Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Other Half of the Team

This Sunday I arrived at a trial site and realized rather quickly that I'd forgotten 2 things.  The first thing I noticed I forgot was my protein breakfast bar.  When I realized I forgot it, I simply said..."well, I'm still not hungry so will just wait until lunch...no biggie".  After walking the dogs and bringing them in, I then recognized I forgot the other item...the "magic agility water" for the dogs.  In reality there is no magic at all...it is simply water, a spoonful or so of chicken baby food and 1 teaspoon of L-glutamine powder.  This is a recipe I concocted a couple years ago after I almost lost Keegan to dehydration at an outdoor agility trial.

Needless to say my reaction to forgetting this necessary part of our trial day was mildly ridiculous.  I proceeded to beat myself up for at least 10 minutes, wondering how I could be so incredibly stupid.  After all, I'd made it up and had it ready, how could I have just left it in the fridge? "Idiot", I told myself.  It's amazing how horribly mean I can be to myself.  Our agility day continued wonderfully and we even made it home with blue ribbons, despite my stupidity at forgetting the water.

Later that afternoon I had an epiphany that resulted in the firing of myself as a Comparative Nutritionist...no fear, I did rehire myself (under probation).  What caused this epiphany was standing up and playing ball with Karma.  I'd been sitting at my desk for over an hour when Karma plopped a ball on my lap indicating it was time to take a break and go have some fun.  When I stood up I felt the crackles in my knees and winced at the pain in my lower back.  The pain subsided quickly as it usually does and we proceeded to go play ball.  As I watched my beloved girl race through the field to get her ball, often jumping for no other reason than to jump, I realized how mortified I'd be if I ever knew that any of my dogs were living with crackling joints or chronic pain.

That's when I fired myself on the spot!!!!

My dogs have scientifically formulated diets that precisely meet specific nutritional goals for each one.   I know they are getting the very best nutrition possible because it's important to me that my teammates are in top condition both physically and metabolically.  Then there's the other half of the team...Me! Yes, me, the one that drank a coke at the trial and enjoyed a friend's MACH cake, skipped breakfast, hadn't taken her fish oil, multivitamin, or calcium in over a month...me, the one that doesn't eat enough fruit, drink enough milk and certainly hasn't developed her abs to support the scoliosis in her back.  To say in that moment I was not impressed with myself was a drastic understatement.

How could I be so obsessed with my dog's nutrition and fitness but not my own? Did it not matter? How could it not, after all, now that I'm competing with 4 dogs, they might run 2 - 5 times a day but this half of the team has to now run 8 - 20 times a day. The only way my body can do that and sustain that is if I take care of it.

After this internal discussion with myself (and yet one more bout of self name-calling), I developed a new job description that did not take the human half for granted.  All species are created equal in my world of nutrition, and I certainly am one of those, deserving of excellent nutrition.  That means I can't skip my breakfast, fish oil, calcium, multivitamins, or my joint support (Ligaplex II, glucosamine + Boswellia).  I will focus more on developing my core strength to support my back, and physical fitness just like I expect in my dogs because if I truly want to excel and reach our competitive best as a team, I can't do it with only 1/2 the team being fit...both halves need to be at peak, both physically and nutritionally. Karma, Keegan, Leia and Shadow deserve the best nutritional care, and so do I!!!!

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