<![CDATA[The EE Iditarod Experience - Iditarod Experience Blog 2015]]>Mon, 07 Mar 2016 10:23:10 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Discovering Inspiration on the Trail]]>Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:20:13 GMThttp://eeiditarod.weebly.com/iditarod-experience-blog-2015/discovering-inspiration-on-the-trail"The thrill is not in victory, but in the courage to join the race" 
- Marcelle Fressineau, Red Lantern winner 2014
Yesterday, we spent the morning at the Iditarod Headquarters walking around the lot while various mushers brought their dogs in for their "Vet Checks". We lurked on the outskirts of their dog trailers and whispered to each other about the mushers we recognized from their photos on the Iditarod website. Working in our classrooms, we had previously sifted through photos and read the short bios, familiarizing ourselves with the mushers that will compete. Being at the headquarters, however,  provided us with the opportunity to actually converse with these adventurous souls, and what we learned provided insights that were so much deeper than the perfunctory introduction on the website. 
We met Steve Watkins. He served for 8 years in Afghanistan before making his way to Alaska to compete in the Iditarod. Given the relatively little experience he has had in the mushing world, he told us his chances of finishing might be small, "but then again, my chances of surviving for 8 years in a war were pretty slim too." Steve's platform for racing is to inspire other veterans to rise above their traumas, the disabilities they have accrued, and to continue to live their dreams fully and fearlessly. If taking on the Iditarod challenge wasn't impressive enough, Steven plans to head to Kathmandu, Nepal next with his sights set on climbing Mt. Everest. (check his story out on inspireVets.com)
Stories of inspiration spewed from each and every musher surrounding us. There's Monica Zappa who grew up subsistence living in Wisconsin and after moving to Alaska continues to live close to nature and advocates heavily for the protection of Bristol Bay (the prime resource for fresh Salmon for half of North America). 
We met Ben Harper, an earnest 18 year old boy and recent high school graduate, who was humbly primed to face the challenges of the trail needing little more than his will to test his limitations.
And on, and on, and on. 
The stories were endless and it was fascinating to hear what drew each individual to this epic race. And the mushers that last at this level of competition are the ones that display some or all of Sanka's famed 8 traits: Innovation, determination, diligence, integrity, team work, attitude, respect, optimism. Being teachers, we couldn't help but to see the parallels in the successful mushers and the successful students we teach everyday. The students that are taught, encouraged, and valued for displaying these same 8 traits, are the ones that transform into the inspiring and successful leaders of our future. 
<![CDATA[Iditarod Misconceptions´╗┐]]>Tue, 03 Mar 2015 18:25:37 GMThttp://eeiditarod.weebly.com/iditarod-experience-blog-2015/iditarod-misconceptions
Joe Reddington Sr. , "The Father of the Iditarod"
We had always believed that the Iditarod race started because of the serum run, which brought the diphtheria serum to Nome, saving the lives of many suffering from the "choking" disease. However, we learned this morning that this is not the case. The race was actually started by a man named Joe Reddington. He lived along the Iditarod trail in Alaska.  This route was used by mailmen back in the day and they would travel the trail with dog teams delivering mail even in severe weather. They were dedicated men with an impressive toughness that was apparent in their dog teams as well. 
It was this spirit of perseverance that inspired Joe Reddington. He noticed that with the invent of modern forms of transportation, the trail was being used less and less, causing it to become dilapidated and forgotten. In an effort to save the trail and preserve the spirit of Alaska's heroic men and dogs, he spearheaded the Iditarod Race. 
The confusion in the Iditarod and the serum race arose when Joe made a comment about Leonard Seppala. Seppala had participated in the great serum race in 1925, traversing treacherous countryside and through unbelievably harsh weather, in order to bring the serum to Nome. In Joe Reddington's mind, Seppala displayed the ideal of perseverance and Alaskan toughness, and said as much to the press when articulated his reasons for establishing the race in 1973. Hence, the connection between the Iditarod and the serum race (which actually followed a different trail called the Yukon River Route) and the misconception was born. 

Keep on learning!
Mrs. David and Ms. Coffield

<![CDATA[Alaska Day 1 - Mushing!]]>Tue, 03 Mar 2015 06:12:31 GMThttp://eeiditarod.weebly.com/iditarod-experience-blog-2015/alaska-day-1-mushing
Today we headed up to Willow, Alaska to visit Dallas Seavey's kennel and go dog sledding (aka: mushing!). It was a 2 hour drive from Anchorage past beautiful frosty mountains and well worth the distance. 
When we arrived we were surprised to find all of the dogs chained to little round barrels. The barrels have a small, rectangular opening cut into them and where filled with straw, providing warmth and comfort for the dogs. All of Dallas Seavey's dogs are Alaskan Huskies - and it was also surprising to find how small they are! Our guide, a musher named Evan, explained to us that these dogs are built for endurance, not speed. They don't need to be huge and bulky, light and steady often wins the race!

Here are a few things we learned about the dogs at Dallas' kennel: 

- The dogs only run about 8 miles per hour, that way they don't tire out too quickly
- The dogs are trained to run small distances at first, 2 miles, then 5 miles, then 8 miles, then 10 miles, so that when they build up to a 30 or 50 mile run, it comes easily and they still love it!
- They feed the dogs really high fat foods and lots of meat like chicken, fish (the stinkier the better!) and a super charged kibble.
- The dogs at this kennel are treated like queens! They get therapeutic massages with essential oils for any aches and pains they might have - and sometimes they even get acupuncture!
- They love having visitor to the kennel to help "socialize" the dogs. It's great for them to get used to being different kinds of people. This meant we could do all the petting and hugging we wanted!
Missing our Mustangs,

Mrs. David and Ms. Coffield
<![CDATA[Iditarod Training with an Infographic!]]>Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:57:10 GMThttp://eeiditarod.weebly.com/iditarod-experience-blog-2015/iditarod-training-with-an-infographic
How to Train Your Dog (And Musher) for The Iditarod