Heart & Hard Choices

I don’t so much have it in me to do the longwinded thing that I normally do. Today I emailed Iditarod and informed them I’d be withdrawing. We also sat down with the ATAO team here and made the decision that it’s time for us to “call” the season on whole.

There have been a lot of things that we haven’t had bandwidth or emotional wherewithal to share. I will say that the dogs are all fine, great even. It’s the humans and equipment that doesn’t seem to be able to catch a break. We’ll be okay. Sometimes it’s important to acknowledge when the universe is shouting at you to pull over and take stock.

My heart hurts. Maybe even more than I expected. I’m going to take some time to sit.

This is not giving up Iditarod– It’s making the best choice for getting to Nome safely and in the way that’s best for the dogs. It’s too bad they’re held back by silly humans.

Making this choice means that we can focus on human health, kennel infrastructure, and– this part can be a fun thing– doing more dedicated training with the young dogs. The dogs don’t care if we race, mind you. They just want to run– and we’ll get to do that once we get our human selves in better condition. Til then they will freeplay and do short runs as we can. Fun can always be achieved one way or another!

We’ll continue sharing adventures and dog stories with you all– We may even get more time to do so! Racing definitely isn’t the only part of mushing.

And, racing is something that gives us silly humans drive to try to mush as much as the team wants to… or almost as much. (We probably could never mush that much.) We are resetting the clock for Iditarod ’23. There’s still no place like Nome… We’re just giving ourselves the extra room we need to get there.

Thank you for supporting us along the way.

I’ll likely take a little time til the end of the year to be with myself and my dogs and feel the things you feel when something you had your heart set on changes. Then I’ll re-focus and think about what Iditarod ’23 means, what it needs, and how I’ll get ready.


3 Responses

  1. Katherine Darges
    | Reply

    As someone who has to deal with several really annoying physical breakdowns, I can sympathize with your frustration.

    Remember that you have been given a gift of time. Break it into small, easy-to-deal-with chunks. All accomplishments don’t have to be world shattering. Sometimes, just getting out of bed and petting a dog are enough on a really tough day (says someone who falls on my face sometimes when I try to bend over to pet a dog!).

    Have a “dog of the day” to hang out with each day. It is very restorative.

    Remember that you have blog followers as well as friends who send you wishes for healing and strength physically as well as mentally. In quiet moments you will be able to feel their caring coming to you.

    Peace, love, and a return to good health,

  2. Susan Breton
    | Reply

    Will and Shawn, I am on your side, and the side of ATAO Kennels. Guard your health, Will, get better and enjoy your dogs. As one with multiple autoimmune diseases, cancer twice, and other assorted lovelies, I do everything I can to stay busy. I stop short of exhausting myself, make sure to eat well, and get some exercise daily, if possible. This is not about me, Will, I’m just letting you know my experience in hopes it might give you an idea or two. Feel free to contact me, you or Shawn, on Instagram. I’m 66, married, and live in the South of the USA, Army brat.

  3. Hannah Rose
    | Reply

    Love to you and the team! Glad to be supporting such thoughtful, caring humans and wonderful dogs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.