Saturday, July 24, 2010

Changing My Morning Routine is a Bitch

Consistent training at home during the hot summer months requires a very different morning routine from what I've gotten used to in retirement. I am trying to force myself out of bed by 7 a.m., immediately putting on my training clothes (shirts or shorts with pockets), running shoes, and loading the pockets with treats BEFORE I reach for my coffee and that first cigarette.  No more coctails the night before. No more lounging around until 10 or 11 a.m. in my pajamas, feeding the dogs, reading my emails to 2 cups of coffee, making breakfast, planning my day, etc. before setting a foot outside.  By 10 a.m. it's 90 degrees!  I'm only good up to about 85 degrees. And the dogs train better BEFORE they get their breakfast.

Even more importantly, Excellent level agility dogs compete first thing in the morning year round, and 8" dogs sometimes go first, so I have to somehow retrain my body to be alert and ready to run by 7:30 a.m.  It was easier in Novice and Open, because those dogs run around Noon, but those days are over for us. Alas, I've NEVER been a morning person.

Believe me, NOTHING has come along to make me change my indolent ways except the motivation of my little Maxie running his heart out for me, tail a-fluttering, stretching himself to his limit.  I can't fail him.  I must strive to be the best trainer I can be for him.  It's sad, but dogs get stuck with the people that buy them or rescue them.  The pairing isn't always so good. Dogs have so little choice in whether their potential is ever met.  Their saving grace is how they give their all for their owners and pretty much accept their fate, whatever it is, without complaint.

Our first experience at early morning competition was at Excellent level in Monroe last June, and it was a disaster.  It was a 4 day trial.  On Thursday, Friday and Saturday we earned our Open Standard title in 3 consecutive 1st place, clean runs.  So on Sunday, the 4th day, we moved up to Excellent.  I wasn't expecting that. OMG, I struggled so hard to wake up and get to the arena on time, so sleepy and disoriented, which made me very emotional. Max apparently felt my pain.  He took 2 wrong courses, did 2 spins, and knocked a bar, while I was zig-zagging all over the place, felt uncomfortable in my skin, and I was so horribly dressed.  Wrong shirt, wrong bra, bad hair.  The only good thing is Max ran fast and was enthusiastic, confirming that he does have a chance to place in future competitions against fast dogs. I posted a video of  our disaster here.

I would embed the video if only I could figure out how to do it.  (This Google Blogspot system is really hard to figure out.)

I only post this horrid video so that later on I can remind myself of where we came from.  I feel confident that we will improve--not only in my handling skills and our communications, but in my wardrobe and foundation garments!  Thank god there are no Agility Fashion Police.  A Consultant might be nice!

No comments: