|My fur kids and me on a 25 mile run|
I admit, some days it's difficult to muster the dedication and discipline. Anyone who thinks training sled dogs is fun is mistaken. This is not a vacation; this is akin to a full-time job, and mostly outside in weather others wouldn't dare venture out into. Hours spent with the dogs are not all spent running. We stop frequently for praise, drinks, or to untangle lines. It's training - not only marathon training, but also simple training techniques like others use for their pet dogs when they "sit" on command. The dogs are learning at every turn, especially mine, because they're still so young: my youngest dog, Miles, just had his first birthday two weeks ago.
I learn too, on every run. I learn more and more patience. I learn humility - who am I compared to these amazing athletes? I learn to compartmentalize my fears from the dogs; I don't want them to pick up on the worries I have about that first checkpoint, or whether I am the weakest link in this dog team. Indeed, there is a lot of time to ruminate over lots of thoughts when you're out in the woods for hours with nothing but yourself and 9 of your best friends.
When I'm out there, I think a lot about my family. I think about my kids, and how much I miss them. I hope they grow up with a respect and appreciation for follow through, being focused and going after their goals; I hope they don't resent me for going after mine. I think about the sacrifices it has taken to get to this point - sacrifices from my family and me - and I am humbled and grateful for all that I have. I marvel always at my amazing canine family, and pray only that we get to the start and the finish line.
Thankful from the north woods, and as always....