“The trick now is to keep the dogs in shape (just like us) but kind of protect them, so they don’t bump a toe, pull a muscle or get a belly ache,” says Aliy, 10 days before the start of Iditarod 2008.
The dogs are in top shape right now. Refer back to our January 3rd blog, ‘SP Kennel Training Goals’. In the paragraph titled ‘Supporting a Positive Mental Outlook’ we wrote, “ With their bodies in prime condition, our dogs are empowered with extra energy. Lots of extra energy! They feel fantastic.” That is an exact description of the SP Kennel racing dogs today. And it is Aliy’s and Allen’s job to keep them in top physical and mental condition until the race begins.
To that end, Aliy, Allen and Bridgett will be doing a series of 5 to 6 hour training runs in the week ahead, paying close attention to each dog's performance and attitude. Interspersed with the runs will be the pre-race vet checks and a kennel visit by the Discovery Channel which will be tracking Aliy’s race progress. Our mushers must also exercise themselves, pack race gear, finalize logistics, communicate with sponsors and sleep well at night.
Before the start, there is only one ‘day of rest’ for Aliy and Allen to nourish body and spirit and focus in earnest on the days ahead. They are then expected in Anchorage next Wednesday to meet with sponsors and fulfill their Iditarod public relations duties.
But the dogs are first priority! Here is a video of Allen departing SP Kennel on a training run last Sunday.