Here we are just two weeks past sign-ups, and it still is SUCH a surreal feeling to me!! I remember walking up to the happy yellow tent (my favorite color!) to hand in my paperwork and entry fee. And by remember, I pretty much blacked out on my way there. My stomach was in knots, I was giddy with excitement, and though I walked back to the parking lot twice, it was only after the picnic that I realized I had walked that same route four times.
It is truly amazing how things evolve over the course of a year. Last year at this time you would’ve found me reaching out to Kristin, hoping she’d say ‘yes’ to me as her handler. We chatted of experiences I had and didn’t have, work I knew and work I could learn, and things I would do and things I wouldn’t do (at least not yet). Over the course of last July, conversations took place that brought me back to the world of sled dogs. The possibility of me running ONE qualifier was part of the conversation.
Fall came and went, and many training runs and puppy cuddles went by. Before we knew it, race season was upon us. We agreed the Willow 300 would be the qualifying race I would run. In case the Willow was cancelled, I filled out paperwork for another race, the Tustumena 200. As the heavens would have it, neither race was cancelled, and my paperwork and entry for both races was set: one qualifying race became two.
If I finished both races, I would then be qualified to run Iditarod (with one qualifier from 2015 complete), a far off thought at that point in time. But not too far off. Back-to-back race weekends tested and taught me lots I didn’t know. Knife 101 (where I learn DO NOT to lose the knife in the snow), Cooker 105 (where I learn DO NOT drop the matches in the snow either, or store the lighter in anything that isn’t the pocket next to your body), and countless more do's and don’ts in between. I learned there was SO much more to learn, and that I was just getting started. I also learned Kristin wasn’t going to run Iditarod in 2018. And with those finishes, the possibility of me running it started to become a reality.
Fast-forward through many emails and phone calls to get race reports in and paperwork done, a picnic and a nice entry fee later, and here we are! A year from where those first conversations took place, early July 2016. And I am signed up to run Iditarod 2018!!! You never know what can happen in a year :)