Pete said it best yesterday when I got home from Regionals.
"Well you sure put a lot of Blood, Sweat and Tears into this weekend, didn't you?" ... did I mention Pete is very observant?
Blood you say? Well first run of the weekend, a little Gyppie tooth made a little contact with my thumb, then leaked all over my pretty white Regionals shirt - I didn't even notice until afterwards. Apparently the taste of blood really gets Gyp going ... I have to add that Pete took it upon him self to scrub my shirt in the kitchen sink with a toothbrush to get it clean last night - really, who does that? I might add that it came clean too :)
Sweat. A lot of sweat.
5.5 months of sweat went into this weekend. January 10th I was on my ass with a blown knee. I didn't know until just over a month ago if I would be running Regionals at all, I was ready to pull my entry, or find a new handler. I've NEVER used my knee as an excuse, it actually made me work harder and put things into perspective. The first 3.5 months of the year, I pretty much could not run, so we worked LOTS of proofing and distance. And this weekend we reaped the benefits of that. Who knows if we would have improved that much without being forced into that as my only training option. It took 5 months of Physio and the Gym to get my Strength back and I've been running on my new brace Bar-Knee for 1 month and pushing myself to the max with it on in training and at the Gym so we can trust eachother :) I LOVE BAR-KNEE. Who knew you could love Carbon Graphite and Titanium so much?
We also put alot of sweat into running this weekend. It was smokin' hot in Edmonton, and everyone in our group worked their butts off, I am so proud of my friends/students/training buddies. My #1 reminder to myself running this weekend was "I can get there." And I did, barely at times, but still I did it. I have a warm-up ritual and a whole series of songs depending on my mood - sometimes I need to chill, other times I need more adrenaline, which really helps me too.
Tears, lots and lots of Tears.
I'm not a big cryer, but it's been an emotional rollercoaster of a year, and hell, an emotional month. I missed having Kaleb running, and it was hard explaining to people who didn't know, why he wasn't there. But I turned it around to a positive when people asked how he was doing and gave him lots of well wishes. Sorry to Tag, who I called Kaleb at least 5 times over the weekend :)
When I went to get Gyp for her last run of the weekend I starting crying, luckily I had my sunglasses on. I had to get my poop in a group.
I cried when I looked at the Aggregate on the first day and couldn't find Jo & Tag on the first, second or third page of the 22" Regular. I rescanned the pages and realized his name was in the #1 spot. It stayed there all weekend, and Jolayne and Tag won 22" Regular. I can't put into words what that means, but hopefully Jo will update her blog - and you can read Amanda's too.
Our students/training buddies successes are amazing, we see them from the time they come as pups or adults and are there for every successful and heartbreaking moment. We are there for eachother no matter what, and every person has something to offer for motivation and support. I cried for Lynne and Lucy who ran a great last standard, and we knew she easily qualified. I cried for Jan and Dave and the Sheltie girls they have worked so hard with. I cried for Amanda and Wicca who live on the edge in every run, her Friday Steeplechase run and Saturday Gambles, were a thing of beauty.
I hardly had enough tears left in me to cry for Gyp, but I did.
She really is an amazing little dog. Amanda is right when she says we read eachother's minds. It's a strange, wonderful, give-me-goosebumps connection that I don't have with my other two dogs to that extent. We cuddled every night in the hotel, she slept nudged up to me each night.
Gyp ran her 2 Steeplechase runs on Friday clean - with a 1st and 2nd of 14 dogs. She also earned her "Steeplechase Expert Bronze" Title, for her 25th & 26th Q. She placed 2nd in the Steeplechase Finals on Sunday.
Gyp ran her 6 main events with amazing Speed, Accuracy and Grace. She had 19 dogs in her division this weekend.
She earned over 100 points in each of her Gambles, even last year neither of us would have been confident enough to attempt the mini gamble twice as we did, and we did it this year. She placed 1st in each run.
Her Jumpers run were smooth and fast, it wasn't until the beginning of May that I had even attempted to run Jumpers, but we worked this past month getting our handling groove back. She placed 1st and 2nd (by .4 of a second) in her classes.
The Standards were not easy, and they were for the most part pretty technical and long. I was proud of these runs, we ran them the best we could - all or nothing, baby. She placed 1st in both with very competitive times.
This year ... she ran 6/6 - with 630 points, won her 16" Specials Division again. I thought we would never top last year's Regional - she ran 6/6 - 580 points and won her division.
I couldn't ask for more from Gyp, it's hard to put into words. We are taking a well deserved Agility break, and in a few weeks we'll build it back up for Nationals. Never in a million years did I imagine I would run on the green at Spruce Meadows, it's cheezy but it's my childhood dream from my riding days, but the dream is a little different now, it's with a dog :)
Congrats to our amazing Go Dog Go gang pictured with Judge Patti Wilson.
I also have a public album on facebook if you'd like to see more photos ...