With the trial coming up this weekend, and being off agility for about a month, we are so looking forward to getting out there and giving it all we've got this weekend.
One of the things that both Mum and I are pretty pleased with is our ability to 'get into the zone' before and during and after our run. No matter how late we get to the trial (oops!), no matter how many dogs are around the gate, no matter how close the quarters are on the way to the gate or in the crating area, no matter how much noise, confusion and, and, and...we most always just zone when it's time for our run.
Oh, I admit that there have been the occasional times where we've lost it, but it was primarily due to the fact that we didn't stick with our usual routine before our run. And, it made us feel off.
We see a lot of people utilizing different tactics to 'get into their zone.' Mum likes watching people and see how they do what we do. What Mum does is something that she learned a long time ago when she had to perform playing the flute in front of a huge audience. You just tune them out. Clear away all that is distracting in your mind, and totally focus on exactly the task at hand. That's what she says she does - just tunes everything out, except she, me and the course; getting there, running, after play and cooling down.
I know that's tough for a lot of people. Mum learned it very early in her life and has used this tactic in all types of situations - being interviewed on TV, giving a speech in front of hundreds of people, and making new client presentations.
The 'get in the zone' thing starts at the time Mum comes to get me at my crate. And it continues until after we've completed our run and cooled down with a walk around the trial site, a quick rub down and some stretching. Some folks don't understand our 'routine,' but now that we've been trialing awhile, they are getting to know our process more. Some folks used to get offended when we wouldn't stop and talk with them before or after a run. It's just we're in the 'zone.' Mum tries to be cognizant of others who are in their 'zone' and not bother them. And there are others who aren't really the 'zone' type.
What do we do between runs? Mum loves to watch the other teams run, learns a lot that way. Sometimes she lets me hang with her, especially if I don't have another run that day. But it gets pretty chaotic and not really a suitable place for me to hang much, so I go back with Gracie and hang with her in our crate. Sometimes Mum works the trial, works with Gracie on focus issues around where folks are trialing. Sometimes she tapes other folks runs, and sometimes she borrows her friends iphone (with great iphone accessories, btw) and checks her email or sends one to a friend to give them an update.
But one thing is for sure - we are so looking forward to 'getting in the zone' this weekend!