Sunday, 20 February 2005

February 20, 2005 Time to Panic

People frequently tell me how calm I am at the start of Iditarod – and truth be known, by Race Day I am pretty calm, but that is only because I get my panicking out of the way early - like NOW.

Yesterday it occurred to me that it is only 2 weeks till the start of the Race. My stomach immediately lurched and my blood pressure probably shot through the ceiling. At 3:30am I was lying in bed staring at the ceiling obsessing about dogs, training mileage, training runs, run/rest schedules and the likes. At 4:30 I was staring at the ceiling obsessing about dogs, training mileage, training, run/rest schedules, and the likes. At 4:45 I was answering emails to distract myself from obsessing about dogs, training mileage, training runs, run/rest schedules and the likes. Best to get it out of the way now, I guess. Sleepless nights before the Race are never a good thing.

Really, although the weather seems to have been working against us for much of the time, I have comparable mileage on the dogs to last year, some good solid pushes on them, and they are all pretty happy and healthy. Many people have been asking if I’ve made any cuts yet or have any idea who is going and who is staying – and really, I haven’t and don’t – and that’s just like I want it for now. Mark and I are planning a 30 mile run later today (after the Daytona 500, of course), Tuesday is the dog’s EKG’s and blood test day, Wednesday – Friday we are heading out to Lake Louise for our final longer runs and the following Tuesday is our vet checks at the Big Lake Vet Clinic – so Tuesday night I will have all the information in my hands I need to pick the best 16 dogs out to start the Race with me. Until then I’m keeping an open mind.

So, I have a confession to make, until this morning I didn’t understand the purpose of spray cheese. All my Canadian readers are probably asking “Spray what??”, ‘cause ‘Cheez Whiz’ like stuff just doesn’t come in spray cans in Canada – at least not that I’ve ever seen – but in Alaska, Minnesota and every other US state I’ve visited, grocery stores have a huge selection of cheese in cans just like Reddi Whip comes in. Is slicing cheese really that hard that folks must have their cheese processed and watered down to the point that it will spray out of a can?? I just don’t understand why anyone would want to eat the stuff. However, this morning I fell in love with spray cheese. No, not for it’s flavor – in fact, I’ve never tasted it but for…well…let me back up a little bit….

As part of our dog’s racing diet they eat a vitamin and mineral supplement called Amaize. It comes in granules or cookies and we feed granules for training and cookies during races. I really like what the product does for the dogs, however they were not crazy about the flavor of it – Loki in particular. This past summer, Amaize changed the flavor of their product and all the dogs, Loki included were licking their bowls clean. Unfortunately, I miscalculated the amounts the dogs would need for my time in Alaska and all the product I can find up here is the ‘old’ flavor. After some fiddling I have figured out that if offer the cookies away from meals and other snacks, all the dogs will eat them (however if I’m even carrying a bucket, they will watch the cookies sail through the air and continue to bark at the bucket, holding out for a better snack) – well all but Loki.

First I tried the granules on his kibble, but he just peed on it. Then I tried throwing water on top of the granules, but he just left the last ½ inch of water in his dish and peed on it. So I tried throwing the cookies at him, he let them hit the ground and peed on them. This morning Mark crushed up his cookies and mixed them up with his kibble and soup, I managed to grab the dish away from him just before he peed on it. Then it hit both of us – “Spray cheese!!”. I headed to the house to steal a can of Jamie’s spray cheese (in her defense, she keeps it on hand to disguise pills she needs to give to her dogs). I covered one of the cookies with the bright orange glue like substance and offered it to my problem child. He worked his darndest at licking the cheese off the cookie, but just couldn’t get it all off. In disgust he finally just ate the cookie. I danced around the dog yard and made plans to take a case of spray cheese back to Canada with me – but don’t think I’m going to be eating any of the stuff myself.

All for today!


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