Well in less than 48 hours I will be leaving for SA Champs. I am sticking to my normal training routine, well trying to anyway. Today it is COLD... as in very ridiculously nut freezing, toe falling off cold. Now since I am really looking to prevent last minute pulling of muscles (I am the most likely to suffer from this, quite frankly my dogs are much better conditioned than me), I just did some basic conditioning work with the Spaz. Of course I am also trying to act all normal, while a million and a half thoughts are going through my head. I wouldn't say that I am freaking out, but I am definitely in a 'heightened' state of mind.
Now I am not an SA Champs virgin by any means. This is my seventh one and I have competed with four different dogs. This is Chaos's third time around, but this year is different in many aspects. First of all, me and Chaos have evolved quite a bit over the last year. This is the first year that I feel we can be competitive. He is not my baby dog any more. Of course there is the even more important factor that it is the first time since 2003 that I am trying out for the World Team. In 2003 however, it was a very last minute decision, I had had no time to think about it, it all just happened so fast. This time around, I have been preparing for this moment for a very long time. Honestly as far as agility cycles go, I think I am in a pretty good place. I think Chaos is very close to a peak in his cycle.
Of course the US, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Canada and a few others have already chosen their teams (yes, yes NERD, you may say it). And this coming weekend it is our turn. By Saturday evening I will know whether we are going to France this year or not. If I don't make it, I will inevitably be disappointed, but then there is always Czech Republic next year or the European Open. For now I have to rest my mind in the fact that I have trained hard and we are ready. My mental state is what will make the difference now.
My goal is to have fun this weekend, but it will be isolated fun. I am committing myself to this mentally, so I will be on my own mission and probably quite bad company to everyone else. But I am determined that me and Chaos will enjoy the weekend tremendously. It is going to be one to remember, you mark my words. Right now I am actually really looking forward to the drive. I love driving and I love driving alone. Some good music and the open road is definitely the best way to get my mind ready!
But at the end of the day, it is all up to this weekend.
All photos courtesy of Melissa Wilson of K9 Action Shots.