I am not sure where to start with the world championship. I suppose I can start with our runs and see where that gets me. Well actually if I am to start at the beginning I can begin by describing my impression of the event: WOW.
The energy in that arena was Incredible. However I wouldn’t say I was overwhelmed by the event – that I am glad for. It was, and was not, what I expected.
Our first run, Individual Jumping. We were the 13th dog to the line of the whole thing. Hah, I remember looking at the running order when it was released a few weeks ago. I was so excited that when opening the link on the website I didn’t actually consider what it WAS I was opening. The list popped up and my eyes immediately focused on Self near the center of the page.
My first thought:
“Hey! That’s my name!! On some official world championship thing!!”
“Heeeeeeeey….. waaaaaait, why do I see my name already?”
I closed it and opened it again for a do over. Didn’t work. We were still 13th. ;)
First up for team USA, one of the first dogs to run, and, of course, when they passed out the maps on Friday I realized it was on a course that terrified me.
What what? It was odd. But we discussed, and walked, and discussed some more, and suddenly it was less intimidating.
But still… intimidating.
And it wasn’t the course. Well in some ways it was – but the course itself was not anymore challenging than some of the things we have practiced all summer. It was that I already didn’t feel safe with our running order number… put a difficult course on top of that and I REALLY didn’t feel safe. But, good. This was important for me.
Before our first run I was nervous. Haha I know most obvious statement ever much? But no, these were not normal nerves. I was eating. I ate breakfast that morning. I even snacked some when we got there. I was not my normal nervous. Actually, I felt very zen. Very balanced. Very relaxed.
Not that I think I should encourage negative stress or energy before I run. Except, I do. ;) A specific negative, though. More of an opposing force than a pessimistic feeling. I have to be pissed off to some extent, and I have to be scared to some extent. I was afraid of the course, but I wasn’t afraid of the run. I was relaxed by being there. I was mellow, and that didn’t work.
And that’s not why the bar fell, directly. The bar fell because I squished her into it (sigh). The nerves that I experienced that morning were very unfamiliar to me. I simply felt tentative about running. I felt like I was trying to balance on a very fine line, very slowly, not wanting to do anything “wrong” in preparing for the run. I adore our coaches and management but I was not used to being followed around during the walk through and when getting Rev ready to run. Because I respect them so, I did not want to mess up the routine – but as a result, I was messing up my own routine. This, I am happy to say, got easier and easier as the weekend went on.
Run #1. Our time would have tied us for 13th. Instead we took 52nd with the bar (interestingly, 52 is my favorite number).
Fast forward to Saturday morning and Team Jumping. We were all in shock over how “flowy” the course was. But hey, we’ll take it right? Admittedly I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping Powell would throw something crazy at us. And I felt more prepared today to take on the big challenges. But it was a nice course; a very fun course.
This time, when we walked and started getting ready to run, I did what I do best… I just avoided most conversation and eye contact. While I do think this was good for me and Rev before we ran, it didn’t feel totally right and I realized preparation at this event was something I was still going to have to work on. I had resources (coach, assistant coach, teammates) in front of me that I was just flat out not taking advantage of because I was being self-conscious (I am super super good at being self-conscious ;)) – how silly.
What I did do was build up the run in my head, sort of stirred up the butterflies a bit. Not too hard this time since it was a team run, so I had the added pressure of two teammates depending on me. But for me it was important to then come down from that good stress before we ran. Connecting with Rev is also a big part of making a run work. I had some nerves, but once we got to about jump #4 I started feeling more assertive, more confident about the run.
And we “won”! There are no individual placements in team rounds, but Rev and I had the fastest time on the course. Nancy let me keep the score sheet. :)
You’ll have to excuse me for anything that is disjointed in this post (besides the pictures, those are pretty much on-purpose-disjointed). It’s 2 in the morning and I’m typing because I can’t sleep.
Later in the day we ran Team Standard. I was tired. Too tired. And that is an excuse.
But I was. When Solar went off course right before we ran, I stopped caring. Gah, how could I let myself do that?! I’m at the world championships and I stop caring??? But I did, and as a result I immediately disconnected from Rev. From the beginning of the run we were off – I released her three times before she came off the startline…
Now our choppy section before the dogwalk happened because I didn’t walk the course all-the-ways. I only walked it one way, and then I wanted to change my mind but couldn’t because I didn’t walk anything else. Grr. And then the double came down (poor Rev). None of that happened because I was tired and demotivated, but the run was flat. So so so flat. A friend even told me afterwards that she could tell my FIRE was gone after watching it on the live stream. So here it is. The run that I hate. Hate hate hate.
What I absolutely love about this run though is that it inspired me for Sunday’s run.
Sunday was a big day… ahh but I won’t get off track. I can’t cover everything in this post and I would like to finish going over our runs. Sunday, while checking out the course map (aha, there you are Powell!) Nancy told us to get mad at it. ;) In the meantime Laura and I had been trying to run with joy in our hearts all weekend (long story, good mantra). So we decided, much like our world team snack food sour patch kids, we would need to find the balance between mad and joy. It was fun. :)
I liked the course. Honestly liked it, I wasn’t just saying that when teammates would ask how it walked. ;) (of course I would never have said anything negative about it, so sure, I don’t blame them for doubting me) I was also more assertive in what I wanted to do, which in return allowed me to be more open to direction and conversation and working with the people around me to figure out how to tackle the run. Haha, of course I did actually end up calling Sarah to go over my plan really quickly. ;) I felt very very good about our preparation. And I was determined to get mad, run with joy in my heart, and get my fire back. ;) I owed it to Rev and I owed it to myself to have fun with this last run. And oh my god, it was our last run at the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. Yeah, it was going to be awesome, clean or not.
Oh man did we have fun. Fifth place in this round and 18th in the world.
I’ve never felt so full, so satisfied after a big event. I could not tell you why I feel this way… I keep waiting for the let down. Heck I think after AKC Nationals I got close to having a total mental breakdown (I couldn’t eat for days after the event!). But I just feel… good.
More later. Must try to sleep now!