January 4, 2013 “Flexibility”

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Breaking Trail

It’s been a while since posting last, partly because a LOT has happened, and partly because I’ve been sofa bound for a few days with a cold.  I’ll try and catch you up on the highlights…

Sun Kissed Mountain

We had a WONDERFUL TIME celebrating the New Year with great dog people/friends at Camp K, and managed to get in some very fun runs and great training for my little team, even if we only went 17 miles on our longest run.  We had some awesome passes, and some horrible ones… PLENTY OF ROOM for improvement there.  We did run into skiers and a lose dog on the trail and after I gave the man a very firm command to move his dog to the other side of him, we trotted right by as if we did it that way all the time!  My apologies for my team not yet being polite on the trail… Tozi continues to be quite a racist towards non-northern breed dogs, and Tkope has perfected his hard stare-downs at other dogs, especially other leaders.  It’s so hard to come up with ways to train appropriately when you can’t time corrections/rewards immediately or even reach the dogs because you’re behind them on a sled.  I have gotten much quicker at throwing down my snow hook and running up to them when necessary.  We conquered some fears (went up and down the steepest hill of our experience, and didn’t dump the sled at the 90 degree turn at the bottom of it), saw some beautiful scenery (breaking trail along a creek and running in the fog with the sunlight kissing the mountain peak in front of our team) and all in all have increased our comfort level for being out in the cold (sleeping in my truck seems easy now) and on the runners (I still haven’t dumped it this season, although I managed some “creative handling” around corners, including jumping back on before it got away from me).  I keep thinking of all the things I need to prepare for our race, and then I remember… there will be no 100 mile race for us this season.  The race was cancelled on 12/29.  Putting on a race is something I have no experience with, but I’m sure this particular one ended up being a LOT for the organizer to handle.  I am disappointed in several specifics with the race, but it’s all behind us now, and we try to not look back because that’s when tangles happen!  We’re thankful for the Eagle Cap Extreme coming up later this month that offers a 62 mile (2 day) race that will accept a 6 dog team.  The other 100 milers require at least 7 dogs.  I am not sure if I will ever be interested in attempting to train for a race that long again, as my life is full of other responsibilities that have been ignored for too long now.  I know that all the time and effort we’ve put in to training thus far this season will absolutely pay dividends in the future and I look forward to watching them pay off.  I certainly will never again sign up for such a long race so early in the season.  It was just too much pressure to try and “make” the miles possible in poor weather/snow/trail conditions.  Instead, I have come to realize a couple things.  One, I DO love the longer runs with the dogs and Two, I DON’T love the pressure of HAVING to do them.  I prefer to just let things happen, having the freedom before and after getting on the trail to change plans along the way according to the multitude of details and performance of the dogs.  I prefer being able to run with friends and not always train by myself, although I LOVE those alone times with my dogs.  If I didn’t have my wonderful husband, other jobs and lived close to long dog trails, I can certainly see becoming addicted to longer distance mushing, but that is not the life the Lord has called me to.  I am so thankful for my life and how He has allowed this sport to fit into it, and I want to try hard to not let it take over and control me or my relationships with loved ones (like was happening this season).

Romans 8:28– We are assured and know that [ God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

Now, what’s next?  Well, we’re ready now to run the ECX race, so it’s just a matter of staying in shape and continuing with training… oh, and finishing up sewing the booties!  It’s hard to not be disappointed with my goal of running a 100 mile race slipping away, but I’m sure I never would have learned half of what I have so far this season without the pressure of training for it.  Now, for the rest of the season, we can let go and ENJOY all the runs!  Yes, I said ALL the runs… even those that scream of progress yet to be made!  I am learning to be flexible and happy right where I am… just like my dogs (who are lounging all around the living room as I type!).

Looking forward to getting back on the runners with 6 of my very best friends soon!

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