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Tin Lizzy
05 June 2010 @ 04:40 pm
today is even better.

Sleeping sucked pretty well - just couldn't get comfy most of the night, and knee staying immobile for long periods just makes it ache like a fucker. So when I got up this morning, asked Lisa if we could pack up Dax and head to the dogpark by the airport. That way I could hobble around on crutches and work off some of my fidget, and Dax could get some exercise too.

Walking around the park, knee loosened up nicely and I started to put more and more weight on that leg. By the time we made it all the way around, I was able to walk slowly and carefully with minimal support on the crutches. Once we got home, I put the crutches aside and started to walk around the house without them.

Have spent the rest of the day so far playing wii, and watching ghostbusters + mythbusters while doing more repetitions of the exercises, all of which are making my knee feel more limber and happier - with the exception of the leg raises, which hurt the most at this point due to my patella tendon getting yanked out. But that'll have to just be until it heals, at least in the mean time I can work the surrounding muscles so they don't turn to goo.

Also - today I can remove all the bloody bandages and replace them with new gauze/dressing. Which is good since there was some rad blood and gore leakage thru the dressing that's been on there since surgery. Dogs at the park were extra interested in me for that ;).
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Tin Lizzy
04 June 2010 @ 05:24 pm
Thank god for physical therapists - after going for my first PT appt today I'm no longer feeling all aimless and wtf.

Tria was a great place to to have my surgery - the surgeon, the staff, everything awesome. But they sucked a bit in the post-surgery "hey be prepared for x, y and z" stuff. I generally consider myself pretty damn low-maintenance and self-sufficient, and hell I've been thru ACL recon before (although 10+ yrs ago), but I felt they did a shitty job of cluing me into what I should be doing in the couple days immediately after surgery.

I found myself having no idea when and how much to ice, if I should be putting any weight at all on my knee when crutching, if I should be full on trying to flex/extend my knee at all right away, if and how/long I should expect to be nauseous from the meds (or just anesthesia), if bleeding completely through my dressing was to be expected and if/when I should change the dressing.

I was also irked to learn that they told Lisa (while I was in recovery) that I should be going in for PT 1-2 days after surgery, when they'd told me ahead of time to sched my first PT appt for the day of my follow up appt a week after surgery. Which is not a huge deal really, I was able to get an appt short notice for today - but it made me panicky that I was fucking up my first couple days and NOT doing things I should be right away. And 10 yrs is too long ago to remember what the hell I did the first time around. Not to mention it was 10 yrs ago - who knows what's changed.

Anyway - all that, in combo with the pain finally kicking fully in - yesterday was pretty ass-tastic all around. I got emo enough about it all to start crying when I couldn't get the damn Game Ready to work right away. Gods bless Lisa for patting me on the head and helping me get it working. Not to mention bless Lisa for just waiting on me hand and foot around here the past few days.

But today = made of win. PT was tough and hurt like a motherfucker - but at least I finally got the answers I needed and guidance for what I can/should be doing. That and I can now start planning pain meds around doing my PT, and just sucking it up and taking the pain meds but feeling ok knowing I'm actually working my knee hard versus just sitting around languishing.

The PT was pleased with my state of recovery so soon after surgery, good flexibility so far, but I have a lot of work to do. I get to do knee bends (sliding heel on the floor, back and forth) - or instead I can sit on our stationary bike and just go back and forth to the extent of my range of motion. I also get to keep doing quad flexors (which are fairly fucking challenging with the patella tendon getting yanked to be my knew ligament) and extending my knee for 5-10 mins at a time bridge-style (which is a little freaky given the hyper-extension thing that happens when you tear your acl.

anyway - a much better day today. I have plans and I have work to do. That makes things cope-able.
Tin Lizzy
03 June 2010 @ 09:40 pm
alright. so as per usual, things usually end up differently than you think/remember.

Post-surgery sucks balls.

