Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In The HomestretchChristmas Day, at 2:00 am, after we got done wrapping all Ana's presents

It didn't take Ana long to open everything

Larry showing Ana how to play her first guitar

Christmas Day at my family's house. Ana dressed in Maddie's fairy princess outfit

Maddie got a bunch of dress up clothes for Christmas. The girls had a blast running around in all the fancy clothes.

Makenzie, my 10 year old neice, who is the other dog lover of the family. She will definetly do something dog related when she grows up!
Well, the Christmas's are OVER! It has been a very busy month. We enjoyed seeing our families and spending time with everyone. I forgot to bring my camera to the Fortier family christmas. Or as Shane put it, Fortier Family Fun Day. It was a blast! We had an excellent time, especially since Shane brought his "yellow bird" to the gathering. As fun as it all was, it is nice that it is over and we can now take a breath and relax a bit.
We are also in the homestretch of our tough month of training the dogs for our first race, Tahquamenon, on January 10th. Last Friday, before the warm up and rain, I took out our best 12 dogs: Zoey, Cowgirl, Odessa, Lilly, Fender, Star, Prophet, Jackson, Gibson, Boston, and two yearlings, Franklin & George on a 42 mile training run. It was a tough run, lots of trail breaking, but the dogs were awesome! The last 14 miles the team really finished strong, they were like a freight train coming home. All 12 finished very strong and happy. I was so proud! With over 700 miles on both teams, we are more than ready for the 43 miles at Tahquamenon. Larry and I will both run 8 dogs. I will have the main team and Larry will have some nice veterans mixed with a few yearlings to give them experience. I am already getting nervous! I always get a queezy stomach and cannot eat a thing before a race. I do not start to feel better till we leave the starting chute. Then, it feels just like a training run and I start to relax. Larry on the other hand, never gets nervous. I wish I was like that! Well, tonight is New Year's Eve. Happy New Year everyone! Have a fun, safe night tonight! Until next time.......

Friday, December 19, 2008

Birthdays, Holidays and of course, more dog training!Ana turned 4 years old on December 10th. We had a sledding birthday party for her with my family and our great friend Hatch on the Twin Peak hills down the road from us. We used to go sledding on these hills in high school with all of our friends quite often. Billie, my other best friend from high school, always had her birthday parties at these same sledding hills. Ahh, the memories....
This is Hatch, one of Larry and I's best friends and the person who helped get us together. He is up for the month before he moves to Dallas, Texas. Hatch and I became friends in 8th grade when we used to walk to the Community Center every day after school to play basket ball. I really suck at that sport, but we still had fun. We have been friends ever since. Hatch is a city boy, originally from Mustang, Oklahoma, so we had to lend him the above get-up to go sledding. He was surprised he was actually warm all day!

Training is as intense as ever right now. It seems we haven't had one moment to relax between my birthday and Ana's, the holidays and getting 2 teams ready for the Tahquamenon race January 10th. I will be glad when this month is OVER! Above is Star (black dog) and Jersey, a promising 2 year old (Zoey/Strider), leading Larry's team. The yearlings and young dogs are looking spectacular. I even stole Georgie, a big male yearling out of Zoey/Strider from Larry's team and have been running him in mine. He runs like a veteran and was one of my strongest on our last long run of 31 miles last weekend.

