We arrived in France in no time and the most difficult part of the journey was finding the hotel! The hotel, while not fancy, was clean with good grass areas to walk the dogs.
The next day was our chance to practice on the equipment and on the surface at the venue. It was real eye opener as all the dogs were slipping on the "carpet". This was a surprise as it was a nice springy astroturf and the dogs do not usually slip this badly. Zaz was running well but I could see her slipping and then trying to slow down to compensate. She is a smart dog that has good self-preservation so I just let her run at whatever speed she was happy. We had 19 minutes and 30 seconds for our practice. Such a funny amount of time! It always seems like it will be too short but in reality it is a tremendous amount of time. I had planned to not do too much with Zaz and to concentrate on her self-control. Best laid plans and all that! I lost a little self-control when I realized she needed more time on the surface and did alot more than I had planned. Zaz came out of the practice session happy but tired with her tongue hanging out!
After the vet checks and measuring we all gathered for group photos. No matter how hard we try the GB team will never be organized for photos! Dennis had to yell at them and tell them "no talking, no looking at your dog" but to no avail! LOL Still one of our better attempts; here is the team with some of the supporters and management.
That afternoon we took a trip into the beautiful town of Arras for a nice French lunch followed by yummy french pastries.
Checking out the Arras Chocolate shop!
I was feeling positive about our World Champ experience. All the issues with Zaz beforehand were forgotten and she was happy and sound after her practice. Now it was just up to our training and a little bit of luck.
I have debated with myself about whether to write on my blog about the one negative experience that happened to me while at the World Champs. I figure by putting it at the end of this post only so many people will bother to read this far. LOL Like I said in Part 1 I think that we are responsible for our own positive mental attitude. We cannot rely on others to say the right things for us all the time. Yet when you are in a team situation you really need to have and feel positive vibes from your team. I always loved that about the World Champs; we all put aside any personal issues and cheered and supported each other. Everyone on the team understands the pressure we all feel being on center stage and wanting to do well for ourselves, our dogs, our team and, yes, our country.
I struggle sometimes because I know I do not run fast enough or cannot move as quick as some of the young fit European handlers. At the World Champs that is really magnified as some of these handlers are crazy fit and fast! The night before our first day of competition someone made the statement in front of the entire team that I was "the oldest" on the team ha-ha-ha. This came out of the blue, and although it was meant in a light-hearted way, it really hit me hard. I just wanted to crawl away and go home at that point. What was supposed to be a fun relaxing night before our competition now felt like torture and I couldn't wait to leave and tried not to cry.
I got back to the hotel room and received this video message. Nothing could have cheered me up better; remembering I had Zen and Itz at home along with a gorgeous group of puppies. No matter what happened this weekend I knew I was blessed with a fantastic husband, amazing dogs and great friends cheering me on. Bring it on!