Monday, October 24, 2011
FCI World Championships 2011 Part 1
It takes me awhile to get my thoughts together after a big event. There is a combination of euphoria and depression; I don't even watch the videos of our runs for a long time. The focus and energy taken up preparing both mentally and physically takes over your life on the run up to the event.
I have been exposed to the idea of "positive mental attitude" for most of my previous career (Chiropractor) and for most of my time in the dog world in obedience and then agility. I think it comes naturally to me now; to the level that when I hear people talking themselves down I need to stop myself from trying to help them. Everyone deals with pressure differently and some people actually feel better if they say negative things and then do better than they thought. This is not what I think is best but it is what helps them. That is all that matters, having something that works for you.
When I competed in the USA I would actually get tired of hearing the constant "positive mental attitude" banter. If,God forbid, you said something negative you were told off! Hmmm a kind of a backwards way of working on positivity I think. It became almost like a religious cult of positivity! So because of this I tend to keep my goals and mental preparation work to myself; it is how I deal with things and what works for me is personal.
For the first time before a major competition I had to actually work on "mental imagery". Imagining Zaz and I running courses: what I would do and how she would react, how we would approach the start line and how we would celebrate after finishing the last jump. I ran this over and over in my head because for the month before we went to France I could not train Zaz.....
I had taken a little week break with Zaz after our last Championship show. I expected to start training on the complicated European courses during the month before we left just to get our heads into those types of courses again. I thank God that I had spent the week in Denmark in July competing over European courses because that was one thing that made me feel confident and prepared.
To keep a long story short, I found Zaz mysteriously lame one day and assumed it was a soft tissue injury even though she had not had anything happen. I thought our World Champ experience was over before it began. But after all the worrying it turns out Zaz had a cut pad and I had missed it! How I missed it I will never know but thank God for Dennis who found it and the canine osteopath who went over Zaz thoroughly and convinced me that Zaz was OK to run. This is what her pad looked like 2 weeks after the start of her lameness. How deep the cut was when it occurred I will never know. I hope this will help others to make sure you check your dog's feet thoroughly! I really had to stop kicking myself for missing this one.
To make matters more "exciting" two nights before we left for France Zaz came back into the house after being let out for her last toilet and was carrying her back leg up! WTF? I just lay down with her crying thinking this is it; I am never doing agility again. Then we watched as her rear foot swelled up and realized she must have stepped on a wasp! Popped a anti-histamine in her mouth, carried her up onto the bed with us and fell asleep. She woke up at 1 am jumped off the bed sound as ever. OK now, I was thinking, this is all just to make me stronger!
We happened to watch the movie "Secretariat" (a true story about a racehorse that exceeded all expectations and won the triple crown of racing in the USA) that week and I kept saying to myself Zaz is like Secretariat and she will surprise us all!
On Wednesday we left the pups in the capable hands of Johanna and we off through the Eurotunnel for our French adventure. I was so excited because the last time I was at the FCI Worlds in France I was just a spectator and remember being AMAZED by Sylvia Trkman and La. Now I was there myself competing with Zaz at only 2 years of age; how fantastic is that?
Thanks to Dennis for driving us to France. How nice to take a trip to the World Championships that is only a 3 hour drive!