Over the past few days, I've been running the dogs between 25 and 40 miles. With the last minute change in my leaders, I am starting to feel more and more comfortable with Toby and Jenna. With all the new snow that has fallen over the Christmas break, we have been running a new trail that will eventually take us out to the White Mountains. Each run I have been solo with directions on where to go from Ken. It's always really exciting being on a new trail looking for landmarks that Ken has mentioned so you know you are going the right direction. This trail takes you over two lakes, by an old beaten down cabin, beside and under the oil pipeline and finally out the Elliott highway. With all the new snow it's like you are gliding on a cloud in some sections and others where the dog's feet are punching through causing them to move slow.
Each day I have been texting Ken when I leave and return so he knows how long it is taking me and then afterward I would tell him all the details of my run. After my second run, I was telling him all about it at the kitchen table. Said to him how much fun it was, and told him at the end of the run I used about 200 feet of the Elliott Highway to turn the dogs around. His face immediately changed, and he calmly clarified that I took the dogs on the road. After telling him again what I did his face became red and it was evident he was not happy with him. He then went on to say how stupid that was, how you have no control on the road and said with Sebastian dogs just getting hit by a car I should have known better.
Feeling a little caught off guard I just apologize and explained I didn't know that was such a bad thing to do. With the subject changed I thought it was a lesson learned and it was over.
Two days later as I am preparing all the food for the race I passed Ken in the house, and he brought it up again. He said that was a major step backward and he was worried I didn't know better. He then re-explains that the only time we take them on the road is just to cross it. That's it! Because I took them on the road, they could be more prone to do that in the future when you don't want them to. He then followed it up with he is worried about me racing and said I might not be ready.
Not the words of encouragement you want to hear only two days before your first race.
I apologized again and explained it would never happen again. At this point the lesson was learned and talking about it more is not going to benefit anything. The subject then changed and went into all the gear I needed to pack and put together.
I then went into town to pick up several needed items only to return home with Ken giving me the news that this weekend's race had their veterinarian back out last minute. This means the race would not count as an Iditarod qualifier. Fingers crossed they can find a vet within the next day. Thankfully we planned for such a thing, and I am signed up for another race down in Wasilla called the Knik 200. All the gear I needed for one, I will be needed for the other.
We will see what tomorrow brings.