Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Regionals, Take 1

Fact: Trips to Michigan require more recovery time than Vegas Vacations.


Rather, trips to Michigan for Regionals that end up having unholy 14 hour days of agility in a sauna when your foot hurts and then you have to drive home in one shot to make it to work Monday require more recovery time than Vegas Vacations.

Yeah, that makes more sense.
After chewing over the Regional itself for a few days, I'm still not sure what to say.  I've experienced four separate regionals recently; three have been expertly run, enjoyable, large events. Take what you will from that. I intend to send some comments to the club and prefer not to be inflammatory in this space, but if anyone else who attended has any constructive criticism, I urge you to share as well.

I will say, for what we were all dealt this weekend, my dogs were MARVELOUS. 

For starters, my little Pup.  This was her first ever big event, only her second two day trial, second weekend in championship, and first time running more than three classes in a day. Because of the changes, she had to run most of her entered classes on Saturday. Hard courses, games she has never run, new environment... so many things thrown at her in rapid succession over an incredibly long day.

Was it perfect? Heck no. But dang, some brilliance in every run.  She held every start line, stayed on task, made good choices, and had some fun.  Her contacts were spectacular. She did a great job in Team Gamblers and Snookers. Not even a Starters Snookers leg to her name, and we ran a perfect three seven plan- she got her first LAA Q with that one and placed too! Her Jumpers run was fun (for 9pm at night)- I lost her in an off course tunnel, but was actually thrilled to see her run with that much drive. Good thing my teamies were AWESOME and supportive of happy off courses...

Her best moment of the day was a great comeback after I mismanaged her in Standard. I'd felt so bad for my handling and couldn't believe what she gave me following that: the Regional GP Round 1 course was fast and fun and she ran clean, placed 3rd, and made the finals. As for the finals, well, I blame a tasty looking black blob for teasing her while she was trying to weave. Other than that teeny lapse, she lived up to her name. It was a great run. Proud doesn't even begin to describe it.
My little Dog... Sadly, she ended up even more brain fried by Sunday than the Pup. After Steeple Finals, the last class, I just had to hug her. She is not a dog with endless endurance; she has her limits.  Most of what she does in agility is for ME. I am very thankful for every little bit she gives.

To her credit, she held up really well- only in the last two runs did she show her fatigue.  Her contacts were flying (in the good way) and she left every bar up. She placed several times, which at an event this size always gives me an extra bump. Her team of Blade's Hot Dates made the proverbial podium in third- not too shabby at all!  I had a blast with her Saturday, especially in Standard. FUN course. GP Finals was really fun too, even if the outcome wasn't quite what I'd wanted from on the onset. 
So even though there were some low points, they were balanced with highs. Isn't that just like life? In the end, I had brilliant dogs, a great time with my teamies all around,  loved playing with Great Nephew Puppy Boy (I'll work on his moniker), and had a bitchin' time checking out awesome eateries and local brews with my travel mate. Hmmm. The non agility parts were so fun, I reckon I can count this as a vacation!
Moral of the story- roll with the punches. Enjoy the little things. Take a detour. And there is ALWAYS a take 2.  Ours is coming in August!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Still Swingin'



Blink, blink, blink.

"Whaaa... What time is it? What MONTH is it??"

So ends a hibernation hiatus. 
You ever have that moment where you suddenly have what you wanted, after months and months of working to get it, and you're beyond happy- but then you immediately what?

Good question indeed.

Turns out this is a normal part of the goal life cycle but boy, did I ever get stuck in that 'now what' phase.

So I slept on it. All winter.

That was a long winter.
It wasn't all an inability to pick new goals for training and trialing. There was an overall question of life and 'what now' to be examined. This is off-topic, but by way of explanation, after a year of relentless change- some happy, some heartbreaking- life in general needed more consideration and direction. Sometimes you need to step back from everything and assess. Hence agility furlough.
So now what, right? After all this time, what next?

For starters, I'm teaching the dogs how to leap frog each other. We are going to make it to the circus one of these days!

What I mean is, the world is ours. What's next is only limited by my imagination really. And my mind is now open.
I feel, finally, unencumbered by doubt. I have so much. I won't say I have enough- I never want to stop reaching- but just because you can do better doesn't mean what you do now is necessarily bad. 

Even in this tumultuous and unfocused state that we've been living in, I think we three have each strengthened as members of the team. Respite is a gift; for me, perspective. So much. For The Dog, physical rest, well deserved after years of non stop training and trialing. And The Pup gains maturity. For evidence I call on Happiness, Fun, Excitement, Connection- big checks next to each of these measures, presenting as high engagement at our last trial, practice, you name it. And now forward: desire. The feeling creeping in again. I want to do this, I want to succeed at this.

Perspective though. I want to succeed by MY measures. It's nothing without that. It's all for fun, there is literally nothing to lose. Even a loss can be a win. And a win means nothing without the 'A' game to back it up.  You can play to get on base, or you can swing for the fences and bring it all home.  At the end of the day, what will make YOU happiest? I'll keep swinging.

Doubt can stay in the dugout.

Our direction is forward.