Immediately after surgery isn't so bad - you're loopy, you're tired, knee doesn't feel too bad due to shot of Dilotted (Dilauded? I don't know my narcotics) they bundle you out the door with. Post-anesthesia is a little sucky with nausea - but eventually that goes away and you're hungry and feeling pretty awesome.

Sleeping the first night was pretty ok - took a hydrocodone, slept like a rock star. Waking up was pretty chill - made Lisa go out for breakfast over in St. Paul (River City Grill over on a boat at Harriet Island - pretty rad), pain still manageable just with the Super-Advil they gave me.

But by this afternoon - things started sucking ass. I'd dissed taking anymore hydrocodone because I generally prefer pain to dopey woolly-headed lacking-ambition bleh feeling. But that philos is quickly getting pitched out the window in favor of "fuckballs this fucking aches like a mother fucker." Which I recall from the first go-round with ACL-a-palooza, but not in a way I could really prepare for. Pain isn't s/thing you really remember, or can anticipate. At least I can't - if it's not there it's impossible to conceive of in a meaningful way, and when it is there - well there it is and what you gonna do about it? Take vicodin or percocet and feel high/nauseous/stupid? Or agonize.

This Game-ready contraption is rad - it's a powered, pressurized, automated cooling system for icing and keeping pressure on your knee post-surg and well into recovery. Tria was fresh out of them to rent (apparently a rash of ACL recons last week according to the PT folks), but fortunate for me Lisa's friend Steve decided when he wrecked/fixed his ACL that buying the Game Ready (versus renting) was the way to go, so I get to borrow his.

I did start my post-surg exercises today - quad tightening (ouch), ankle circles (no prob) and leg lifts (super ouch), and officially start PT tomorrow. I predict that I will cry like I did the first go-round of acl PT. Not because it's emo sad time - it's just that what they make you do physically hurts so much your eyes leak.

But in awesome news - I have gazpacho from Red that will make me invincible. I just didn't have much appetite later today/tonight to try it yet. But tomorrow - it will be mine.
Current Mood: uncomfortableuncomfortable
Tin Lizzy
01 June 2010 @ 10:16 pm
I hate to be a whiny ass titty baby about being gimped up for the next few weeks post-surgery, given there are lots of folks way worse off than me. But given everything's relative to one's own personal circums, I get to be a little maudlin about the prospect of being crutch-bound and broken for a few weeks. And I'm not really maudlin, just more irked. Or inconvenienced. Or maybe irked by the inconvenience? That and panicky. I'm all freaked at what I should have gotten done that I won't be able to do now for weeks. I mean yes - Lisa will do anything I need her to, as will anyone else I ask. and it's not that I hate other ppl doing things for me (well yeah I do) - it's just I hate not being able to do stuff myself. I get fidgety.

But in good news - I biked today, and it was awesome. I haven't been able to since the acl-shred because the range of motion hadn't recovered enough to manage the pedaling. But decided to try it out today given the swelling pretty well cleared last week and it's been feeling pretty good.

That's the funny thing about straight acl tears - there's not a whole lot of pain that goes with it. You don't even really need an acl except as a stabilizer for twisty-cutty type activities (i.e. things I like to do :). I went w/out one in my left knee for 10 yrs before getting it replaced, just used a knee brace. Which of course doesn't work for harder-core stuff like derby. But pain-wise - there is no pain going without an acl, or even a whole lot when you shred it. Once the swelling/aching went down after those first few days, then it was just dealing with the limited range of motion and making sure I didn't hyper-extend it (which having no acl makes easy). So getting back to walking and hiking has been easy, no pain to overcome - just making sure to not jig my knee too much while doing it.

So biking today was rad - had enough range of motion to manage it. No pain or tweaking even from clipping in/out, just a general feel of cotton taking up space in there. Should be that I'll be able to get back to biking pretty quickly. And by quickly I mean in a month or so? Gah! I'm going to lose my mind.
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Tin Lizzy
21 May 2010 @ 06:35 pm
I continue to think about all the things you could do to work out that don't entail use of your legs/knees. Or make use of your legs, without involving your knees.

