Squat, Sprint, Pivot, Sprint, Repeat…
It was another great weekend of flyball racing with the best dogs and teammates on the planet. Seriously. It was a blast. (If you don’t know what flyball is, click here for the short version.)
First, I had the luxury of staying at a friend’s home which we affectionately call Camp Candis. Instead of struggling to find little strips of dirt and grass in a hotel parking lot, my four legged children were treated to a fantastic fenced acre of doggy heaven, including a pool specifically for doggy dock jumping. We camped out in a very luxurious fifth wheel with another teammate. Three humans, 16 dogs and we had plenty of room. It was absolutely WONDERFUL!
Then there was the racing. With six (okay, seven) teams we made up more than a quarter of the total entries. For those unfamiliar with the sport, this translated to roughly 35 dogs and 12 or so people. We even had to race ourselves. A lot. It was only a year ago we regularly ran three teams and sometimes had a fourth. But we handled the back to backs, ring conflicts and self racing well despite the heat on Saturday and the cold on Sunday.
The dogs did awesome and our teams really looked fantastic. We placed well across all divisions and several of the teams had new personal bests. Many of the dogs earned new titles, ranging from Flyball Dog Excellent (100 points) to Flyball Master Excellent (10,000 points); with one of our labs finishing the weekend only 100 points shy of her ONYX award (20,000 pts). More importantly, we worked together as a team and had fun. At one point, there were a few of us doing Zumba with dogs while waiting for our competitors to arrive at the ring!
One aspect of this tournament that was vastly different from previous events was the food spread. Our team puts out a lavish spread of snacks and meals to keep us going from 7 am to 7 pm each day. We burn a lot of calories out there running around with our dogs and junk food abounds. It is convenient, tasty and we always have the excuse of that high calorie burn. But this time, without any discussion, everyone brought healthy fare. Fresh fruits and veggies abounded in a plethora of combinations bursting with flavor. There were also hard boiled eggs and fantastic fresh made carrot and nut scones that fueled our fire all weekend long. There were options for light sandwiches, heavy on the veggie, light on the meat. Oddly, none of us went hungry. In fact, we were lighter on our feet, had more energy despite the oppressive heat on Saturday and there was no need for that afternoon nap. It was a united front at our camp: eat well, run well!
As for me, I felt amazing. This is the first big tournament since losing over 50 lbs. I had little difficulty staying in constant motion at tournaments before, but this weekend I was at a whole new level of energy. I ran harder, longer and faster. Times were dropping on my young dogs, partly from their own conditioning and partly because they were working hard to chase me down. And while tired at the end of the day, I was still ready for more. Thanks to all our friends and fellow competitors for the kind words! This tournament was certainly a great measurement of my own physical fitness. I can only imagine what it will be like this time next year.
In the end, we came away with more dog toys than we could shake a stick at, plenty of bragging rights and more importantly, a great sense of teamwork. In short, we had FUN!