Coming To A Close, 2015

2015 is dwindling down to mere hours, and I find myself reflecting on the year, as everyone does in the tail end of a year. This year isn’t ending how I thought it would. It barely even resembles what I would have imagined a year ago today. In the beginning of 2015, if you had asked me what I thought my life would look like today, I would say that Tempi would be trialing, and we’d be kicking some major butt. Ask me the same question in May and I would have said that I would have a puppy, who would be majorly awesome, and Zippy and I would be a force to be reckoned with, and those dreams I have, the ones that are almost too scary to talk about, would seem close, and they would be much more tangible than ever before.

So this year isn’t ending how I thought it would be. I think that its really easy to focus on everything this year wasn’t, as opposed to everything it was. Zippy and I made the EOJ team, and held our own in an international competition, that’s pretty damn cool. We won Junior Invitationals, again, pretty damn cool.

I accomplished so many goals this year, goals that I didn’t even knew I had. I became a much better dog trainer, I became a better friend, I became a stronger, more mature person. I’m choosing to focus on that.

2015 will most likely be the end of Caper’s agility career. That was a hard pill to swallow, because as frustrating as he could be, he is my Caper, he started this whole journey, and I owe everything to him. I’m still holding out on one final jumpers run to be his “retirement run” because he never got a MACH so he deserves that. He deserves so much more, but at least I can give him a fun retirement run. We’ll see.

I made an end of the year video, and I debated a lot on whether or not to add pictures and videos of Check.  He was a really big part of my year, and I don’t think it would have been right to avoid him. He taught me so much, and for that I am truly grateful. I miss him more lately, some of the videos made me sad, but those days are fewer and farther between now.

On Christmas, we were sitting on the couch, and BC puppies came up on my timeline. Of course I showed them to my mom because who doesn’t love puppy pictures. My dad made a comment along the lines of, “You’re not getting another puppy are you? Because you’re 0 for 2 in that department.” That knocked the wind right out of me. He wasn’t trying to be mean, or hurtful in any way. He doesn’t really get the whole dog thing, and that’s okay. But in that moment I couldn’t help but break down and cry. He has a point, and right now, those dreams, the ones that sometimes can be too scary to say out loud for fear they won’t come true? They seem farther away than they ever have before. That’s a really scary thought. I’m choosing not to look at it that way. Every dog I have had, and that I have had the honor to train has taught me so many things. Things that I will be able to bring to my next puppy, whenever that may be. So although those dreams still seem so far away, I’m making progress everyday.

I’ve decided not to make any resolutions for this year. If I’ve learned anything in the past year, its that you never know how things might change. So, I’m not making resolutions, not out of fear of failure, but because I could be in a totally new position that I could have never imagine sitting on my couch on December 31st.

I have no idea what my next steps are, or where I’ll be in 365 days, but I’m not stressing out about it. I’m ready to go along for the ride.

 

My End of the Year video. (This only took me 4 hours. I’m never playing with iMovie ever again.)

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Beaming

We did it, we did it, we did it. Zippy and I are now 16 inch Junior National Champions. How cool is that?

I had one simple goal in mind this weekend, and that was to stay connected. I didn’t allow myself to have outcome goals, those you can’t control, you can only control your single performance and hope for the best.

I get to spend all weekend with an EOJ teammate, who I miss way too much. Please, move to somewhere not on the other side of the country? Maybe? No? Okay, fine. We laughed, and shared our nerves, and it helped. These are the kind of people that make your life that much brighter.

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Now onto the competition.

I knew that if I could “Cage The Beast”, we would be okay. The Beast has always been my main struggle, so he was in the front of my mind preparing for this weekend. I ca read all the mental management books in the world, but they’re not going to do me any good unless I can get out there and practice the skills I’m learning. The goal is that every time I go out on a big stage, I get a little better at managing the Beast, and that’s exactly what I did.

I had a very healthy dose of nerves going into jumpers, and like always my incredibly special boy killed it. A fourth placement later, and I was ecstatic. The competition was fierce, and we held our own. Congratulations little boy.

