Day 26: Alaska ~ Limited North American Championships Day 3

UserJessica DohertyTime2013-03-17 07:32:00

Sunday, March 10th 2013 Day 3 Limited North American Championships

We showed up late to the track. Went to check-in; no drug testing today. On the way, we had stopped in North Pole for coffee at Leaf & Bean. There was a fog over everything as we drove into Fairbanks.

By the time the race started, the fog had diminished. Fairbanks has bad air quality as it's like a bowl and all the pollutants - most from heating sources - sit in an ice fog hovering over the city oftentimes. The hills around Fairbanks are out of that for the most part and are most of the time significantly warmer as well.

Today all classes run a longer track. The Ski and 4-Dog will run 6.2 miles, the 6-Dog will run 8 miles and the 8-Dog will run 12.5 miles.

Jeff goes out in the ski and has a clean run and both girls were pulling hard at the finish. I was very happy that both girls were solid for all 3 days and gave him a good race and a 5th place finish in the 2-Dog.

Lily had a very tough run. Her team took her the 4.8 miles track again and she was DQ'ed. That was a real bummer.

So, here it goes. I tried to be strategic about how I was going to run the 8-mile, but I ended up just letting the dogs tell me mostly. We started out not much different than the past 2 days, FAST, but I held my foot on the mat a bit firmer. Once we got to where they usually settle into 22.5, just past the 4-mile turn, I kept my foot on the mat until they we're settled into 21.5 instead. That was the pace I wanted them to do and that I thought they might be able to keep up. Tim seemed extremely happy with that pace and the leaders tugs were very tight. The mat stayed down.
The leaders passed the 6.2 miles turn perfectly although the team dogs all swayed over then back. The track then turned a bit slower as new snow was on it. The 8-Mile extension was really awesome, nice and twisty and just a real pleasure to be on. The dogs loved it. Once we passed where the 6.2 mile turn comes back into the trail, all the dogs knew then how far they had to run.
Just around where the big incline starts, the mat was still down. I glanced at the GPS ~ it said 7.2 miles and we were just over 20 minutes. The dogs were on fire and still rolling fast! I started getting really worked up. I lifted the mat and we sailed up the incline and toward the finish. As we came out the top of the incline, out in the open to the ½ mile marker, I started to cry and tell the dogs how good they were and that they could do it! Every dog on the team was giving me their best... it was very emotional.

We sailed through the finish at 23.01, a new track record for the 8-mile. Scott Baily gave me a hug and pat on the back at the finish, Mark Hartum was taking pictures of the team and Kelley McGrath and Brian brought the team back to the truck. Brian took a lot of pictures of me and the team. Eli and Emma had some diarrhea after the run but ate and drank fine.

Grace had a super sweet run and claimed 3rd place. Awesomeness.

The weird thing was there was no award ceremony. I guess they do all awards for both LNAC and ONAC after ONAC. Not sure why but it doesn't make much sense as most of us that placed at LNAC are leaving early this week. Very few of competitors compete in both ONAC and LNAC so I'm not sure why it is done like that. We were able to collect our purse $ though, which was good. Pay for a days worth of gas on the way home:)

Bailey's, Jocelyn, Nathalie, Jeff and Sam, Kelley's daughter headed up to Silver Gulch Brewery in Fox, north of Fairbanks. We stayed for quite a while at the race site packing up, talking to different people, etc... It was real nice to meet and talk to Mark Hartum and his family, nice people. And Ken Bernard was also real nice. After socializing and taking care of dogs, we headed up to Silver Creek as well and joined the gang. It was packed for such a remote place. Fun place, beer and food were good.

Out in the parking lot, we said our last good bye's to everyone. Both us and Kelley McGrath are leaving Tuesday morn for our long trek back....

Back at our room in North Pole, we took care of the dogs. Clint and Mandy from Australia came down to our room to say goodbye as they have a flight early morn Monday. Love those guys. Glad Mandy came this time ~ she is as cool as Clint! Maybe even cooler:)

And that was where our day ended... time for sleep.