Thur 1-24-13 Pre-Race Jitters

Posted on by

Full Moon Runnin

I woke up the next morning and opened my Bible to the same spot the Lord led me to before leaving Pam’s house.  It is a section that I don’t typically turn to even though it’s right in the middle of the Word, the book of Psalms. 

Psalms 62: 5-8: “ My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. With God rests my salvation and my glory; He is my Rock of unyielding strength and impenetrable hardness, and my refuge is in God!  Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!”

Just a few days ago I shared these verses with a friend with a huge trial they were facing with their baby’s open heart surgery.  I almost cried as I realized it was equally appropriate for my courage and trust in the Lord as it had been for Melanie.  I love it when the same verses minister to two people in totally different situations… it is a Living Word indeed.

Hebrews 4:12: For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective… exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

Just like yesterday’s Vet Check Parking, the Lord was with us and we had nothing to fear.  So we “bravely” headed out to the race site, only a little bit behind schedule.  We were basically the very first truck spectators saw when entering the race site and it seemed they all wanted to come meet and pet my dogs.  It was an honor and such an opportunity to talk to people about rescue dogs, but I was trying to pack my sled and get ready for my gear check at the same time as answering questions and keeping my dogs safe and as stress-free as possible with crowds of people around them.  I directed them to Galena and Tana for petting, but soon noticed that Tozi was wanting to interact with the kids too, so he got to join in as well.  Lance buried himself under the truck while Cicely curled up and ignored the scary people and Tkope looked wide-eyed and barked at a few of them.  It was great “immersion therapy” for those who were ready for it, and I felt like I was able to keep a safe perimeter around those who weren’t.  Time was clicking down and it took me 1 ½ hours to get my sled packed and ready to go because of all the interruptions, but I was proud that I held it together.  Multi-tasking (especially involving answering questions) when I’m stressed is extra difficult for me, and I was thankful we managed to put on a good face, even though it was hard.  Next time we’ll get to the site extra early so I can get the sled packed before the crowds arrive. 

It was a party scene by the start chute complete with loud music and an announcer on loud speaker!  It was really fun to be a part of it all and certainly felt like it was the biggest race we had been a part of so far.  The big teams went out first, the 200 milers and then the 100 milers, and then our 6 dog class was ready to leave from a second chute, allowing us to avoid running up the ski hill with so few dogs. 

It was finally our turn to go.  I had drawn Bib #14 and was last to start of the three teams entered.  We got to the line in time and  Terry Hinesly(the Race Marshal who himself had taken Siberians to Nome in the 1990 Iditarod) stood on my sled so I could walk up to pet the dogs and give them one last pep talk.  It was feeling surreal now and I didn’t see anyone or anything but nondescript people and my dog team, which is where all my focus was.  This was a shame because I missed the wonderful students holding a big banner with my name on it!  I was shocked to see the photos after the race!  I sure wish I could have personally thanked them!  I love this race!!!

5-4-3-2-1… and we were OFF!  I was pretty happy with their performance initially, especially with the hills we had to climb early.  They settled into “their speed” and I helped when necessary to help conserve their energy for later.  There were so many unknowns and I had no idea how steep the hills were ahead of us.  I thought we had trained appropriately by running up and over Dandy Pass several times but really needed to see and feel these hills for myself to know what kind of job I had done preparing my team for this race.  It was warm starting out and the snow conditions were soft and slow, but Team Wulik was doing just fine.  Cicely gave out several times but I encouraged her and let her run as much as she could, putting her in the bag when she needed a rest.  The best part was running under a full moon sky and simply enjoying my team!  We had worked hard to get to this point and I wanted to grasp the good of it all.  The worst part was running on the trail Pam had warned me about, a slanted, slick section that led towards a very scary cliff.  My team is trained to run on the right to avoid snow machines but Galena was freaking me out as she was tiptoeing on the same edge that she was looking over while trotting!  I put the brake on and watched in horror as my sled kept being sucked right towards the edge, sliding sideways closer and closer to the edge.  I stopped a hundred times it seemed and moved the team all the way over towards the far left of the trail with a “Haw Over” command.  I know Galena was very confused because she knew she was supposed to be on the other side of the trail and since she obviously had no fear herself of going over the edge, probably couldn’t understand what in the world I was getting so upset about!  I was shaking like a leaf as we kept zig zagging down the trail!  By the time we got through this section, my arms were like jello from trying to keep the sled torque to the left to try and turn it away from the cliff.  It was the first time I had ever really “side hilled” it (a term that sounds much less scary than it is in real life!), and I was already dreading doing it again tomorrow!  I had to do something different or it was going to be too much for me physically… or psychologically!  I was hoping I would have nightmares that night!  LOL!  On the way back down to the finish line I timed it so Cicely would be able to finish the run in harness, which she did in fine fashion.  We sped down the hills and made it around the corners without once dumping the sled, and finished in a respectable time for us… 31 miles in just under 6 hours.  Considering all the stops for Cicely, I was happy with that.  We were kind of shocked when people came up to us after the race asking if we were okay… I thought we were pretty much as fast as I thought we would be.  We trained on hills at about 6-6.5 MPH speed and that’s what we did including numerous stops.  It was quite obvious we were not the same type of dogs as were on the other racing teams, even the other Siberian teams, but I was happy with my team.  I hoped day two would be a bit faster, but you never know… sometimes day two can be even slower, and I’d be alright with that too.

Category: Uncategorized
Comments are disabled