Wednesday, December 31, 2008

You most definitely can not push a rope

Updated 4:30 p.m.:

John and Zoya decided that because this year's race was so hard and the fact I finished, they would list me as an official finisher. Even though I came in last, I finished strong with more confedince in myself and my dogs than I ever thought possible. And I will get a shiny red lantern for myself.

Hi all,

Just a quick note to say that I finished the Gin Gin Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Officially, on the website, I'm marked down as a scratch, but I finished the 200 mile course. The officials decided I had to scratch because I had used someone else's dog food at the checkpoint as I stayed there a long time to let the dogs rest. They felt that qualifies as outside assistance which is against the rules. So, this will not be marked down as an official finish, nor will it count as a qualifier for the Quest. BUT, I feel totally qualified anyway, because as I'm sure you all read on the website, the winds on 13-mile summit were gale force and I was out in 45 below cold for 24 hours. This was by far the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I've never been so scared, so cold, so tired, so emotional or so determined in my whole life. The dogs came through like champs with only a few minor sore points and a little frostbite. We made it, whether the officials want to acknowledge it or not. We fucking made it. And it has changed me. I know now that I can do anything, ANYTHING, I set my mind to no matter how fucked up things get. I have a lot of people to thank. Thanks to my sponsors for helping me get to the start line. Thank you to Dan and Jodi for your kindness, friendship and support. Thanks to Tamra for helping me get to the start chute and to Hugh and Juho for making me smile on the trail. Thanks to Iris Sutton for helping me off the side of the mountain. Thanks to an anonymous musher for letting me follow his team out of the wind. Thanks to Ed, Alan and Susie at Maclaren Lodge for your kindness and hospitality, for which I never would have made it out. Thanks to Jenny and Audie at Denali Highway Cabins for keeping Sam company and helping out. Thanks to Sebastian for sending his handler out to make sure I was not dead. Thanks to the new and oh, so improved Paxson Lodge for your kindness and hospitality. Darren Lee, you saved me, thank you.
Um, I'm sure I'm forgetting some people but to all who even just gave me a smile or asked how I was doing, Lance, Judy, Tamara, Aliy...thank you. Thanks Ken, for giving me a big thumbs up after the wind storm and for telling me to keep my chin up when it was dragging on the ground.
Thank you!!!!
Thank you to Dr. Love and Theresa Daily for making me laugh while I was crying.
Thank you Sam, for your support and worry. Thank you Rich for your advice, your two fantastic leaders and most of all, your wind suit!!!
I loved this race and I hated all at the same time. I am much better off as a dog driver now because this was so hard.
I have to go. I'm heading south with the dogs for a week or so because it's 50 below at our house right now and the dogs need a warmer climate to recoup. Full recap and race photos to come.


Isiik said...

That sucks you couldn't use this race as a qualifier, but obviously your dogs come first, which is good. Congratulations on finishing! We're rooting for you!

KATS Blog said...

Congrats on finishing, I was one of your many followers via the web getting frustrated that they did not update more often and then was worried when you were the only one not listed as leaving for the last leg! Good Job Jillian, far more than I ever could do!

Unknown said...

I think I refreshed that race coverage page for GIN GIN a thousand times to follow your progress, I was pissed that they said you were a scratch because I knew they said earlier that you were still on the course. Congrats on finishing Jill! All the best in the new year and can't wait for the day to watch you on the discovery channel winning the Iditarod!! Peace! Shaun, Christine, Kayla and Mikey :o)

Anonymous said...

Congrats on finishing a very tough race. Way to hang in there and
Git R Done.

Anonymous said...

You rule! I can't even imagine!

Jill Homer said...

Congratulations! The fact that you lined up, went out there, and finished is more impressive and more real than any "official" listing could ever be. I am deeply impressed that you braved 200 miles in 45 below.

Congrats again. Good luck in your continued adventures!

Anonymous said...

What a way to finish out 2008. We are so very proud of you Jilly. Thanks to all who helped you accomplisih this greatest of greats!
Love from Mom,Dad, Dana and family.
(Thanks for the Christmas Card and newsletter.)
All the best to you, Sam and Spitfire Kennels in 2009. Xoxo

Unknown said...

Great job! You did an awesome thing, glad you're home. sbl

dogsled_stacie said...

Congrats! Man, that sounded like a freakin' ROUGH race!! You and your dogs rock!! Y'all can do anything now.

Anonymous said...

I have followed your race Jilly I cannot imagine what it was like so glad you finished but at 45 below that was something.Very glad that Sam was waiting for you he must have been woried Love to you both from Gran and Inger.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! You're an inspiration!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Jillian!
It's so cool you keep going!

Greets from Austria

Anonymous said...

Way to go Jilly!

Love Mom and Dad

jojo roxx said...


Way to get everyone out alive! Stronger and braver for it. Didn't get to follow the race real time but was wondering how you all faired. Glad to hear it was magnificent and life changing. Keep mushing on. jj

Denali Jenny said...

We're so happy to read that you are now an official finisher! You definitely deserve it, as you stuck through it all the way, and those were some mighty wicked trail conditions! Hi to Sam, and all the best...
Jenny & Audie in Paxson

bea's blog said...

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I have listed you for an award!!!
Just see at my blog
I think you do a great job; that's why!!!
European Greetings

Karen Ramstead said...

Way to go Jillian. Sounds like a tough race but those are the qualifiers that will give you what you need for the 'big' races.
Glad to hear John and Zoya let it be a qualifier for you. It sounds like it was very deserved.

Karen Ramstead

Anonymous said...

Very big of Zoya that, maybe you could get Sam to create a couple of iditarod qualifiers as well like John did, guaranteed to qualify that way.......

You did well, and by yourself so you should be proud, way to go girl!!!

Good luck in the rest of the season.