Monday, October 1, 2012
Time of my life!
Day one and two were all about the drive. Day one we went through four states: California, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. A bit humbling to see all the space. Weather was no problem as we drove the miles. Day two we finally entered Colorado as we drove south into Denver.
Arrived and checked into our hotel, drove over and looked at the show site. Dinner and to bed for an early wake up on Tues.
Tues found us on the road to practice at 7 am. The practice area was an indoor facility with the best flooring. Rubber mats but with a ton of bounce. We worked contacts mostly, but also just ran courses to get back into the mood of agility.
Later we headed 50 miles north for a hike at a dam and to attend another practice at a place with turf. I ended up opting out of the turf practice as I felt Fin and I were ready and took a walk instead. I think the walk was more beneficial then the practice would have been.
After the practice, we made the 50 mile drive back to the facility. Dick's sporting goods is a huge complex and our area was 4 soccer fields surrounded by these tall mounds of grass. Half of the field was a really nice turf, the other half was grass. We all waited for the 4pm opening and then quickly found our crating area and spent the time to get set up. Check in was relatively easy as storm clouds continued to threaten. Just as we decided to leave and eat dinner, it started to rain. People were still arriving as we were leaving. I was happy we got all our stuff set up, dogs walked, and could now enjoy a nice dinner.
The excitement was building as we ate dinner and chatted about the runs to come. A "Little bit of Crazy." was all set.
Day One: Warm up run and Grand Prix Quarter Finals
Wed we woke up early and got our course maps. If you were looking for us, you would find us huddled in small groups talking about our individual strategies.
First course was a warm up grand prix. There are six rings and all the competitors are in groups. Each of us have to find where we are running and what time. To add to the confusion, three of the six rings are too soggy to run. There were tons of adjustments, and I thought everyone was doing their best to keep attitudes positive.
Fin and I did a great job on the practice course. Nerves seemed to be worse then I expected. I was so proud that I was able to work through my nerves and run well.
My second run was grand prix quarter finals. Fin slipped in the weaves and that was it. I made sure she was ok, then we finished the course strong. I can't say I wasn't disappointed, but so proud of Fin, it was a scary slip but she got right back up and tried to finish the weaves.
Due to all the delays, rings were running until 8:30-9pm at night. We waiting around to watch some of the Grand Prix and Steeplechase and "Wow!" was it exciting.
We headed to the room around 9pm. Olive and Hotshot were high as kites and wanted to wrestle. We tried to explain that wrestling was a quiet sport, but unfortunately they both ended up in crates allowing us to have a good nights sleep.
Day Two: Team Snooker and Steeplechase Semis
All the dogs seem to be traveling well as we woke early and headed to the show site. A quick walk, then grabbing course maps, and standing around the main ring to receive the briefing for the day.
I ran Snooker at 9:30. I don't believe I have ever been this nervous. I just kept breathing and telling Fin we were going to go out there and give it all we have. I planned to do 4 reds, but once out there I felt I was running out of time so I headed to my closing after three. We made it through!!!
The rest of the day was waiting for my turn at Steeplechase Semis and supporting my team mates. They did awesome jobs, each running a great courses for their dogs and our team got a respectable number of points.
For Steeplechase semis, I went in again quite nervous. I'm not sure why I was having trouble with my nerves, but all I could do is breath, do my stretches, make sure Fin was good, and go. I did everything I could. Fin did everything she could. As we left the first set of weaves, I was a little out of position, and in an instant it was over. Fin was in the wrong side of the tunnel! Totally my fault. I took a moment to breath, told her she was a good dog, and finished the course strong.
Day Three: Team Jumpers and Team Gamble
Got to the site early to walk the dogs and were ready at 8am to get the briefing. Although the briefing was all about Gamble, everyone was talking about the jumpers course. Simply stated, it was hard. Really hard. So hard I was wondering how in the heck we would get through it.
Gamble for my team went really well for my team mates. For me, Fin didn't want to do the teeter and we got our opening points, but failed in our closing.
Jumpers, I made an error at #3 and Fin flicked off my side into the tunnel. I popped her back over the correct jump and ran the rest of the course like I could win it. She was amazing. I love my little girl so very much.
Day Four: Team Standard and Headed Home.
We only had one run today. Walked at 8:20 and ran at 1:30. The course seemed straightforward and I decided to give it all we had. Fin read a wrap as a rear cross and I simply didn't get in there fast enough to save it. Rest of the course was beautiful.
Packed up and on the road by 4:30pm. Gave everyone hugs and wished them luck. Things happening at home caused us to make the decision not to stay for the finals. We followed the show online as we drove the many miles back home.
Overall: A truly wonderful experience. I want to do it again! Loved the venue. Really enjoyed running on the turf surface. Fin was AWESOME. I need to step up my game, shake off the nerves and get the job done.
We aren't in Wyoming anymore.