Rattles’ Final Walkabout

Rattles June 2018We are very sad to announce that Rattles is with us no more. He had stopped eating and seemed agitated. We brought him to the vet for a checkup and unfortunately it was a one way trip. The vet thought he was in pain, had dementia, and that his kidneys were failing.

Rattles was a special friend with bright blue eyes. We adopted him with his brother Simba from the Fairbanks North Star Borough Pound.

Rattles was a great wheel dog, but his sledding career ended after escaping his pen due to gun shot noise and getting caught in a trap for three days.

Rattles was petrified of gun shot noise, fireworks, and thunder, and would sometimes dig out from under his pen or jump over the pen– thinking he’d run away from the noise.

One of his last major walkabouts, due to fireworks, was in L’Amable.

Rattles was our stinkiest Stinker and a very good friend. We’ll miss you Rat-man.

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Ironman Duathlon 70.3 Muskoka 2018

Ironman 70.3 Duathlon Muskoka 2018On July 8th, 2018 I finished my first Ironman 70.3 Duathlon in Huntsville, Ontario.

I signed up at the last minute, around 3 weeks before the race started. I had been thinking of participating in this race for a while. During the winter months I got the pool schedule for the closest pool to us, which is an hour and thirty minutes away. But I couldn’t manage to motivate myself to drive three hours to swim– perhaps next year.

I hadn’t been training for such a race. I usually ride my mountain bike to Crossfit (1 hour each way) several days a week. I screwed up my left ankle running in April, so I didn’t start running again until June and I only ran a couple of miles a day, and a 10 miler once a week. Needless to say, I wasn’t in tip-top condition to embark on such a race. Additionally, I don’t even own a road bike!

Two weeks before the race I decided I should probably try a 50 mile bike ride. I went out on my mountain bike through the back trails up to the Fort Stewart hills (these are some steep hills on the road). At the 3 hour mark I felt the lactic acid build up in my legs. It took me 5 hours to ride 50 miles and my legs were like jelly!

Around a week before the race I rented a Specialized Alias Sport women’s tri bike from a shop in Peterborough. When I got home I realized I didn’t even know how to operate the gears! Greg helped me figure out how to shift the gears. After figuring out how to shift, I took the bike out on the road for a 44 mile ride in 94F/34C degree weather up the Fort Stewart hills. This bike was MUCH faster than my mountain bike and my legs didn’t feel like jelly. The hills were still challenging.

Five days before the race I headed out to Huntsville to ride the bike course. It was another hot day. I was feeling very nervous because I was expecting Fort Stewart type hills– but these hills weren’t that bad. It took me 3:48 to ride the bike course. Doing this ride drastically increased my confidence that I’d be able to finish the Duathlon in the 8:30 time limit. My estimated finish time was between 7:10 and 7:30. I thought I’d do the first run in 30 minutes, the bike in 3:45, and the run in 2:45.

Greg, my super hero, drove me out to Huntsville on Sat. July 7th. I checked in and dropped off my bike and was feeling very nervous. He drove home to take care of the dogs.

I didn’t sleep very well the night before the race and woke up every hour– so I finally got up at 4:00am. I made it to race headquarters by 5:45am, got body marked and dropped off my transition gear. I bike and run with a hydration pack– which is not common in these types of races.

The duathlon began at 7:20am and we were off for the first 5K (3 mile) run. I’m not a fast runner and like to gain momentum running down the hills, and I must have tweaked my ankle– the same one I hurt several months ago. I finished the run in 25:55.

I quickly put on my bike gear and was off for the 90K (56 mile) bike ride. Due to my practice ride, I had certain landmarks to look for to help me with the ride. My bike chain fell off once but was easy to put back on. I didn’t stop at the aid stations because I had my own water in a hydration pack, a bottle of gatoraid on the bike, and gummy bears easily accessible. Lots of people passed me. Lots of people were climbing the hills quite quickly.

On the way back, a 62 year old woman passed me and I was very impressed! I hope I’m in that kind of shape when I’m 62.