Knees are hard to isolate around - because they're always there and you can't really completely ignore/exclude them. But I've been dinking around all week with things to keep working my hip flexors and quads and hamstrings while mostly or somewhat excluding my knees. Funny thing with ACLs is that while there's pain and swelling to deal with, and limitations in flexing/extending (like walking is hiccupy because I can't extend all the way, but still doable) - so long as i don't do any twisting or pounding/impact/running stuff it's ok.

Case in point - i just took the dogs to Bassett's Creek where there's this awesome steep hill (probably 2 flights high) that I s/times run up and down for workouts. Obvi running is not workable at the moment, so I thought "hey I'll just slowly and deliberately walk up and down, see how that feels." And what I found was that walking at such a steep incline, even fast - just short of outright running, was totally doable and didn't fuck with the already injured part of my knee.

Going up allowed my knee to remain in a neutral non-hurting position at all times so that I was never extending or flexing so much as to get into either of the hurtful ranges. Then going down I took really small but fast steps, which was an awesome quad workout without fucking with the acl issue. I did 10 up/downs of the hill - then walked another mile+ with the dogs, and did push ups at the benches along the way.

Legs aside (and I won't be able to any on-leg stuff post-surgery for a few weeks) - I've been lifting weights and doing pushups & abs while watching NCIS or SVU after work this week. I'm a lazy asshole - but I figure I sure as fuck can do all that while I'm watching NCIS. I've got some ankle weights that I've been using to do some hip-flexor, hamstring and quad lifts which I'm able to do w/out hurting or mostly even involving my acl/knee.

So is good - I'll work to keep limber and in-shape and cardio-worked up until surgery, then back to it as soon after that as possible.
Current Mood: accomplishedambitious
Tin Lizzy
19 May 2010 @ 10:21 pm
So now begins the adjustment to getting cozy being a 5th wheel in the derby world. Fuckballs. I always felt sympathy for those doing just that - figuring out how to stay engaged with derby, one's team(s), and the league - while no longer being athletically of use.

JPR had an excellent point at our Supernovas mtng the other night - that some of the best things he learned about skating was when he was injured and had no choice but to just sit and observe - really see the game completely from an observer's viewpoint - not as a player's. And it was useful to the rest of the team to get that perspective as well.

But in the end - it's an immediate and fairly suckass break with your team. And I get it having been on the other side of it for so many skaters over the years who've gotten injured and been out of commission for awhile. And it's not about attention - I don't need attention for being fucking lame (literally - not metaphorically ;), it's that the main connecting thread of you to the rest of your mates is skating together as a team, and if you're not skating - well everyone else has got to keep focused on that and you're not part of that - so adios. And it's ok - is how it needs to be.

But in the meantime - I need to find ways to stay engaged and useful, without just taking up space. Not to mention staying on top of training and physical activity. Sure lots of things won't be limited - the whole rest of my damn body works just fine, thanks. But extended-time cardio is s/thing hard to accomplish without being able to run, skate, bike. Yeah - I'm a competitive swimmer and have already gotten back on that wagon this week - but it's sort of the only option for awhile.

Speaking of activity to keep me from turning zombie - today's activities included a mile walk with the pups (which is weak ass in terms of being of use for anything work-out wise - but as a means for loosening up the swelling and stiffness of my knee for now before surgery = good) and 45 of abs and weights at home. I never make time for weights at all - guess I'll have plenty of time for weights now ;).

Tomorrow morn - appt with doc to peruse MRI findings, and hopefully make a damn surgery appt, for like 2 weeks ago.
Current Mood: blahblah
Tin Lizzy
18 May 2010 @ 03:56 pm
So Facebook and its bite-sized entries are leading me back over to the LJ-side of the fence. At least for awhile while I'm interested in noodling/tracking in longer-form details about my ACL injury from a couple days ago and upcoming months of fix/recovery towards getting back to playing derby. And I figure there can't be that many folks still paying attention to my LJ account, so I can hopefully rest assured that posting such uninteresting-to-the-masses entries will just go mostly unnoticed ;).

