Posted Date: August 1, 2008
Sue Hunt's Keeshond needed her to speed up so that they could succeed on course. One thing lead to another and now Sue is fitter than she's been in years!
I am a soon-to-be-64-year-old who has been working hard on getting fit. I bumbled along in agility for a few years before I got the message from my dog that I needed to run faster. She barked and barked at me in frustration.
I changed trainers and went to a young athletic man who encouraged, heckled, supported, and worked hard to get me moving. After a few months in this class where we were required and forced to move and learn footwork, I decided I'd better do more to help myself.
I joined a fitness center here in our town and began working out. At first I attended the Seniors' Class, which got me another support group and lots of friendly faces. Remember, I am older...and young ladies from the South when I grew up did not participate in sports, much less grunt and lift weights!
As I got more and more comfortable, the gym offered a weight loss class, which I joined and got more support from a younger crowd. I noticed that this class was much like agility... we compete against our own personal best.
Our trainer, Janice, understood
Photo by Phil Hunt
nutritional and physical challenges and gave us encouragement and tough love. Everyone finished the class and most signed up for another one offered a month later.
I also began trying the Power Pump and Step classes, which offered more aerobic workouts. After about four months, I noticed a marked difference in the way my clothes were fitting and in my ability to run without feeling exerted. The elliptical machine, treadmill, and bikes are now my friends. Janice has designed workouts that help me with sprinting, and the weight lifting has given me confidence and more energy. Lifting and course building are much easier.
I lost 20 pounds and inches everywhere. I am still a work in progress, but I try to keep things in perspective due to my age, weight, and ability. I feel much better, and I am definitely healthier. My blood pressure has gone from about 145/90 to 126/78 with no change in medication.
My dog still gets frustrated, but mostly from my lack of timing - she loves it when I can run better with her and get in front crosses now and then. Like others, I have struggled with weight issues for years, but agility was the real motivator for me. I have had people start to "notice" our runs and ask who my agility instructor is; he gets full credit, but of course I smile inside when I think of the hours in the gym.
Chase has her DAM Team Qualifier, Steeplechase Qualifier, and we have a couple of more tries for the last leg of the Grand Prix Qualifier for the Cynosport Games. We definitely will be on our way to Arizona this year. What a payoff!
Photo by Tien Tran
Sue Hunt is a retired teacher, handweaver, and agility fanatic. Six-year-old Chase is her third Keeshond to be trained in agility and there is one more up and coming, eight-month-old Charli. Sue trains with Jef Blake from It's a Dog's World Training Center in Sumner, Washington. Sue finally got her husband, Phil, and his Golden Retrievers hooked on agility as well, so now it is a family affair.