NAC Wrap Up


Home and finally able to reflect on this year’s AKC Nationals in Perry, GA.  This was my first time to the Perry site, and I really enjoyed it.  The dirt was phenomenal, but I’ve been told that’s due to the incredible diligence and hard work of dirt guy extraordinaire, Mike Padgett.  The layout was good, though naturally there was a LOT of walking with 6 rings.  It was a very well run and enjoyable event, which is what I expect from AKC.

This was Trip’s last Nationals, and it was tough.  She was very much “not right” the entire time.  To people who hadn’t seen her since last year, she looked like an almost 12 year old dog.  But I know how she was running a month ago, and it was nothing like this.  I’m not sure if it was running on dirt, the stress of the event, or something else going on with her health-wise.  There were some GI issues for sure that could have affected her, but I don’t feel like they should have continued to be a problem the entire weekend.  Musculoskeletally, she was perfect.  So, I will be investigating that further now that we’re home.  Despite all of that, Trip was her normal perfect self.  She ran Premier and all 3 Rounds clean, ending up I think 7th place.  I would expect nothing else from the perfect princess.

Trek ran fantastic, and I’m so proud of her.  She finished 8th place in ISC, and ran Rounds 1-3 all clean.  Unfortunately, we have the problem of being in the 12″ class.  104/204 teams were double clean after Day 1 — 51%!  She ended up 28th place overall after Round 3.  For us, the courses were just too simple, and I would argue that was the case for the 12″ class in general.  This same Q rate wasn’t seen in other heights, so I’m not sure what to do about that disconnect.  So while we didn’t make Finals, I did everything I could do to make that happen, and I can only be happy with that.

Mentally, Saturday was the most difficult time I think I may have ever had at an event.  Trek ran #260 out of 270 dogs in both Round 1 and 2.  That meant I would walk the course, and then 3-4 hours later, would run the course.  In the meantime, I ran Trip on the opposite course (if Trek was running JWW, Trip was running Standard, and vice versa).  It gave me lots of time to second guess my handling choices.  I actually ended up running a handling plan that I hadn’t even walked in JWW, which is not ordinarily something I would do at a National event.  On the plus side, after watching other teams, I felt more confident in handling a particular line in Standard with a serpentine that I wasn’t sure I could make in the walkthru.

I had learned at previous events that sitting and watching hundreds of dogs on my course is NOT conducive to a good performance for me.  Instead, I watched friends, shopped, and every hour or so would go back to the ring and check on where they were at.  Each time I did that, I would think about the course again, and visualize running it 3-5 times to help keep the course and my handling plan fresh in my mind.  Even doing that, I had a minor mental freakout when I decided to change my handling plan.  It’s never a good sign when you can’t even run the course correctly in your head.  But, I got refocused, and was able to get it done.  AKC’s real time running order online also helped a ton, so I could keep an eye on how fast the ring was running without having to physically be there.

So, all in all, another great Nationals in the books.  Now it’s time to prep for my absolute favorite event–AKC World Team Tryouts are in 30 days!  The day after arriving home from Perry, we built and ran a Mirja Lapanja course.  Time to get after it!

Here are Trek’s runs.


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