On Sunday the ACL in my right knee was snapped tidily in half while playing against the Windy City Rollers. Thankfully it wasn't until the last 10 mins of the game - would've been a damn shame to have missed out on more of that game. WCR are fantastic and gracious chics to play, and is no bad thing to have gone out while playing them.

Not sure what about the hit took out my knee, if it was due primarily to a low-block from whoever the WCR blocker was wo cut-across blocked me, or some function of the sticky floor holding my wheels tight while my legs/knees headed the direction of impact. Guess I'll be able to review video footage from Sam-R-Eye at some point, not sure I want to. I don't like seeing vids of other ppl experiencing knee injury, pretty sure I'd prefer to forgo seeing my own knee's demise.

In any case - the ACL snap was immediate and obvious, it's a visceral *snap* you actually seem to "hear" and definitely feel through you entire body. Once you've experienced it the first time (for me - when I was 15 playing C-team high school basketball), you'll never mistake it for anything else if it happens again. And funnily enough it doesn't exactly hurt all that much when it happens - just feels very *wrong*, like your knee folded the wrong way and s/thing that was there before holding things together isn't anymore. And well - that's really what it is, init?

Past couple days have then been par for the course in the ensuing internal swelling. In my case seems not a whole lot of peripheral/associated damage, as externally the swelling isn't bad or even really obvious. I can feel it internally though - like there's cotton in there preventing full extension/flexion. And there's pain at the outer limits of flexion/extension, but otherwise none at all just sitting with my knee in neutral position.

All just like high school's ACL blowout - except now I have the luxury of 1) it being 2010 rather than 1989 when a small-town doc's fashion of treating an ACL tear (not that he knew it even WAS that) was to "stay off of it for a couple weeks, put a neoprene sleeve on it, then you should be good to go", 2) I have fabulous health insurance, and 3) I live in the Twin Cities where such places like Tria Orthopaedic exist - who have their own Women's Sports Program that deals specifically with women's sports injury recovery and prevention.

Tria was recommended to me by Camel Toni, who went through the whole ACL tear/replacement process over this last year at Tria. It's fantastic - from the start they treat you like an athlete who's injured and planning to rehab right back into your sport. Depending on who I've seen for the occasional minor derby injury in the past, I've had to get a little belligerent and bullish to assert that I play a sport, and that my injuries are an occasional part of the sport I play, not s/thing I should tone down my activity level to minimize.

So this morning was xrays and consult with sports doc (John Steubs) to confirm indeed an acl tear. This afternoon will be the MRI to scope other bits of tissue that don't show up on xrays - like cartilage and meniscus, to spec out if just ligament tear or other damage. Thurs morn is another consult with doc Steubs to read the MRI and get on scheduling the surgery.

In the meantime - I've got to totally shift gears and get into another head game of activity. No running or biking, which for cardio leaves me with swimming. So went on downtown to the YW over lunch to get my swim on. A 1000 yrds - not much, and arms only - but better than couch-surfing.

More later.
Tags: ,
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Tin Lizzy
05 April 2009 @ 10:02 pm
Friday driving back to Mpls from Duluth (having been hanging out with my Mom while she had shoulder surgery Thurday) I saw and picked up a stray dog on the freeway - yes ON the freeway:

On I-35 just north of Pine City I happened to see a black dog off in the ditch next to the freeway just moseying around, and then I was past her driving 70 mph and all. I entertained about 5 secs of "Should I/Shouldn't I...?" - which was promptly decided for me upon seeing the barbed wire fencing off the adjacent field - leaving her nothing but low-to-nil chances of her making it back anywhere on her own other than burnt toast on the freeway.

That decided - I got off at the next exit, headed back north, flipped an illegal u-ey in the highway patrol turnaround, then cruised back until I spotted [what turned out to be a] her again and pulled off onto the side of the road with my flashers on, hoping to gods I wouldn't spook her into traffic.

