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Thursday, October 27, 2011

FCI World Agility Championships 2011 Friday

Friday was our first day of competition. I liked that the small dogs had two runs on the first day; it helped me get into the swing of the competition. First up for us was small individual jumping. We were not on first thing; we were second in the ring after the Large individual jumping. This was great as it gave us time to settle in on Friday morning.

I need to fully concentrate on the competition days. I have difficulty even going outside or going for something to eat. It is like I need to focus 110% on agility during those days and put myself into a little agility "bubble". Luckily Dennis is there to do the important things like take Zaz for a walk or get us something to eat. I even sit in the stands and watch the classes that I am not in and try and figure out how I would handle the course. Poor Nicky (my small team mate)had to listen to me as I would constantly babble on about "how would you handle this?" and "I would have trouble with that sequence" ect ect. And she would say "but you are not running this course"! LOL But for me it helped me focus on agility and trying to make quick decisions as we only get 8 minutes to walk a fairly complicated course.

Do I look confused about how to handle this course?

Our small jumping was a tight course. I was concerned about getting Zaz through the gap into the first rigid tunnel. As with most people I was also concerned about the weave poles running up to the side of the collapsed tunnel. To make matters worse the collapsed tunnel side was mirror-like shiny and I think this was the downfall of many great teams.

Before our run I had help from Amanda (my previous medium team-mate)in warming up. It looks silly but it really helps to focus and warm up and have a little laugh while doing it. I like this photo because the Chinese handlers look so happy next to us! It was China's first time competing at the World Champs and they did fantastic.

It was a strange set up at this sport arena. We had no team "room" to relax in and crate the dogs. We were all assigned spots in the hallway around the arena. Once it was near our turn we had to walk around to the other side of the arena where there was a small practice area where you can warm your dog up over a few jumps. When it is about 4 dogs before your turn you are escorted through this office area, down a corridor that ran under the main floor of the arena, up some stairs and then you popped up in the collecting area! It was slightly surreal coming up the stairs into the middle of the floor surrounded by people. It did add to the excitement and I couldn't help but getting more and more excited as I walked up those stairs!

The team coach was great as I just handed him Zaz, my water bottle and coat and was able to concentrate on remembering the course. Zaz, like momma Zen, likes to bark while in the collecting ring and in this situation it helps me to hand her to someone else for a few moments. Once we came up the stairs there was only one dog before us and one completing the course. There is not alot of time to watch and it is amazing how different the course looks from down at that level.

In this photo you can see the next team after us coming up through the stairs.

I know I look calm while waiting to run. What is really going on in my head is not so calm! First and foremost I am going over the course in my head. I try and remember the course based on turns and tight spots and I run through those turns in my head. Then I simply try to take in the whole experience; you will often see me bring my wrist up to adjust my bracelet. That bracelet says "Live in the Moment". I may never be there again and I want to keep that experience in me forever. The only way I can do that is by being there 100% with my dog. I am not one to chat with the coach because once I have Zaz by my side it is all about me and her. Once we get onto the floor I clap for Zaz and tell her how amazing she is and then laugh to myself knowing that our startline will be fairly fluid. LOL

I was happy with how we ran this course. I know Zaz was not running at her full speed but that was partly due to my over controlling her in those tight spots. We had a bobble before the weaves which cost us some time but overall I felt positive about the run. This run put us in 15th place which was a tough place to be in and I could only hope for a very difficult agility course on Sunday to help us move up in the placings.

I found this video on you-tube! Thanks to whoever posted it as I have yet to watch the official videos.

At the end of the first day we had our first team run. We had an amazing team as both Nicky and Indy and Dawn and Puzzle are so consistent AND fast; I couldn't have asked for a better team. I was disappointed to have made the only mistake out of all our 6 team runs over the weekend but that is agility for you. Anything can happen!

Here is our team in the collecting ring. Notice Dave,the team coach,is holding Zaz again. Bless him!

Again I found this video on youtube; music and all! It is obviously from someone in the UK but I don't know who!

So the first day of our World Champ 2011 experience was over. I knew there were things we could have done better but this was not the time to think about them. It was important to stay positive and focused. I was drained and all I could think about doing was getting Zaz out into the fresh air to stretch her legs, getting something to eat and getting myself to bed! I think we had fancy French Mc-Donalds that night to eat as we could walk there from the hotel. Ahhh nothing but the best for us athletes!


Chica Poodle said...

What a great Blog, you two just fab :0)
"Live for the moment", just perfect! No, you never know if it could be your last time competing at an event like this for whatever reason, so you just keep right on living for the moment & kicking lots of arse too!.
Thank you for bringing back some great memories for me & of course warming up with you & Amanda too :0)
Good times! xxx

Serena said...

Whoops, Bernadette, too bad I can't go back and re-edit my comment, but the http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VHDtw35GEUo is Eluane's favorite kind of tuggy-dance to music. I will have to bookmark it so that next year when you compete at FCI, Eluane can do her rah-rah dance for you and Zaz...

And what a lovely run it was too!

Also forgot to mention in the previous post yummmm, yummm on those French pastries! And what a treat to see some historical architecture too!

Hannah Banks said...

Thanks for writing such a fabulous blog Bernadette! You and your team mates made your runs look so calm and effortless, that it would be easy to underestimate how much you put into it, and how talented you all are. So interesting to see runs from different camera angles too, sometimes bits of the course look quite different from two different angles! On one course I saw Zazz slip from one angle, I hadn't noticed that on the other video! Thought you were all fantastic :-)