tirsdag 12. mai 2015

Stavanger 05.-06. April 2014

Just keep taking chances and having fun. - Garth Brooks

After a few weeks with hardly any training at all, we had our second competition of the year in Stavanger, with judge Morten Holmen from Norway.

We had the entire house filled up with people and ended up with a total 5 adults, 3 kids and 7 dogs. But we managed that as well. There is a norwegian saying that goes: "Der hvor det finnes hjerterom, finnes det alltid husrom.", which translates to: "Where there is room in the heart/hospitality, there is always house room.". Just means that as long as you are social and willing to make friends, there is always room for someone.

Saturday morning started slow. I'm still getting used to the idea of not having to be at the location when the first course walk is, but I managed to calm down and actually eat some breakfast before we left. A positive start for a change.

First run for me on Saturday, was the jumping course. Since the judge did a lot of modifications on his designs, there is no course drawings available, but hopefully you can all see the way of it by the movies.

To continue this blog post, as of today 12.05.15, I really don't remember this competition that well any more, which in turn shows me that it didn't go to well..

Ah well, time heals all wounds, they say!

Dealing with expectations

It's the weight of expectation that's the hardest to deal with, really, from my point of view. - Kevin Pietersen

How do I deal with expectations? It's a very good question and the answer is; I don't!!.

First of all, I am really bad around expectations and it is one of the reasons I need to focus so much on the basics and to have fun when I run. Because I know that Leija and me can go a long way, but when I expect that we will complete a course or at least manage to run decently without having to "lead" my dog through the course at walking speed, then everything crashes and we fuck up everything.... I fuck up everything!!!

tirsdag 6. mai 2014


Below is courses I've recently designed and used either in training or at unofficial club competitions:

torsdag 20. mars 2014

NKK Kristiansand - 15.03.2014

Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. - David Frost

After a "perfect" start of the weekend, on the trip to Kristiansand, I was very excited to see how the start trickled down in to our 2014-start.

For explanation;
       - After getting off work a bit early, I start the trip to KRS. I just have to buy some supplies first. And don't you think that I get a flat tire and have to spend three -(3)- hours, yes three hours, changing them.

My reaction when I saw it;

After arriving in KRS, we spent a good evening with friends and good food, but I would be lying if I say I had a good night sleep. Try sleeping in the same bed as two "wannabe-spiders" sleeping, is not recommended.

Even if a bit tired, I ended up at the location in time to view the course for jumping 1 and help some friends with a course walk. After some time, it was finally my turn. Took some time to warm up Leija and to get a feel for how we would interact with each other before the run.

First course of the day was jumping 2:
The course itself was a bit different than the design due to size restrictions in the arena, but it's pretty mich the same. It is easy to see where the difference is on the movie link.

When we were at the starting line, I had a pretty good feel on how I wanted the run to be, how my movement was supposed to be and how that would "trickle" to Leija and her run.

However, after the first two obstacles, my first mistake came between #2 - #3. I was WAAAAAAY to late to do my supposed front cross, giving us a much better line for #3 -> #5. The positive of that mistake, was that Leija picks up speed again very fast and hardly loses a beat in her running.

BUT, and it is a big BUT; My movement for #6 is so crappy that I would prefer if she ran in to the wrong tunnell!! I have hardly any break in the turn and Leija does exactly what I show her, even though I manage to "save" that obstacle. 

#6 -> #8 is easy, as it is almost a straight line, but the I fuck it up again on number #8, where I (and I don't know why I do this) turn the way facing AWAY from the way we are running!!!! OH MY GOD how I FUCK up my handling....

And I keep doing it!!!! I look like the hunchback of Notre Dame when I run with that arched back...
After that disaster, I manage to get us to move to the weaves, where she jumps out on the last gate, but we pick it up rather okey, even though I spend some time figuring out where to insert her again.

Jump #15 clearly shows that I've given up and it results in a very wide turn in to #16 and I hardly give Leija any directions. Even though we had several issues during the run, we manage to finish on 2nd place, with 10 faults and a time within the set standard time.

Considering that it was the first run of the season, I can not lie and say I was negative after the run, but it shows that we still have a lot of issues to deal with during the season.

After a few hours brake, we were ready for the agility 2 run:

I was actually happy with my solution for the beginning on this course, but I fell behind on the movement up to #3 and that makes the turn going in to #4 becomes to big and I lose some time there.

After #7 I again use the opposite hand (Which I am close to gaffa-taping to my side next run) to stop and show Leija where to run. I also use the wrong hand to "throw" Leija in to the tunnell (#9). From #9 -> #12 I am actually quite happy with what I do, but I would prefer it if I didn't bend so much. Maybe make the turn to #12 slightly tighter.