I pulled up parallel to her and opened the passenger side door, equipped with leftover fried potatoes that I'd grabbed along with long-gone-quiche at the co-op in Duluth before leaving town. I called to her in the usual don't-know-the-dog's-name sorts of ways - and she started a bit before deciding that maybe there was food involved and that maybe I was worth coming up and checking out.

She poked her head into the car at me and took the potato pieces I offered - but she was in no way going to jump into the car, and she spooked at any movement I made towards her. So I just kept her interest with the potatoes while I carefully looped the flexi-lead I had in the car into a slip lead as I saw that she had no collar on. Figured I could just slip that over her head then get her on in the car - but despite all my calm cool deliberate movements - she just shied away anytime my hand got near with the lead.

After 5 or 10 mins of this standoff where I just kept talking to her and trying to keep her focused on my food so she wouldn't wander off, some guy pulled over in front of me, got out and came back towards me asking if everything was ok and if I needed an help. The dog spooked and took off back behind my car and right into traffic. I hollered at the guy "thanks - but just please go!" and started panickedly trying to shoo her back into the ditch area.

The guy seemed to get that he was being more hindrance than help, and he got in his van and took off. Meanwhile I somehow lured the dog back with more potatoes - of which I was about out, so I grabbed a ziplock of 4 crackers laying on the dashboard - the last of any food in the car. The scenario by this point was me in the driver's seat, with the car about 4 feet off the white line, while the black lab was standing within arms' reach but still skiddish and poised to run.
Traffic (thankfully) seemed to see that s/thing sketchy with a loose dog was going on and thus mostly drove by over in the far lane, while I was sweating bullets hoping against hope that a) the lab wouldn't bolt right into traffic, or b) I wouldn't be part of one of those Cops (the show that my dad most <3's in the whole world) scenarios where someone just lane-drifts and inadvertantly takes out someone pulled over on the side of the freeway - taking out me AND the dog.

I sat there for - no exaggeration or hyperbole folks - the next 20 mins at a complete impasse with this dog. She was skiddish about being roped/grabbed, but otherwise she was the picture of the Buddha - she stood completely unfazed by the traffic zooming by (in some cases mere feet from) her ass. I got her to sit (she was clearly a fairly obedient and somewhat-training dog) - and she plopped her butt right there on the white line - looking at me for some more eats. Meanwhile I was out of potatoes and had resorted to breaking the 4 crackers into small but still-interesting pieces to try and keep her motivated to come closer or at the very least just not to back up INTO TRAFFIC.

In that 20 mins I'd had a number of unsuccessful attempts at slipping the lead's loop over her head, each time she ducked back/out and I only just barely managed to keep her from spooking backwards into traffic. I was freaking out that I would not only fail in getting her at all, but worse that I would directly cause her to bolt and get run over.

Somehow I pulled myself together - gave myself a little stern talking to with the voice of Cesar Milan (no kidding - because yes I am a total Dog Whispherer nutter;) in my head: "you have to be calm and assertive - if you're upset and anxious, you're just going to make the dog upset and anxious and then it's done - whether least-worse [you miss your chance] or worst-worse scenario [the dog gets run over]."

So with no crackers or potatoes left, only the empty box that the potatoes were in (in which there were a few bits of onions left), and looking like I was about to lose the last of the dog's wandering attention, I came up with a last ditch plan: I made about a 2-ft diameter loop with the flexi-lead and laid it on the ground, then put the potato box right in the middle of it. She cautiously stepped in towards the box and out her nose happily in and started to lick and slurp, while I held the lead carefully and firmly - knowing I'd have to be quick and decisive in my yanking so that the box didn't get in the way and that she didn't have a second to bolt out before I close the loop.

Somehow - magically, unbelievably - it worked. She jumped, backpedaled, and bolted, but the loop closed around her and I had her, actually had her around the belly as her front legs were in the loop when I yanked it closed. But I had her :D. Once she realized she was a caught dog - she suddenly ditched all the skiddishness - now she was a happy gregarious pup who was more than enthused to jump in the car.

