If you can imagine I’m out all day walking dogs in all weather so often when I get home if I don’t hurry up and get myself right back out to walk and exercise my own dogs there are some days it just doesn’t happen, especially in the winter. Once I’m indoors, the layers are off and I start the ‘thaw out’ it is SO hard to go back out into the elements! Don’t worry, my dogs are certainly not neglected in any sense! I will do indoor activities and training with them, however, this past winter I decided to try to embrace the fun of winter with my dogs.
I heard of this seven stage virtual race called Iron Paws and having recently tried some ‘mushing’ sports with my dogs I thought I’d try it. This stage race is virtual so you do it on your own or with a friend, if you have someone local, and log your miles online. There are also extra ways to earn some bonus points. You are put on a team based on your location. I was lucky enough to be relatively close to some other team members so we could meet up and get our “social” points. There are different classes you can enter: sled dog (self explanatory), skijor (dog pulls you on skis), bikejor(dog pulls you on a bike), competitive or recreational canicross (dog pulls you on foot walking, running or snowshoeing). I have always run canicross style with my dogs so decided to try the bikejor class to get me out more on my fat bike. Yes, that’s right my dog(s) were pulling me on my bike through the snow. And yes, you’re right, if you saw that crazy person in town being pulled on her bike by a dog or two….that was ME!!!
The point of my post is that I had an incredibly fun winter being involved in this event. It really encouraged me to get out in the winter when I would most likely just melt into the couch and binge something on Netflix. It helped keep my dogs’ fitness level up and possibly even improved it over the winter! I met new friends, tried new things and the seven weeks FLEW by! They even have a class for the ODRs (Old Dogs Rule) for older, injured or physically limited dogs. I had two entries in that class also and just had to log a minimum of one mile per week. There is a bye week so if you’re on vacation or sick or injured you get a week off. It’s very simple to enter online and even the canicross recreational class can be done by anyone with any size/breed of dog! You don’t need to have skiis or bikes or a dog sled or huskies. There was a lady in Quebec who did this with her 3 Chihuahuas! I WILL be doing this again next year and I hope you and your dogs will join me!