It was a medium day in Alaska. The sky was a bit overcast. The air was cool.
Frantic activity was visible in all directions as the drivers prepared for what could arguably be called the toughest race in the world.
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race is an annual event in Alaska. Mushers and dogs cover 1,100 miles. It can take them 8, 14, to 21 days to complete the distance.
Teams must race through blizzards that cause whiteout conditions, subzero weather, and gale force winds.
The trail runs through Alaska, from Anchorage in the southeast, up the Rainy Pass of the Alaska range, through the sparsely populated interior, along the shores of the Bering Sea, and finally reach Nome, in the northeast.
Musher Mike’s marathon runner stamina and mountaineering strength and ferocious agility were evident as he ran through the gangline, harnessed them, and hooked them to the four wheeler’s gangline. The dogs were happy and enthusiastic, all psyched up and ready to go. He undid the retainer hook and they were off like a speeding bullet.
Then 17 days later, the Iditarod was over, and he had lost, for the third year in a row.
He had crossed over harsh and starkly beautiful landscapes under the Northern Lights, through tundra and spruce forests, over hills and mountain passes, and across icy rivers.
His wife, Clarissa, came over. Her sky-blue eyes were smiling.
“Well, she said.
“Joy will come, “said Mike.
He continued: “I used to imagine that I would lose myself if I gave myself away and keep myself if I hid myself away, but now I know that the contrary is true. If I could do it all over again, I would.”
“I admire your faith,” she said.
“It’s because I have learned to love what I do. When you have love, faith comes, sadness passes, and solitude breaks. Even when I lose, I love, and rather than finding myself in hell, I find myself in heaven.”
“That’s all a person needs,” she agreed. “Faith, courage, and love.”
“Yes, ” said Mike. “I refuse to fall down.”
“That’s what I love about you, Mike. If you fall down, you refuse to stay down. If you get pushed down again, you raise your heart to heaven and make the impossible, possible.”
“Let’s get some hot coffee,” he said. Hooking his arm in hers they walked toward the coffee shop to make plans for the next Iditarod.
Saleem Rana would love to share his inspiring ideas with you. Hunting everywhere for a life worth living? Discover the life of your dreams. His book Never Ever Give Up tells you how. It is offered at no cost as a way to help YOU succeed. http://www.theempoweredsoul.com/enter.html Copyright 2004 Saleem Rana. Please feel free to pass this article on to your friends, or use it in your ezine or newsletter. It’s a shareware article.
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