So with her in the passenger seat and me in the drivers seat still holding tightly to the leash and making sure she wasn't going slip out of it and go out the passenger side door (which was opened from earlier trying to get her in that way), I managed to reach/crawl over the top of her and get the passenger closed.

And then we were good. :) I drove back to Mpls planning how I'd make some postings to try and find her family, while fostering her for a few days as needed, then speculating further what I'd do if we couldn't find her people. When I got home I made a couple posts to Craig's List in the Lost/Found and Pets sections, plus listed her on a bunch of websites like petfinder.com, as well as calling it into some shelters in the area.

I started calling her Kizzy and she was one of the most wonderful sweet dogs you could ever know - I felt bad for whoever was missing her. She hung out at my place that night, and my friend Kili offered to take her for the day saturday, as Kizzy (despite being the sweetest temperament dog ever) and Dax (who's a hater :) were having some major personality problems.

I got a number of responses inquiring about lost huskies and yorkies (I was all hyper-paranoid in my initial CL posts and just posted "found dog" without specifying what kind to minimize any frauds - which now I'm quite certain wasn't necessary ;) - I hope all those who inquired find their pooches :(.

Then yesterday evening I got a post from someone "Is it a black lab? My boyfriend works at Wings North (a sportsmen's club in Pine City, right off the freeway from near where I picked Kizzy up) and he said that some folks brought in a flyer this morning for a lost black lab..."

So I looked up the number for Wings North, talked to some guy who knew exactly what flyer I was talking about, and gave me the number listed on the flyer. I called the number and voila - I was in touch with Kizzy's - actually her real name is Salty - with Salty's family. The mom was out of her skull happy - apparently they came home Thurs night and the front gate was open and Salty was just gone. So they got my address and jumped in their truck and came over to pick her up.

It was so awesome - their 7 year old daughter came along and was just beside herself happy, the mom was crying, and the dad was just clearly so happy to have found her. And Salty was flipped out happy to see them as well.

So to whatever chances and people and powers-that-be out there who made this all work out so awesomely - thank you. Happy family and happy puppy and happy me. :)
Tin Lizzy
I'm not dead yet!

Roller derby season is finally *gasp* over. Well kind of. But not really. A couple trips away for travel bouts over the summer. And RollerCon. And MNLynx games we'll be promoting at. And parades and demo bouts at block parties. And board meetings. And sponsorship meetings. And planning for the fall for it to start all over again.

But I feel like I can breathe again :). And take stock of things in my non-derby life that had been mostly on hiatus for the better part of 9 months.

I called my 86-year old aunt in FL who've I've not talked to in far too long.

I have my nose back in books - burning through some Nancy Kresses presently - current favorite author of the moment, and diving back into Ray Kurzweil to foster my pining-for/refocusing-on the coming singularity. Actually I did pretty well keeping at least one thread of reading going at any giving point - but now hopefully I can return to multi-threaded reading, it's sad only reading one book at a time. And maybe I can meet up with Giggle Byte and discuss reading as I've been hoping to do for awhile.

I went out dancing with Lisa and Cher Noble down at First Ave Friday.

I stayed home Saturday night and drank wine with Mary who will soon no longer be my house mate.

I planted flowers on Saturday - with the kind and compassionate assistance of Kili St. Cyr and Apple Smacks.

I cleaned the house before Kili and Apple came over.

I helped Stripe Tease paint inside her new house on Sunday.

I hung out with Lisa's family for Memorial Day.

I caught up on all of this season's Battle Star Galactica, starting with season 4 episode 1.

