a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Nationals Practice

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Nationals Practice

SUMMARY: Good practice today, but tired.

Every year, the weekend before Nationals, Power Paws Agility hosts a nationals practice for their students. It's lovely--free--plus snacks and drinks--plus courses from previous Nationals Grand Prixs and variations thereof.

Today's weather was absolutely lovely for it. Not too warm, but sunny. Just a teeny breeze. Hazy--apparently we're getting a wee bit of the air crud from the southern california fires, 300 miles and more south from here! Amazing.

I ran Boost, even though she's not competing. She did very well. Knocked a couple of bars when I called her wrong, had a couple of runouts on tough pulls, and skipped the second weave pole on a tough entry that almost everyone (except Tika, woot!) had trouble with, but she got it easily the second time around the course, and not everyone did. And her contacts remain fast and accurate.

Tika ran well enough, but I notice the lack of speed especially in comparison to Boost. She moves efficiently around the course, but she doesn't drive like I've seen her do sometimes, or like when she spies a squirrel, or even when I'm tossing the frisbee. This is summed up as follows: In two of the previous 3 years at Nationals, her speed was plenty fast enough to get her into the Grand Prix semifinals, but each time we had a 5-point fault, which dropped us just below the cut-off point. If she had been half a second to a second faster, even the fault wouldn't have kept us out.

But she did her contacts fairly quickly today, even the dogwalk, which I've been working on lately for speed (although never enough, never enough!).

The worst part of today was how tired and brick-like my legs were, once again, from yesterday's mile test at Boot Camp. First 3 or 4 runs were OK, but my feeble attempts at sprinting became less sprintlike and more thudlike; after run #8 (4 each dog), three and a half hours after the first one, I called it quits for the day.

My first run at Scottsdale isn't until Thursday, so I should be hale and hearty by then. The trick is to keep up with my daily one-mile walks to maintain my stamina for the site, without overextending myself.

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