Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Handler Fitness and Agility

These past 2 years of competing in agility, hearing my fellow competitors yell "Run, Michele, run", seeing myself wabble thru my runs with baby steps and no accelleration (thank goodness my dogs have a rock solid start line stay so I can lead far far out),  and mostly avoiding front crosses for fear of twisting an ankle, I've been looking for
  • a running coach,
  • or at least running tips,
  • plus a lower body fitness routine to do a few minutes every day, and
  • a short handler warm-up routine to do before my runs. 
Nobody has come forward to offer me these so I've sort of picked up tips and made up my own routines -- not optimal since I don't know what I'm doing but surely better than nothing.  In fact, still no agility handler I've met personally seems to think handler fitness training is important.  Some say "running just comes natural", others say I'm taking the fun out, or over-complicating things.

But . . . . . . . it isn't fun to be unsure on my feet, and running DOES NOT COME NATURAL to me.   I swear, either I am missing some muscles, or maybe they have atrophied in 45 years of NEVER having an occasion to run. I didn't run thru my classroom as a teacher.  I don't run in the grocery store, don't run from room to room at my house, don't run to the mailbox, and I don't run behind my broom, mop or push lawn mower.  I certainly don't run at my computer where I spend at least half my time.

Finally, today, I find Daisy Peel's website of Online Classes, one of which is:

This 9-week course is designed to give you some guidance with exercises that you can incorporate in to a new or existing physical fitness program to help you move around a course fluidly. We’ll address the areas of core stability, balance, strength, acceleration and deceleration, and sports vision.

Aha!  I'm not crazy.  Handler fitness training is important!  It's not only about training the dog!  And I so love the sound of "moving around a course fluidly", the phrase has just become one of my New Year's Resolutions.

"Move around the course more fluidly."

But what the hell is sports vision?  Do I have it?  Do I need it?  If I google it will I get answers?  That will be subject for another blog post. 

The more I learn, the more I learn that there is always something more to learn.  "Knowing it all" is a goal "that fades forever and forever when I move" (quote from Ulysses).  Thus, another New Years' Resolution this and every year is to

"Set realistic expectations, so high they require reaching, but reachable with consistent effort
and some luck."

As it happens, I have an eye appointment scheduled for this Thursday afternoon for a dilation and vision screening in preparation for possible cataract/lasic surgery.  Because I have floaters and look through a fog in my left eye and my reading glasses are getting stronger and stronger, and the TV looks blurry, and I need a magnifying glass to distinguish between 3 and 8, between 5 and S, and I squint a lot which makes me look angry when I'm not, and stuggling to see makes everything harder to do and gives me vague headaches, so that is already another New Years' Resolution of mine:

"Get my eyes fixed in 2012, before trialing begins."

Upwards and onward!

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