Originally posted at Blogger March 2011 – I’ve got some time before the 2013 race, but as the weather turns the race won’t be far from my thoughts.
Mushers in the Iditarod are just over halfway through this 1112 mile race across Alaska. Lance Mackey my favorite is running in third place. Although for the record I’m fond of Martin Buser too. For the life of me I can’t quite figure out what my fascination is with this race. I absolutely hate being the slightest bit cold! When the thermometer drops to 59 degrees I start shivering and don’t stop until the thermometer reads 70 degrees sometime in the spring.
I know these men AND women are all bundled up in probably THE best winter gear but hey they still have to drop something or unzip something to go to the bathroom! Seriously who wants to expose their buttocks in -30 with gale force winds to tinkle! I just couldn’t do it. Yet every day I sit at my computer and check the standings and read the commentary and if it was on TV I would be glued to the set watching it all, taking it all in. I am fascinated by their grit and determination.
What an accomplishment. I would be scared witless to be out in the desolate terrain with nothing but my dogs. I wouldn’t get any sleep worrying about a moose attack or falling through the ice. Out of about 62 mushers, 7 have dropped out of the race, this mostly is due to the concern for their dogs, not themselves, but a couple have dropped due to their own injuries. Yesterday’s commentary on one of the mushers was terrifying! He figures he was unconscious for about an hour while his dogs kept to the trail. They had come through a bad stretch where the musher hit his face on the ice. Swelling his eye completely shut. That was the last thing he remembered until he woke up, standing on his runners, hands to the bars and dogs running the trail. I can’t even begin to imagine the fear I would have had.
These men and women amaze me. What makes them have the fortitude to carry on and do this year after year. The isolation on the trail, the bitter cold, the fear of getting lost. I know of at least two of the mushers who are cancer survivors. DeeDee Jonrowe is a breast cancer survivor and Lance Mackey is a throat cancer survivor, so I relate to knowing what he went through for treatment. I have friends who are breast cancer survivors, I know just a little of swelling that can take place in their arms afterwards and the bandaging they must wear to keep the swelling down. Yet here is DeeDee and her main concern is not herself, but how her dogs are doing. At the conclusion of Lance’s treatment, he ran the Iditarod with his feeding tube still in place. He had to pull out of that race, all those years ago, due to his health, but he came back and won 4 races in a row! My hat is off to Lance and DeeDee and all of these mushers and their guts. Maybe some day I’ll buy all that warm clothing and travel to Alaska and cheer them on from the sidelines. That will be a big step for me to embrace -30 temps to show support of the mushers, or maybe I’ll just check the updates every day from my computer, with a hot cup of coffee to keep me warm while I’m thinking about them out there.