I finished the bike ride in 3:24:21 — which was faster than my practice ride, put on my running gear and was off. As soon as I stepped on my left ankle I knew it was going to be a slow run. My achilles tendon was hurting. I said to myself I can always walk if needed. It was a slow run indeed, but I managed to run and not walk. It was super hot during the run–  over 80F/26.6C. I had my hydration pack with me, but drank less and less as the run went on. I ran through most of the aid stations and grabbed some ice to chew and put on my neck. I didn’t eat much– just a couple of pretzels.  Another 58+ woman passed me and I was super impressed.

Toward the end of the run at around 18Kish I drank a watered down gatoraid from an aid station. When I got to Main street I saw Greg!!!!!!! I was so happy to see him. The last 1K was endless, but I finally made the 21K (31.1 miles)  in 2:23:08.

Right after the run I found shade and sat down, which could be one of the reasons why my right foot cramped up. I couldn’t walk on it for around 45 minutes! Greg found me and had brought me a smoothie– which was so delicious. My left foot is still painful and I probably won’t be able to do the 20 mile run I’m supposed to do this weekend.

I’m super happy with my time, considering I finished an hour earlier than estimated. Out of 22 women who ran the Duathlon, I came in 6th and I finished 1st in my age class.


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Capella Is Off to the Rainbow Bridge

Capella in Fairbanks

Capella in Fairbanks

On July 5th 2018 we said goodbye to our sweet little 12.5yo Capella pup. A little over a month ago we brought Capella to the vet for an old lady checkup. I noticed that she was slowing down quite a lot, hence the trip to the vet. During our evening StinkyPup parties, where we let everyone run around and play, Capella would come out of her kennel for a couple of minutes and then go back in and lay down. She was diagnosed with mammary cancer, given herbal chemo, Tramadol, and alternative meds.  Capella was okay for around a month. Her energy didn’t increase, but she ate with gusto and looked happy. Around two weeks before her death she began to be more lethargic, and several days before bringing her to the vet she had stopped eating. We weren’t 100% sure if the not eating was due to a massive heat wave we were having (94 degrees F for several days). We were bringing the little girlie inside so she could enjoy the air conditioning.

When I brought Capella to the vet on July 5th, the doc said Capella’s mammary cancer had spread significantly. The doc agreed with me that it was time, and said mammary cancer was usually quite painful and dogs tend to shut down when this happens.

There was one funny story about her death– Greg couldn’t be with us due to his job and being out of town– so he sent me sympathy flowers. He filled out an online form for the local flower shop and selected “a funeral occasion.” Apparently, since he selected “funeral occasion,” as an option on the form, the flower shop got a little confused. They called the one and only funeral parlor in town to see if “Ilana was there”– with “there” meaning “dead.” I wasn’t “there,” so they called Greg to let him know. Greg explained to them that no– his wife was not dead, the flowers were because our dog Capella died.

Capella was an awesome sled dog. Just like her human momma, Pella had frizzy unkempt hair and was a slow but steady runner with much endurance. Capella pulled her little heart out.

My favorite story about Capella was during the river crossing for the Copper Basin 300 in 2014.  As I was dragging each individual dog across the Gulkana River, Capella unharnessed herself and jumped onto a small iceberg in the river. She looked like a mini polar bear– it was adorable.

This year, at 12 years old, Capella retired from running. She ran a total of 24 miles this year. She would have been happy to keep running, but she looked like she was struggling so we pulled her off the team.

We will miss our spunky, frizzy-haired, little white girlie.


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Capella Has Cancer \ Myra Gets a Tooth Pulled



I brought sweet little Capella to the vet for an old lady check up.  At 12.5 years old, Capella is slowing down a bit. I wasn’t expecting to hear that she had mammary cancer and three lesions on her lungs. Sigh.

The vet gave her an injection of an herbal chemotherapy drug, to which she had an allergic reaction. She then received a steroid shot to combat the allergic reaction.

Right now she is doing fine. The vet gave me some alternative drugs (Turkey Tail and Dandelion Root; as well as Tramadol for pain) to give her, but apparently I need to wait a couple of weeks to see how she fares from the herbal chemo.

We’d like to bring Capella inside, because she’s such a sweet little girlie, but Spike and Myra would probably eat her.

Myra Mira


Myra had some dental work done yesterday. She had one tooth pulled. She also had a growth removed from one of her nipples.

Her gift to us for bringing her to the vet was to pee in the bed last night while she was sleeping next to me.

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