In the weaves I get put off by the fact that Leija finishes without mistakes and that gives me some issues before #13, but we manage to save it. #14 -> #17 is straight forward, but on #17: wrong hand, wrong hand, wrong hand!! It's definately getting taped next run!

Very happy with the fast finish and it gives us our first clean run in agility 2 and a speed of 4.25 mtr/sec, but based on what I see, we should easily be able to get faster runs in the future.
Hopefully people can see what I'm doing wrong and not do that themselves.

Our next competition is Stavanger on 5-6 April with norwegian judge Morten Holmen. And there Niili will also compete in Jumping 2.

Tommy, Niili & Leija

fredag 14. mars 2014

Season start 2014

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/marktwain138540.html#l1JTd81VfWZhWVzS.99

Season start! It's a exciting thought, word, beginning for me. I always spend time considering how the winter-break will affect my mental preparations for competitions.

- Will Leija follow my movements?
- Have I trained myself good enough?
- Do I have the strength, speed and endurance to follow through with everything I want to do?

I sincerely hope so. I've spent most of the winter training myself, making sure that it will not be my own personal shape that will stop us from accomplishing our goals this year.

Our first official competition of the year will be this weekend in Kristiansand, the Norwegian Kennel Club competition, with judge Helge Himle. Leija will run both agility and jump, but will not run for teams this competition.

I hope I can go out on the course with a open mind and make the choices that are good for Leija and myself. I've certainly had time to think about everything since our last competition.

One of the most important things that came from my season evaluation, was the fact that the closer to season-end we came, the more I reverted back to my old self and "pushed" defeat down Leija's throat! We ended the season on a negative only due to my own lack of will-power, and my main focus for the entire season of 2014 will be to always have fun.
I know that when Leija and me are having fun and enjoying ourselves, we excel in what we do. We manage to only focus on what we need. Or more importanly; I manage to not think "What if?"!!

So, I deeply hope that I can muster the courage to keep my mind on the positive side of what I spend most of my spare time on, and go back to the fast paced, cool runnings agility that Leija and me had in the 2013-season start.

Or as a good friend of mine told me after a "bad" run:

- "If you can't keep your mind focused on the dog and give her proper directions and have fun, then get the F*** off the course. Because you are ruining the fun for your dog!".

I look forward to managing that challenge and to see loads of good agilityfriends again. If I can't say it to you face-to-face, then:

And always remember:

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. - Mark Twain

Tommy, Leija & Niili

onsdag 4. desember 2013

Stavanger 12-13 Oktober

That which does not kill us makes us stronger. - Friedrich Nietzsche

After a good pre-summer, we've had a few bad competitions this autumn. And honestly, I can not say it's improving either.
Our third last competition of the season, was in Stavanger on 12th-13th Oktober with the german judge Stefanie Semkat.
She arrived thursday afternoon and got to spend the entire evening relaxing and preparing for the competition at the hotel. On friday I took her to the beach for a walk with Quick (her Papillon) and my own dogs.
Competition started early on saturday with the jumping competitions. My first run for the day was jumping 1 with Niili.

It was a really cool run and Niili was following me good during the entire run. Of course, we can still work alot on the weaves and the winter will be used to train this with the help of Susan Garrett and her "2x2 Weave Pole Training DVD". You can find the DVD on this link, and yes, she send them international.
When I look at the run and the fact that we spent 6,31seconds in the weaves and some wide turns, it warm my heart when I see that we still had a speed of 4,36m/s in the run. It just shows me that we did a good thing for us when we moved on to grade 2 after this run. Now it will be fun to see how Niili will be able to compete with Leija on the same courses. Will she be able to match Leija's speed or will she go further?
Second run for the day was the jumping 2 with Leija. Even with our mistakes in the weaves, which I'm really starting to dislike, we managed to get a win. It wasn't that difficult, seeing that we were only two competitors in grade 2 small, but I would've preferred a clean run to grade 3.
Speed was good for Leija in the beginning, but I have started to see a trend in both myself and Leija, where I bend my back too much in turns, causing Leija to get the wrong directions from me and generally starting to lose speed when I do this. Hopefully this is something I can spend the winter on fixing, but when I get it sorted, she will be even faster than before.
This run showed me exactly how much time and speed we lose by not managing good weave-entrance and having to go back to fix weaves in a run. We lost approx 10.85sec on our "little" mistake there, and it turned us into a 3,79m/s run instead of a 4,83m/s run, when I deduct the time lost in weaves from the total time. However, when I look at the run by itself, if I get the turns tighter, accelaration back to normal and I straighten my back, I can see no problem in us managing a run speed of somewhere around 5,2-5,4m/s.
The third and last official run of the day was the team run with Leija. This was a agility course, where again we face the problem with the weaves. I don't have a video of this run, but I have the course below.
During this run everything was running smoothly until the weaves. One of the challenges that we see more and more in all grades now, is both sided weaves, meaning that you as a handler can be on both sides of the weaves, but higher the grade, the more frequent you go on the "wrong" side of the dog. Because of this, I need to be comfortable with doing this. In this run, I tried, but failed miserably.
Last run of the day; open jumping. It was a super fun way of finishing the day for both the dog and handler. Alot of people had fast runs, and of course we had a weave fault... We lost 9,60sec in that incident, and I lose all my motivation in the run.
I also did the same course with Niili, which was alot of running and not alot of control. But we both had super much fun in the course, so for us it was a success.
Thoughts after saturday;
After a gruelling day at the courses, we had a very relaxing and great dinner out on a restaurant, and we even managed to get a picture of all the ladies I entertained. the servers must have thought I was engaged in polygami, with all the wives.
So, Sunday was coming up:
Started the day with Jump 2 with both dogs. After a good first day with Niili, I decided to take her up to grade 2 in jumping, just because there is no point staying in grade 1 when we nail it and it's also easier for logistics on competitions with multiple rings.
Basically story of the day was alot of weave faults and not very good runs. I don't have any movies from this day, but the courses can be seen below:

I know it's a good time since last blog, but we just needed to get everything on a arms length.
Tommy & Leija

fredag 4. oktober 2013

Karmøy - 28-29 September 2013

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. - Thomas A. Edison

This weekend it was Karmøy who was the host for the last competition in September. Karmøy is located almost as far west in Norway as you can.

Since the competition started at 10.00am on saturday, both Elisabeth and me decided that we could drive up on saturday morning. We started at 07.00am and arrived at the location at 09.15, after a nice ferry ride and a stop at a food store for some breakfast.

First run of the day for me, was the Agility 2 small course. It was a good course, with a few challenges that I liked and lines that I tried hard to hit. In my eyes it could possibly be a bit harder, but that's just my opinion. Leija jumps the last few weaves which gives us a fault and I spend alot of time going back. After the fault, I clearly see my motivation drop and I focus less on everything. Whenever I get a fault, I can see myself holding the contacts longer, forcing Leija to stay and this automatically gives me a slower time than I normally would get.

Second course for us this day, was the team course which I ran with Leija. Seeing that I haven't started agility with Niili, it's mostly Leija who does agility and teams, as teams have to be agility courses in Norway to be valid in national championship qualifiers.

Leija takes the start really good, but a wrong position from me fucks everything up. I lose my own focus because I have to adjust my timing and position to follow up Leija correctly. It looks like I manage to do this, but then I screw it up down from dogwalk, giving Leija a chance to choose her own tunnell entrance. Result of this, DQ.

Course number three was Jump 1 with Niili. I liked the course very much, as it gave us both good speed, but I could not let go of my focus with Niili. Lose focus for 1 second with these two dogs and they run a totally different course or line that you had planned. Seeing that we are still learning the flat tunnel, I don't go back to fix the denial on that obstacle, giving us a refusal with a follow up DQ.

Last course of the day was Jump 2 with Leija, and what a course it was! Leija runs like the wind.. She can be even faster!!! I give some slowness to the high grass, but still!!! And then I drop my focus for a milli-second!!!! Result: DQ!!

My thoughts of the day::
After a good and relaxing evening with Lene Cecilie Olsen & Einar Fossum, I was ready for a new day, hopefully without frustrating handler mistakes, like the jumping course on saturday.

First course of the day was Jump 1 with Niili. It was a course with some luck for my part. Niili had several "near-drop" bars during the run and I was pretty happy when I found out that it was a clean run. I blame the tall grass. I see that I can run even faster with Niili during these courses, as she is almost as fast as Leija. Weaves need a lot more work, but even with the slow weave during this run, she still ran 3,76m/s!!!

Second course was Jump 2 with Leija. For me it was a cool course, and it was my own fault she jumps back on the obstacle before the weaves. I need to learn to give Leija more space, but we also need to train more on the "in-between" obstacle. Result; DQ

Last course of the day was agility 2 with Leija. For the second time in all of our competition career, she dropped a bar :O. It was a good course, but like I've said previously; when we get a fault, I spend extra time on the contacts to make sure it's done correctly.

However, with that being said, I think it was a good run. I have some work to do on the turning, but it is a work in progress. After the A-frame, I lost Leija for a split second and she chose the "wrong" tunnel entrance. Luckily it was optional, but I still lost my "handling", which ended in a weird finish of the run. Result; 1st Place, 5 fault, 3.4m/s.

T-t-t-t-that's all folk's.. Next competition for us is Stavanger 12-13 October, with Stefanie Semkat from Germany as judge. I'm really looking forward to that competition, as Stefanie claims that I will run my ass of on her courses...

Tommy, Leija & Niili