I have hard-set plans for Thursday to finally meet up with my long lost awesome friends James and Stef whom I haven't seen since before the new year.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Tin Lizzy
29 January 2008 @ 09:46 pm
So it's the home stretch of the Beargrease! Out of the original field of 27 (28 counting honorary bib #1 which is always reserved for John Beargrease himself :) remain 12 teams. A number of the teams dropped out at the roughly halfway point for various reasons - chatting with a couple Beargrease volunteers indicated both a mix of "wasn't planning to finish", dogs dehydrated/over-run given the too-hot weather yesterday (yes - a context where 35 degrees is too warm!), and mushers just getting run-down and disheartened by running 6+ hours last night in the cold rain.

Now for a turnabout - tonight's weather is about -15 on the trail with 20mph winds - completely ridiculous. All the remaining mushers are out of the Finland checkpoint and enroute to Two Harbors, with the lead mushers slated to get into Two Harbors anytime now. They then have a final 6 hour required rest to take there before hitting the final 40 miles into the finish in Duluth. It's a tight race, with only 10-15 mins separating the lead 3 mushers, and 9/10/11th places similarly situated and close.

Lisa and I headed back to the Sawbill checkpoint today to see teams in various states - just coming in from Devil Track, resting, and just heading out for Finland.

This is Rita Wehseler's team resting at Sawbill.

Rita herself at that moment was off sleeping in a trailer while one of her handlers watched over the team's rest. Each team is provided bales of straw to bed the dogs down with at the checkpoints, while the musher/crew provides blankets, coats, in some cases leg wraps with the dog equiv of Icy Hot and food for the dogs before they bed down to sleep hard before the next leg. As you can see - these are some contented and happily-run dogs. At such checkpoints - the dogs stay on the gangline and are fastened down while they eat/sleep. The handlers/mushers then one by one take each one off separately to pee/poop just before heading out again.

Here's one of the teams undergoing a vet check by one of the Beargrease volunteer veterinarians.

Both the Beargrease races folks and the mushers are fastidious about making sure the dogs are in top shape in order to be able to continue the race - I watched for 10-15 mins as this vet worked one of the dogs' shoulders through all ranges of motion and extension, evaluating to make sure no injuries or touchy spots. In the event that there's any question about a dog's ability to continue, they're dropped from the roster. On the trail if a musher has to drop a dog(s) from the team, they tuck them into their sled bag to drop with the team handlers at the next checkpoint.

Another team resting at Sawbill - seriously, a rabbit could walk up and belly dance for these dogs and they'd be like "meh - sleep now." And yes - those piles of blanket you see, bundled of dogs beneath. Each team for the marathon starts with 12 dogs, and by this return trip to the Sawbill checkpoint, teams had from 9-11 dogs remaining:

Next shot is Blake Freking's team just heading out from Sawbill. His wife Jennifer also started the race with her own team (apparently they both raced separately before meeting up a few years ago) but had to bail the race shortly after the start due to an unfortunate sled-tip that resulted in her hand being broken! She's registered for the Iditarod too, and supposedly will be having the pin removed from her hand just prior to racing the Iditarod. Anyway - yeah here's Blake and his team, with handlers moving the team/sled from the rest area to the trail start:

Next is a shot of Ward Wallin's team having just gotten into Sawbill at 12:34pm after a 4 hour run from Devil's Track checkpoint. Ward stopped long enough to check in with the officials, change out his sled rails, check the dogs and feed them some frozen meat snax, then headed off within 10 mins for the Finland checkpoint another 33 miles/4 hours away. Tough stuff these mushers and dogs are made out of!

Here's a shot from Sunday night, the first day of the race, at the Hwy 2 checkpoint.

And here's Lisa at the Hwy 2 checkpoint - such a trooper for mucking about up here in the cold with me, but she's gotten the Beargrease fever completely independently of me has been checking/searching for updates even more obsessively than me. :)

So now we wait up tonight and watch the updates to see when the top 3 make it into Two Harbors. Isn't likely we will pack up and head out tomorrow from Grand Marais in time to catch the top finishers, but planning to head in time to catch the middle-to-last finishers.

Though given the redunkulous weather, we're just hoping we'll be taking off in the morning at all!