Real Ultimate Power….x2!!

This year’s AKC Nationals was surreal.  I really had zero expectations, and despite all of my previous successes with my dogs at these big events, I never, NEVER, *expect* to do well again. I’m not saying I’m not confident, or whatever. Solar is an incredible dog, in fact I think he’s a Ninja, but there are a LOT of incredible dogs out there.  The competition is so fierce, particularly in the 26″ class, where only FIVE teams make it to the Finals, that just making it to the Finals is an accomplishment in and of itself.  Of course, making it to the Finals at ANY height is an accomplishment!! And the Challenger’s Round, holy smokes, now that was some fighting going on in that ring.  Watching people trying so hard to win was breathtaking – I wish that all agility was that inspiring! There was such an energy; the cheering for great sequences (or even single obstacles well performed), the intake of breath when things started to wobble, the collective sigh of the crowd when an error happens or the time isn’t quite fast enough.  Everybody rooting for everybody…it was awesome. No apathy or half-assedness during that round, no sir!

I was totally excited to make it to the Finals with Solar.  The chance to step to the line with my dog and be the focal point for so many people rooting, cheering, watching – it is a thrill like no other, and it is highly addicting. When so many people are directing their attention intently to that agility ring, I swear I could lift up a small automobile.  I can run faster, move quicker….and of course so can my Ninja dog. I’m not going to lie, winning is awesome – but just being there, that was pretty special.  Being there and not being exhausted, having been smarter about travel leading up to the event, meant I was alert, aware, nervous even, and those nerves were like candy, I just loved being nervous, just loved that before the walkthrough my teeth were chattering and I had broken a nervous sweat. Nervous like a racehorse, waiting to be let out of the starting gate. And then our run…turning my brain off for 28.8 seconds of sheer bliss – what a rush. And then, getting to sit in the hot seat – I sat there, and looked at how happy my dog was, felt how happy *I* was, and just knew that THAT was a winning performance. Actually winning? Yes, that was amazing – but that performance, oh, that was nice.  That was a hot bath, a nice glass of beer, a good piece of chocolate, a great song, all wrapped up in to one.

I waffled about writing this post – waffled about writing about how excited I am that Solar and I are now FOUR TIME NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!! TWO TIME AKC NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!! I waffled because I feel like since we do well it’s maybe not my place to be outwardly excited about doing well, like it might be offensive or something to toot my horn. But dammit, I am excited – what are the odds?! Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap.  We won AKC Nationals!! Toot!! Toot!!

The whole event was really, really good.  Not just because our results were good – rather, our results were good because of all the other good stuff going on.  My housemates, Teddy and Melanie, were awesome. I spent some really nice time chatting with Linda Meckleburg – and somebody even posted a sneak photo of the two of us on Facebook, which gave me warm fuzzies:

Jester ran some of the best runs he’s ever run in his life – he would have made it to the Finals but for me taking him off course in round 3. That, despite that fact that he was in the 20″ class still jumping 26″, after all those years of actually jumping 26″ 🙂  You’d think he’d make it easier on himself, but apparently he still likes to sail. He’ll be nine this year, so keeping up with the whipper snappers in the 20″ class really tickled me. Jester continues to loosen up and have more and more FUN as he gets older.

Back in 2010, when Solar won AKC Nationals, I came home to this:

And on Tuesday, when I got home, David had whipped up some greek yoghurt blueberry mousse:

I haven’t gotten the CD of photos I ordered from Great Dane Photo yet – but since I’ve already paid for them all, I think it’s probably ok to post this:

One of the coolest things about the weekend was that several people came up and introduced themselves as either students in my Clear Mind classes, or as having read Clear Mind and having benefited from it. It was a really neat feeling, and I felt honored to have been able to help people in a way that helped maximize their enjoyment of the event. That definitely brought a smile to my face all throughout the weekend, so thank you to all of you who took the time to shake hands, because that definitely increased my enjoyment of the event! And of course my enjoyment bled over to my performances and boosted those 🙂

Congratulations to all the participants and winners from the weekend.  Truly, I entered the weekend with a clear mind, and it showed.  Now, of course, it’s back to the treadmill, since tryouts is just a month away!!