course, immediately, if quietly, doubted their parentage. Just wait till you turn back, I thought, then you'll be hit with a wall of turbulent sandpaper strong enough to blow your ear buds out of your ears. Except of course, that would be when the wind would stop. The wind, quite clearly, just hated me.

I turned back at 5 miles, so I would at least hit double figures. The wind stopped -  physically, actually, literally, stopped dead the second I turned round, then 5 seconds later went "ha, ha, just kidding" and started up again with it's previous ferocity. And despite the fact the sink was empty, back i went. Not so much a rose petal as an old cone, bashed by the wind and occasionally thrown forward on its journey to somewhere. One foot in front of the other, the body having already lost, the mind too stupid to notice. 

I have a thing I tend to do called the Reverse Ed Moses. Edwin Moses was famous for winning the Olympic 400m hurdles with a stride pattern of 9ft.  I do the Reverse Ed, which is a stride pattern of 9in. So there I was, bumbling along, when who should come back along but one of the runners carrying weights. He was IN PAIN. The wind had defeated him, his shoulders and head wobbling erratically side to side like the jelly monster, his arms draped down like an octopus  And did he hate those weights. His friend was nowhere to be seen, presumably off crying behind one of the beach huts, or burying his weights. The now lone-runner looked up at me, an understanding, self pitying glance that said "Ah, so that's why your legs weren't working". Either that or "please could you shoot me", one of the two. And schadenfraude proving that most wonderful of adrenalin boosts I managed to speed up, and lo and behold as my right calf stretched out to something more than a tippy toe the cramp went, sort of.

5 miles later I had defeated mother nature. Well, insulted her quietly then ran away before she could ask me what I said. And although my finish time was truly horrible, I didn't stop, so it's the straw I'm clutching to -.before the wind blows it into the next county.


**Note:  The 15.1 mile epic is a reference to the Nick's Facebook post from 6th June
"I ran further than I've ever run today , 15.1 miles [the point 1 is very important]. Pace was good, 2h 23mins, which is 9.47 mins/mile, and a marathon pace of 4hr 8 min. In theory. Cos right now I hurt, man do I hurt, oh my deity {OMD} do I hurt. Unless you're that way inclined, in which case oh my lack of deities {OMLOD} do I hurt"

7 June 2013

Eau de Smushed Dead Worm

So we've finally had the beginning of summer. The most wonderfully warm and gorgeous days, and I'm at the computer and the dogs are out sunning themselves, and then I see Kendra doing the 'neck dive' that is so reminiscent of her Auntie Bear. Down she goes again and again, and then my brain finally catches up and I shout NO. And she comes to me and thank goodness there is no smell. I watch the others investigate the spot and they are interested, but I am able to warn them away.

Later I see Emmy doing a full neck dive and back roll. Again no (or very little) smell, but I see Teya digging at the grass a bit looking for whatever it was. I go out and have a look but see nothing, so I pull one of their blankets over the spot and go about my business.

About 1/2 hour later I see Emmy having the best neck dive and roll I have ever seen. She's throwing herself all over and having a good old full on whole body roll. ON THE BLANKET!! So obviously even though I can't smell it she can, but as she's on the blanket I don't care. It was actually really nice to watch her just give in completely to her doggie instincts and enjoy herself.

And it's been so nice to have the door open and watch them come and go and enjoy sunning themselves. At one point 2 were on the blanket on the ground beside the raised bed, 3 were on the raised bed, and of course when I went to take a photo they all had to come see what I was doing (sigh), so no go there. (Though I have included a photo below of all five the day before enjoying the weather while tucking into some marrowbones.)

And thank goodness no one actually stinks of Eau de Smushed Dead Worm.



I've thought about blogging for a while. I love writing. I have always loved writing. I love telling stories. I even started to do a double major in Creative Writing (along with my Phsych Degree) in University till I realised I couldn't be the type of writer they were wanting to shape us into. That didn't stop me totally though, and through the various whippet forums I'm on (Whippet World, The Whippet Forum) and more recently Facebook, my creative streak has come back. Mostly it's just telling stories about the dogs and things that are going on in our lives, I have so much in my head that I want to write about breeding Drama as a followup to the Musings of a First Time Breeder that I did for Teya, but life just kind of ticked along and got in the way.

Recently a couple of real life friends have commented about both mine and Nick's Facebook posts and how they enjoy our writing and our sense of humour and suggested that we should start doing more 'official' writing (Nick has also always been a writer by nature). So I started thinking about adding a blog section to our website. Then yesterday I wrote a post on Whippet World about something that happened and a member there was wonderfully encouraging about my writing and how she can 'see' the pictures in her head that I paint with my words. Thank you so much for that! So that finally has pushed me to take the plunge and open a blog.

For now I will probably go back through things Nick and I have already posted on the forums or on Facebook, but I'll add things as they come to mind. Hopefully we won't bore you all to tears (assuming we have or gain any followers LOL).

So for those who have always encouraged me in my writing, and for the new friends who have done so recently - thank you, but you may regret it!