It Takes More Than a Village

On Saturday March 5th, I will be at the starting line of the Can Am 30 International Sled Dog Race on Main Street in Fort Kent Maine. I have been on a wonderful journey this past fall and winter, training and conditioning myself and my sled dogs in preparation for Saturday’s event.

A venture of this sort takes a lot of preparation and commitment but I could never have made it to the starting line without the support and encouragement of so many of you.

I’m a relative "newbie" to mushing since I started 5 years ago after I retired from teaching. Every musher and mushing enthusiast I have met since then has made an impression on me and has helped me develop into the musher I am today. Every training run and mushing event has been a delight which is why I do this. But more importantly, I have learned something from every run and I have my dogs to thank for that. They have helped me view the world with new eyes and they have opened my mind to a new awareness of what it means to be part of a team. I am a better person thanks to the lessons my dogs have taught me.

When I put on my bib on Saturday morning I will be thinking of all of the people who had a special hand in getting me to that starting line.

My husband Kevin, who prefers golf and heat to snow and subzero temperatures, has been my most ardent supporter. He has driven me thousands of miles from Maryland to Canada so that I could train and attend events. He has spent countless hours sitting in a cold car at various trail heads waiting for me to complete a run, many of which took several hours. As my "One Man Pit Crew" he has seen to it that we could safely transport our dogs and my rig or sled and his help at the trail head has ensured that the dogs were under control when the adrenalin was rushing through their veins as they banged on their harnesses eager to get going. All thewhile he did this with his usual good nature and sense of humor, penning his thoughts in an entertaining series of Mushing Bulletins that he sends out to our family and friends. Priceless.

I am grateful to my family, especially my mother for her patience in sharing a house with 5 Huskies, and for her encouragement and financial support.

My son Shane has repaid any debt he may have owed me by spending the last 6 weeks working from our home so that he could house-sit, pet-sit with our retired Siberian and Grandma-sit with his grandmother so that Kevin and I could leave for 6 weeks with peace of mind knowing that everything was safe and secure back home. For his gift of giving, I will be forever grateful. I am also thankful for Shane’s professional support for my work with nutrition and my love of mushing. In creating this website he has strived to educate me and to keep me linked to the web and I appreciate the patience of his effort.

Thanks go also to my daughters, Audrey and Kathleen, who have given up their weekends to drive down to the Maryland Eastern Shore to spend time with their grandmother and to Tracey and her family in Wisconsin who have been able to lend their support so that my mother could visit with her great grandchildren via SKYPE.

My list of mushing friends and mentors keeps growing but I am particularly indebted to Gino Roussel owner of Baisley Lodges in New Brunswick Canada and his wife Fran. Their cabins have been a great second home during the past month and Gino’s wonderful system of groomed trails has made my training a very enjoyable experience. I am grateful for their friendship and encouragement.

To run the Can Am 30 a musher must have a 6 dog team. Since I run a team of 4, I was able to register for the race thanks to Rob and Louise Cooke who run Shaytaan Kennel in New Brunswick, Canada. They generously offered to lend me 2 of their Siberians, Moley and Mannie. These 2 lovable wheel dogs trained with Rob and the 2 are veterans of the Can Am 30 so they are the experienced members of my team and I am very grateful to have them along for the ride!

I am also grateful to my training buddies, Leigh Hunteman, Ruth Sands and Catherine Benson who are always eager to share their knowledge with me and always ready to lend me equipment! Their mentoring and support means alot to me.

To Joan and Gary Chapman from Critter Woods and James Wheeler, veteran mushers, who didn’t laugh when I told them I was considering running the Can Am. On the contrary they encouraged me to go for it and when I asked them about certain pet products used in training they generously gave me theirs to try.

Thanks also to Jamie Nelson (Can Am 250) and Ann Stead (Can Am 30), two veteran mushers from Minnesota who run Mushing Boot Camp. Their instruction is of the highest quality and they are an inspiration to all their students. I will try my best to make you proud.

Thanks to Sue Flynn who introduced me to Isotonix vitamins, the Transitions Lifestyle System and a new career path. As I get older, I attribute my new found energy to my lifestyle choice which includes eating whole foods,exercise, and taking Isotonix supplements. The gift of health has made it possible for me to live my dream.

While in Canada I have missed 2 special health professionals from Berlin Md.: Dr. Jeff Michael of Optimal Health Chiropractic and Melody Griner my massage therapist. Dr. Jeff knows how to keep me "on track" especially during fall dryland training when conditions can be pretty tough on the body. And Melody’s therapeutic touch can bring any sore muscle back to life!

Thank you all for your continued support, encouragement and understanding.

My run on Saturday will be for all of you!

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