Monday, March 22, 2010

There's No Place Like Nome

My work took me to Nome, Alaska this weekend for the end of the 37th annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Let's just say that, initially, I did not want to go. I've got a lot of my emotions tied up in the situation at work right now and I just did not feel up to small town glad handing in the cold. So I sat myself down for a good talking to. "People pay a lot of money to come up and experience this one time. This is your third trip and you are getting paid to do it. Suck it up and fake a good time until you have one." I said to myself.

I hate rediscovering cliches, but you really get out of things what you put into them. I ended up having a pretty good time. There were no epic adventures in getting home like last year. The housing situation was, ahem, colorful, but I had a warm place to spend the night. The sun was out a and the temperature was a balmy 12 - 20 degrees. It had been -30 the previous weekend so I was EXTREMELY grateful for that.

The whole weekend was pretty special. We had the second fasted winning time ever, the fasted last place time by about 10 hours, and the first year ever with no dog fatalities. This last fact was the highlight of the race. Lance Mackey's unprecedented 4-in-a-row victory went barely noticed compared to healthy dogs. I got to watch the last three mushers finish, which was fun. Each finisher is cheered, welcomed, and congratulated; it's special to watch.

We had a lot to organize and events just seemed to come together effortlessly this weekend. It made me think that these are types of occurrences that theists attribute to a deity looking out for them. I just went with the flow. This was probably my last Iditarod finish for a while so I am glad I got out of my own way and enjoyed it.

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