As I get older, I value honesty and transparency more and more. So to be honest, nothing about a cross-country move is easy. There are days that have been quite difficult. I don’t write about it too much because I don’t want this to be a Debbie Downer, woe-is-me journal of how I’m finding it hard to adjust to my new surroundings. I try to keep it light and focus on all the incredible things our family is getting to experience. I’ll be having a hard day, then I have to go pick one of the girls up from school and the view is astounding. I’m surrounded by mountains. I’ve always wanted to live in the mountains, so I remember to say a prayer of gratitude for this opportunity.
Today was one of those days where I just had to say, “Wow! What an amazing thing I just got to experience!” It was a cross it off your bucket list kind of day. Our family attended the ceremonial start of the 40th Iditarod Race. Beyond attending the start, Todd and I got to be “musher handlers” this morning. That means we helped lead a dog team to the start line. I admit the name sounds odd. Seems to me the title should be “dog handlers”. We didn’t have to handle the musher at all. 🙂
We assisted Anjanette Steer with her team. Anjanette is a rookie to the Iditarod. Her husband, Zack, has run the race several times. Now it’s her turn.
Anjanette, Zack and their support team hooked the dogs up to their lines. The handlers then hooked onto the lines as well. I think the handlers are really just there to keep the dogs from completely taking off. The dogs are strong, fast and ready to race. It was all I could do to run in ankle deep snow and keep up with them. All the meanwhile thinking, “whatever I do, don’t step on the dogs feet!” We were very clearly told not to step on the dogs. You can imagine why – we don’t want to injure a dog’s foot before the race even begins.
With Anjanette up front, we led the team down 4th Avenue to the start line. After reaching the line, Anjanette boarded her sled, we unhooked our lines and waited for the count down. 3 – 2 – 1 – They were off! It’s absolutely amazing to watch these dogs run. They are incredible athletes.
Today’s portion of the race through Anchorage was ceremonial. The official start is tomorrow afternoon, March 4th, in the town of Willow. We’ll be following and cheering Anjanette on her nearly 1,000 mile journey. You can follow Anjanette and all the other mushers at iditarod.com