The environment here is amazing. Maybe its the junior thing, but you can just feel everyone supporting one another. That is so special.

As if there wasn’t enough stress, a tv crew began following Gabi and I around, and documenting everything we did. (Does this mean I’m famous now? I’m going to go with yes. I’ve always wanted to be famous.) Some packing tape, and lots of maneuvering later, I was taped with a mic, and ready to run. I think all the distraction from the tv crew was a blessing in disguise. I didn’t have time to get to stressed, and had to make sure I didn’t spiral.

I visualized the Beast, and I sat on the floor with Zippy, and I felt ready to go. I felt good. A killer run later and I was feeling pretty good. I hadn’t watched any one else run, so had no idea what the scoring would come out to be. I figured we did well, hopefully placed, and that was that. At that point the scoring didn’t matter to me. I was just so proud of myself, and my amazingly wonderful dog, that we did it. We caged the Beast, and kept our head on for more than two runs. And it felt pretty damn amazing.

I went over to the score table and there it was. Zippy’s name sitting in first place. I couldn’t believe it. I got all emotional, and cried a little bit with my mom. I was, and still am, in shock. Zippy and I are Junior Champions.

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It still doesn’t feel real, and I’m totally and completely walking on cloud nine, or ten thousand. l’m so incredibly proud of Zippy, and of myself. I didn’t let myself have the goal of winning this weekend, because that was just setting myself up for failure, and that’s when we won. Funny how that works.

I got to stand on a box, and to make it even better, I got to stand on a box with a teammate, Gabi got 3rd place.

IMG_8134.jpgI’m so happy to be able to share this with my people. And am so thankful to everyone who has made this possible. Especially my mom, who is honestly the coolest. I love you to the moon and back, momma.

We get to play with the “big kids” tomorrow, and we’re so ready. No matter what happens tomorrow, nothing will change the fact that we are National Junior Champions. We’re ready to lay it out again tomorrow, and play the game we love so much.

 

Boxes

I’ve been struggling to write for awhile now. Many of you know that there was a fallout from my last post, and I’ve been very hesitant to post again. These last few weeks have been nothing if not tough, but there has been such a great outpouring of support.

I’ve been a witness to such great love over the last few weeks. I have a phenomenal group of people around me. And they have been a testament that  your people will be there for you no matter what.

In order to be able to get out of bed for the past few weeks I’ve had to put things in boxes in my mind. To make things small, and as inconsequential as possible so they were no longer deafening. And the boxes weren’t to be opened until later. All of the stress, and hurt, and disappointment went in a box all their own.

So instead of worrying about everyone else, and what they thought, I’ve been worrying about myself. I’ve done things for me lately. I spent time with friends doing stupid stuff and listened to crappy music too loud in the car. It helped.

I let myself be sad for a few days, and then I put it all in a box and moved on. Being sad, and mad, (so very mad at the world, and my situation, and strangers on social media) was doing nothing for me. I cried, and I yelled, and I never wanted to get out of my bed, but feeling bad for myself was doing no good. I wasn’t going to be able to heal until I stopped being hurt. Kind messages from people I barely know, and daily “just checking in” texts from my trainer all helped. I knew that I was loved, and that was never going to change.

I’m so thankful that I have the support system to be able to put this all in a box, and move on.

I’m happy I was able to focus all of my energy on preparing for Invitationals. We’re here now, and I’m so ready for the experience, and I’m going to work on my ‘box’ theory. There is “the beast” that comes with us every time we trial, and sometimes the beast is bigger than others. The beast is all of the stress, and expectations, and everything else that keeps you from performing the way you know you can. I know Zippy and I both have the skills to perform well here, but the beast has gotten in our way many times before. This weekend “the beast” is going in a box. He’s being locked in the second Zip goes in a crate, and isn’t allowed out until we’re done.

image1.jpgIf every time I compete I get a little better at managing the beast, that will be progress. I’m ready to lay out everything we have this weekend, and to try and improve our mental game as best we can.