Monday, June 3, 2013

the redhead is back!

Last weekend was the summer no-frills tourney hosted by the Dogwood Pacesetters up in Cloverdale BC, where we attended with two teams including our full A team of Ezri / Danger / Savage / Sprite.  Ezri has gone through a lot of changes in the past year, from adjusting to the loss of her sister and other teammates when our friends moved to Boston last April, to changing clubs in December, and of course the personal upheaval of losing her big brother Curzon and gaining a pesty baby brother in Martok.  With all of that listed out, it's probably no surprise that she hasn't run under 4.0 seconds since the last tournament with Indy, where she ran her personal best of a 3.84 and was part of a 15.69 second lineup.

That all changed this weekend.  My redhead is back, finally confident that she's safe in start position again, clicking very well with her teammates, and flying down the lanes.  She ran multiple runs under 4 both days, with a best time of a 3.92 on Sunday, and quite a few 3.94's and 3.97's on both days.  I got a lot of great starts, mostly in the 0.02-0.05 range with one 0.003, Ezri is so much more consistent when she's happy!  Our club even ran a new club best on Sunday morning of 16.243 over 10" jumps with that lineup - woohoo!

From left-right, Ezri, Sprite, Danger, and Savage.  Danger and Savage are littermates, and Sprite is related to them, and all three are border staffy mixes from down in Vegas.  Sprite is our height dog who sets 10" in NAFA and 8" in UFLI, and we're now considering taking a road trip to a UFLI tournament to see if we can push down below 16 seconds on the lower jump heights.  Plus, we earned second place in Division 2 both days, and made the top-seeded team work very hard to keep their position ahead of us - yeah!

I also got a new pair of flyball shoes on Thursday, as you do, these are obnoxious hot pink Merrill "barefoot style" shoes that I saw at Nordstrom a week ago and went back to buy for the tournament.  They are very light, with minimal padding/support and a wide toe box so the toes can move around like a barefoot runner, which I was interested to try after reading Born to Run recently.  As it turns out, I did run completely differently in these shoes than in my usual trail runners...and I'm sore in weird places today to prove it.  I think this is a good thing, I certainly felt like I ran faster (who knows if it's true), and my feet don't hurt at all which they usually do after a tourney on matted asphalt.  Of course, given that we're in Seattle these are not year-round shoes, but hopefully I can find some with gore-tex to use in the winter.

Several of our friends worked together over the past few weeks to put together these buttons for the tournament, in honor of our beloved Curzon.  It was incredibly wonderful to see so many people wearing them, and of course to have the chance to share good memories about the brave boyo.  Our regional director even called out the buttons and why they were around at the awards ceremony on Sunday, which was very kind.  Oh, how I miss him, especially at our first tournament without him, held in the location where he first saw and taught himself flyball at the age of five months.

Today marks four weeks since we lost him, and I'm starting to be able to breathe again.  There are situations that hit me just the wrong way, of course, and I had two of them this week.  The first was when we put Martok into Curzon's crate for the night for the first time, which made me start bawling as that was the first time his crate has been opened since well before we lost him (he was sleeping in our room for a month or so prior to that day).  And the second was Saturday night, when I was lying on my bed in the RV and looked at the fleece blanket I keep on my side, only to see all of those black hairs from when he and Ezri slept with me on our trip to Nationals last October.

This isn't easy, and really I wouldn't want it to be even if it was.  I miss him so much, and probably will for the rest of my life.  My beautiful, brave boyo, even twenty years with him would not have been enough to bask in the warmth of his bright spirit.

To not end on a completely sad note, here's a picture of Martok being crazy when he was chasing and playing with his brother a few weeks back.  He's growing like a weed, learning fast, and is generally a delight to be around when he's not being piranha-puppy with those needle teeth.  Another post this week will have more about him, he certainly deserves his own entry at this point!

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