I still have much to do this morning, so I don't have time right now to do a full account of the Knik 200, but I will get that up pretty quick. This morning I want to share a brief tale with you all.
In 1999 I was preparing to run the Knik 200 for the first time. I had met Jamie Nelson just a few weeks before and was just getting to know her. The morning of the start I worked up the nerve to ask her some advice on whether or not to bootie my dogs for the trail conditions we were facing. She gave me my answer and then said, "Now, can I give you some more advice?".
I told her I'd be happy to hear it. Now you must know my team had more miles on them then I'd ever had on them and I thought they were a pretty good group. Jamie proceeded to tell me that my dogs were undermiled, not ready to race, and that I should run a very conservative race plan. It floored me, but I listened to her and ran the race plan that she suggested. I had a very enjoyable and educational race, because of taking her advice.
Four years later, on Thursday I called her to chat about this and that. I laid out for her the conservation race plan that I was going to do with my team on the Knik. Once again, she floored me - but this time by telling me that my team was "ready to move up a level". She recommended a race plan of 2 - back to back 90 mile runs with just the minimum, or slightly more, rest time.
This morning I called to share the race results with her. When she heard of my 13 place finish out of 32 teams, she gave a slow chuckle and asked if I had surprised folks. I told her I sure had - in fact, I even somewhat surprised myself. Seems the only person not surprised was her.
The last four years has been such an educational and enjoyable time in my life. I have learned so much about dogs, running dogs, and myself. Although, I'm far from finished from growing and learning, this weekend really felt like coming full circle. I thanked Jamie on the phone this morning for all she has done for me in the last four years - but now I'd like to do it publicly.
Thank you Jamie. This weekend I think I became a dog driver.