The weekend was one of ups and downs (well they FELT like downs, even though they weren't REALLY). I left in the pitch darkness on Thursday morning to Pietermaritzburg... my favourite time to drive. No I am not kidding, I am a bit weird, I really like driving in the dark. The boys apparently too, since they just slept through the blaring music and my very tone-deaf attempt at singing along. Soon it was clear what my 'power song' for the weekend would be... you know that feeling, when you just can't stop repeating a song? Friend J tried to mess with this, by BBM'ing me another very catchy (and currently favourite song), but my song won in the end. And no I am not going to tell you what the song is, because I made my SA Champs video to it, I would rather force you to watch that...
We were staying at a lovely guestfarm and I was lucky enough to stay with friends that understands the meaning of 'head space', and would cope with me being a raging b**** if need be (turned out it didn't 'need be', but was good to know regardless). Took the dogs for a bit of a stroll and very glad that M took some pictures to prove that both boys were actually REALLY clean at the start of the weekend.
On the way to the practise session, I decided to test how well my fellow competitors could 'correct an almost off course' on the road. I am happy to report that everyone aced the test (although I apparently DID give N hot flushes with that move). I think they may have lost some faith in my navigational skills though. One minute to practise seemed A LOT shorter than previous years. This might have something to do with the fact that the see saw was REALLY REALLY heavy (especially for a 4.5kg Sheltie, who could finish a nice cup of tea waiting for it to drop). So that took up like half your minute? Or maybe my brain was just in fast forward mode, while my body was stuck in real time?
Most of the competition is a bit of a blur, probably because I spent a lot of time sleeping in my chair. I am still not exactly sure how I managed to do that, but hey, who cares it worked. See when you have friends that kind of deal with everything else for you (like results and draw orders and filming and all those pesky little things), it is pretty doable to get your head in the game so much that you can actually fall asleep at very noisy, very public showgrounds, pretty much right next to the speakers. I am not going to go into each round in major detail, I mean if you think you are bored now, just imagine how bored you would be if I did that?
Chaos had some disappointing knocks. I mean really? The one thing I have not been worried about... in fact they kept him from being in the medals for the SA Champs too. He clocked some phenomenal times I have to say. However the bars just weren't staying up... well not as much as I would have liked anyway. In fact, since I hadn't looked at the points once through the entire weekend, I walked off after the last round absolutely convinced that we just hadn't been good enough! I was absolutely broken and couldn't understand why people came over to congratulate me. In fact I argued with the congratulators (Sorry, congratulators) and only when friend J went over to check the actual results and confirmed that YES, I HAD made the team would I stop pacing like an hysterical chicken on LSD. I don't know what the other dogs did, because I didn't really watch any of the other dogs. In fact, the whole weekend I can honestly say there are only two dogs that I DID watch. Not because I am a super-sucky friend and not because I didn't WANT to watch, but I knew from the beginning if I was going to do this, the weekend would be all about me.
Now that it is all over and done with and I have watched myself about a million times over, I can definitely say I am proud of the fact that I RAN. Oh hell yeah baby, I ran my little heart out. There was no playing safe, no doubting my dogs, no doubting myself, I really did ATTACK. It felt pretty damned good and I think I am going to try this whole attack thing on a permanent basis.
I am especially happy with the little Steiner Weiner. Stein won both Non-Contact (Jumping) rounds, not only did he win the Small category, in both rounds he clocked the fastest time of all heights and all dogs... eat your heart out Border Collies, watch out for the Sheltie Machine. Considering he is still 3 months away from his second birthday, I could not be more happy with how he handled his first real 'big event'. Seriously, nothing can phase that dog.
So Chaos will be running in both individual and team and Volt will be running in the Small Team. Go go Team South Africa!
The boys will be getting a two week break from training and then the slow build-up towards the AWC will start... me? I will be getting no break. As you may imagine, a trip like this, travelling halfway across the world to go and run some Agility courses, costs a pretty penny and other than a small discount on the dog flights, each handler has to cover their own costs. So I will be working my pretty little behind off over the next few months. I am sure it will be worth it though.
So there you go, we did it, we really did it!