Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dally Takes On Nationals: Part 2

Day 2 of Nationals was actually officially Day 1, because the real competition started with jumpers with weaves and standard. This was where the runs really counted and you wanted to be clean--this is where the pressure started.

Our two clean round ribbons from Day 1.
We ran jumpers about mid-morning in Ring 4 (the dark, smaller ring). I was OK with running in Ring 4 because it was quieter, but the area to line up to go into the ring was cramped and harried. Surprisingly, I didn't feel many nerves (which, if you know me, you know that's amazing--I'm a very intense competitor in everything I do), I just wanted to get Dally out there and I wanted us to run. It was a doable course (which I was told is typical for the first two rounds because they want fast runs), so I was looking forward to seeing what Dally and I could show to the rest of the nation.

Dally started out strong, but she kept slowing to shake her head--not sure what that all was about, so that ate up a little bit of time. I was happy with how she handled the tight turns (she's efficient about taking the jump in the correct places when we handle things like pinwheels) and she nailed her weave poles with a consistent speed. She was running happy, and that was all that mattered to me. We finished with a clean round and in seventh place--not bad.

After what was some odd weather (between our Jumpers and Standard run, the area experienced a dust storm, followed by sideways rain with winds at 60-70 mph, followed by a 20 minute blizzard), it was finally time for Standard. It was a twisty, but still fast, course that I had to try to remember for more than two hours, since we walked it and then the 4s were all the way at the bottom of the list. Dally and I ended up being one of the last teams to run for the day, and I couldn't help but remember my trainer/friend's video from her Nationals run where she and her dog, Grace, were the last team to run Jumpers and Melanie ended up running into a jump--I did not want that to be me! (And I didn't want to be get lost on the course.)

The "roomies' in front of the Expo sign announcing Nationals.

My nerves were turned up as I waited...and waited....and waited. I didn't see anyone else run the opening like I had walked it, so I started to re-think things. A quick text to Melanie reassured me to "run my course" and have faith in myself and Dally. So we marched out, I roughed her up (I would really love to hear people's reactions when they see Dally reaching around like she's trying to bite me when I pick her up), and we set out for the run.

She started out fast through the first 180, but then the second 180 she slowed down (which I was afraid of, because it is very demotivating for a dog). It took me a while to get her to pick her speed back up, but she plodded through the course, staying focused on me through the whole thing. She nailed all 12 weaves (though I was concerned at the end when she started to weave wide around the last couple...) and then we sprinted to the finish. Another clean round, this time placing 8th, but we were sitting 7th overall for 4-inches.

After a short "Corgi Cooldown," we packed things up to head back to the hotel so the furkids could rest and we could go to dinner. Carol and Hope were celebrating two clean rounds as well, and the Final Four were playing, so off to Claim Jumper for dinner and some beer. We went back and tried to go to bed early because Sunday was going to be an early day--first walk-throughs for Hybrid started at 7, and I was in the first group. We were still stuck on Eastern time, but thankfully we were tired enough it didn't matter.


(Sidenote: Dally made it back to Columbus, Ohio, at 2 this morning--Roger made the 36 hour drive in two days! Camille is picking her and Gus up from Carol late this morning and then heading south. I can't wait to have my bunny butt back home!!)

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