Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Well, the countdown gadget on my Google home page says it's only 18 days to Olympia. Yikes, I can't believe how quickly it's come round since we qualified at the KC Festival.
I have ramped up training with Niamh and she is responding well. We have been working hard on contacts, especially the dog walk. It really is down to me to make sure she is given the right conditions to do what she's been trained to do. If I start adding in extra words or staring back at her then she tends to freeze in the wrong place. Provided I let her get on with her job her contacts are fast and reliable. Bernadette and Johanna did a joint session for me last week. The course was quite challenging and very interesting. The dog walk ran into nothing and this I find the most difficult. We achieved it in the end once my trainers had stopped me from staring at my dog as she moved down the plank. It was good to have Bernadette watching my dog and my releases and Johanna watching just me. The feedback was better than video. Bernadette's advice is for me to leave Niamh to get to final position without interference and as soon as she does to release her. I can't afford to release her early (i.e. whilst still descending) as she tends to stride over the contact but on the other hand I need to incentivise her to go there fast and the fast releases upon final position are a good way of doing this (rather than always making her wait on the contact for too long.) I found the session really helpful.
I have started back at Leah's, haven't been able to train there for some time due to my achilles problems. Things have improved on this front and my orthotics are currently with the podiatrist for refurb. The good news is that my prescription hasn't changed so I don't need new moulds (thank goodness as that is very expensive!) It's good to be back at Leah's as she pushes me really hard but is always motivational and upbeat about my efforts.
At home I have worked on Niamh's weave independence. I have been doing more weaving into nothing and getting her to drive on through the weaves regardless of where I am.
My biggest challenge is still to run through spaces and miss out obstacles which are on offer to Niamh. When I do so positively we have a positive result, as soon as I attempt this kind of sequence negatively then the outcome is negative. Logical really, but try drumming that into my brain!
My other challenge is to get my timing spot on when using my oppositve collecting hand/arm. I have a tendency to pull it away too early and go back to using my lead hand. It's amazing how well Niamh responds to this physical cue not always how I plan but as Leah points out she's doing exactly as I've trained her to do. Poor little dog.
As mentioned earlier I have been back to the podiatrist to try to get my achilles issues sorted. There is no doubt in his mind that the running shoes I have been wearing have created the problem. For whatever reason they negate the benefit of my orthotics. So I have to find different running shoes for next season. A fellow competitor told me of similar problems at the beginning of the year but in my usual stubborn fashion I didn't listen because the shoes were comfortable.
The other problem I have is that the dizzy spells I was getting around the time of Crufts keep returning. I think I might have to see my doctor again as it's really unpleasant as I often feel quite sick with it.
I am really looking forward to Olympia and think that Niamh will love the experience.
Until then we have to "carry on training".