They have haunted me the last three weekends. Every run I find myself mentally calculating the maximum number of points I think will be possible to earn. I wonder how tightly the judge has wheeled the course and what that means for us. I never thought like this before– ever, ever. It has snaked its way into how I analyze, and the preparation going in to each run. I’m not the type who obsesses too much at local trials, it’s just not who I am. I don’t walk during the obsessive walk-through. I look over the course map and watch a some of the height before 16″, but not much more. I find that the more I over-analyze the less likely I am to be successful.
Yet, here I am breaking that mindset every weekend.
We’ve been to 4 days of showing since returning from this summer’s break– and only have 60 points to show for it. My expectations had been set higher (too high?) for what we could do in the next two months. I thought it would be quick. I thought we’d fall right back into our groove, our talk, our dance, but still, we haven’t. I’m reminding myself that that’s okay and that it will come back with time. That the remaining points likely will come with the next 8 weekends of showing.
And still, they may not.
I’ve had that scenario play out several times already. The very real possibility exists that the points won’t come. Having never been on this side of NAC criteria chasing it’s a sort of strange thought. Maybe I’ve been lucky in the past that points have come more quickly (the criteria certainly has tilted the scale though, hasn’t it?). Back when I was running Nike it was more likely that I had elusive QQ’s to catch. This year those came easily. Bolt is no slouch– but yet hitting the minimum number of Qs and doubles didn’t bring us the points we needed. Maybe I underestimated how big 600 points would actually be last year. Maybe not.
I made a conscious choice back in June to take the summer off from showing– from AKC specifically– to avoid spending every summer weekend trapped inside climate-controlled soccer domes (have I mentioned I love those domes? because, truly, I do). It was a choice I made knowing there might be a crunch at the end of the season. But it’s a choice I certainly wouldn’t take back. Instead of worrying about points and Q’s, we hiked mountains, planned a wedding, laughed with friends, sat with the sunrise, camped, and explored more deeply than before. We played in USDAA more– we went to two regional events and walked away with podium photos, with three big wins. Events that are letting us play on the big stage at Cynosports next month. What a cool thing to be a part of.
So the crunch exists now, and that’s fine. I’ve decided that whatever happens is okay. If we meet the criteria, all the better. We will be in Tulsa (#TulsaOrBust!). If not, I will take that as a sign to save money, save stress, and take the time to devote more time to preparing for tryouts in May, and the wedding in June. Not making nationals will have no impact on who Bolt and I are as a team– of the things we did accomplish this year together (which was SO much) or what will we accomplish in the coming years (SO much more!). It is not a reflection of our success, or lack thereof. It does not mean we aren’t a good team, or one that doesn’t deserve to be at AKC Nationals. It is more a reflection of how many weekends we decided to embrace outside of agility.
How could I regret that?