Pictured above is Franklin, an awesome yearling male, also out of Zoey/Strider (spotted dog) and Duelly. Franklin is next on the list of dogs for me to steal from Larry's team. He is an animal in harness and also did super on our 31 mile run last weekend. Duelly is the big black male. He has the funniest personality, but is all business in line. He keeps a nice steady lope the entire run, no matter what distance we run.
Well, on Monday I was in a very bad mood. We had a SUPER 31 mile training run on Sunday with both teams, but it was warm out, 36 degrees. Then, it drizzled, then rained and on Monday, it was 7 degrees and everything froze up. I always get a bit cranky when our spectacular training trails get ruined. We took 2 days off and got a bit of snow and were able to go and run again this week. Last night we got hit again and now there is a bunch of new snow for our 20 mile run tonight. It should make for a nice cushion for the dogs. The trails were a bit too speedy the last 2 days, making it hard to slow the teams down. Larry had the ride of his life last night that included being drug down a plowed road. Tonight's run should go well with all the new snow.
Tomarrow, we head downstate for the day for 2 family Christmas's. Yes, 2 in one day! Then, we head back home and Sunday we are scheduled to go 35 miles. We are not done with Christmas though. We still have my family's on Christmas day and Larry's family on the Saturday after. Still training dogs in between those days. Then, on that next Sunday we are supposed to have a very long run and do another checkpoint. Did I mention we are busy??!! I am hoping January and the races come SOON!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Let it Snow!!!!!!Ana with Koyuk (left) and Windows after her first sled run with her team

Ana ready to go! We hooked her sled to the snowmachine and she mushed her team down the road. She loved it! It was so fun seeing her give the dog's their commands just like we do. Koyuk & Windows had fun too, of course!

George & Tefa, 2 of Larry's dogs. Tefa is one of his main leaders and George is on of our promising yearlings out of Zoey/Strider

Me and my 10 dog team last Friday on a 15 mile run. We have so much snow, our training is awesome!!

Dana & Liddell, another 2 of Larry's yearlings on his team, also out of Zoey/Strider

Larry's 10 dog yearling team, Jersey (2 year old on left) and Star in lead. Jersey is out of the first litter we had with Zoey/Strider. It was so good, we repeated it the very next year. For those interested Strider is one of Pete & Sharon Curtice's main dogs.

Eddie (brown male 2 year old) and Cowgirl leading my team the other day. Eddie is a very promising young leader from the Curtice's. Cowgirl is one of my main leaders from Andrew Cesario

Yesterday we did a checkpoint run with Jerry Papke's team. Larry and I both ran 10 dog teams, Jerry ran his main 12. We went 22 miles to deer camp, layed over for 4 hours and ran 9 miles home. The 2nd leg was supposed to be 13 miles, but the dogs missed the turn. Earlier in the day, Jerry lost his team going out of our driveway. I was first out, Larry was 2nd, and Jerry left third, then my dad followed with the snowmachine. Thank goodness because he scooped up Jerry, sped up to his team that was trying to pass Larry, got right up beside his sled, then Jerry jumped over to his team Roy Roger's style. The rest of the run was smooth. We had so much fun on our trails. Our teams looked very good.

Here is what we feed the dogs. We get asked this all the time. Well, in this bucket is what we feed at night: Redpaw kibble, Eureka meat mix, psyllium (helps prevent diarrhea), fish oil, wheat germ oil (for the Omegas) and we also give each dog 1 vitamin E pill daily as an antioxidant. Looks yummy, doesn't it??

Ali, Jerry's girlfriend tending to his team at our checkpoint

My team, somewhat resting. Eddie is being a good boy nestled in the straw. It took a long time for the dogs to finally lay down, about 2 hours.

Larry's team at the beginning of the layover. Tefa & Star were the only ones to lay down for about the first 2 hours. Then, the young dogs finally got the hint to rest

Prophet (a super 3 year old from Frank Holmberg) and Jackson were the only ones out of our 20 that did not rest well. They were sleeping standing up for 4 hours. Didn't seem to matter though, both did great on the 2nd leg

Zoey (left) and Cowgirl, my main leaders this season

Star & Tefa, Larry's main leaders this season.
Since this snow came, we have been super busy running dogs. It is almost too good to be true to get this snow so early. We have been getting storm after storm. Thanksgiving was great also. We spent Thursday with my family and Saturday with Larry's family. It was very nice to see everyone and the food was GREAT, of course! Today is a day off for training and tomarrow is my 32nd B-day. I can't believe I am that old!! Well, until next time..........