Monday, February 13, 2012

Ice Donkey 2012 - The Spirit of Youth (A Story of Perseverance)

Prelude: This is a report my beautiful wife wrote about a very unique race series that takes place in Winnipeg, MB Canada every year. It is called Ice Donkey, basically it is a series of winter outdoor endurance sports that are all put together in one race. This is also with a bit of a twist, a couple of friends of ours have two very determined daughters (one is 13 the other is 12), who also wanted to compete. Now imagine two young teens getting up at 5:00 am on a Sunday in the dark and the cold, preparing for a morning of endurance racing. Honestly, I did not partake in this race because I wasn't sure how I would do, and did not want to not finish and I really hate cold skates. So the team called 'The Young Pups' showed up and rocked the course, not finishing before the cutoff time sure, but they still were determined to finish, and they did, with the full support of the race organizers, volunteers as well as a good amount of the race participants.

This is a story that I think amplifies the true spirit of racing and competition, everybody is a winner whether you finish in a record time or just finish. Getting out there and doing it is half the battle, and these two incredible girls radiated that determination. I also commend Gail and Colin and also my wife Nicole for encouraging them along their path to the end. Just think could you put 16 miles of winter endurance sports (biking, snow-shoeing, running and ice skating) together with no training at the ages of 12 and 13 respectively. I can tell you I probably would not of. The Young Pups, 'Rock'.

Enjoy and Run Smiley:

My Ice Donkey Race Report

This is going to be a bit different today, because today was a bit different.

Wow what an incredible day! Today I took the opportunity to join some friends and run (and bike, snowshoe and skate) Ice Donkey! An awesome event put on by some great race director/ and officials, and how do I even begin to tell you about the volunteers? Maybe I should mention that we were the very last team out there, we did not make the finish time, in fact by the time we finished we were 45 minutes over what the posted time was; and they were still there!(SMILING!) There was some thought of closing the course, but they chose not to after seeing how much work and effort this team was making. They let them finish. The team was made up of two strong, young ladies (12 & 13 years of age!)Their team was called ‘Young Pups’; they were followed along by ones’ father, ones’ mother, and a friend.  When the event was finished by this team and they finally made their way into the area of the forks where the awards had been held, a crowd was there to greet these young ladies with applause for their finish. It brought tears to their mothers’ eyes! What an awesome day! (This is one of the things I love so much about running, the heart of other runners!)

In following this bunch I was amazed at what lessons I learned! Today I was a student being mentored in many things by both the parenting skills of my friends and undertaking of this event by their children. Here are a few that stand out to me:

1.       When you fall down, get back up!  Every time! (After a display of this skill I also had the chance to put it into practice! Yes, I practiced several times)

2.       Perseverance,…. Keep going, sometimes it is just one foot in front of the other, until you are done

3.       Endurance; the thesaurus says- staying power, survival, fortitude, continued existence (I saw every definition of these words on display today as I watched the parents and the girls provide an awesome example of this)

4.       Encouragement; I watched two parents encourage their children down a very difficult road (covered in ice, and snow) with grace and elegance, putting their own competitive spirits on hold to let their children feel out their abilities and find their own competitive spirit

5.       Patience as their children were discovering their abilities

6.       How to have fun with your children

7.       How to coach your kids, and then let them find their own way!

8.       Wind breaking. Did you know that the one, who rides their bike first in line, breaks the wind for those behind? Well I do now, great job parents! Apparently it also works for skating I found out later in the morning!

By the way, when it was all done, that was 16 miles these young ladies pulled out of their hats, and they only signed up last week!

Later I will get into the race itself, you know, the funny stuff… like the comment, ‘I don’t ever look at the map in the city race, there’s always someone to follow’ hahahaha. The grueling stuff…. Biking on snow and ice?! Oh, and the burrs! (You know those round prickly seed things that stick to you when you’re in the forest) The touching stuff….. Seeing the parents encouraging their children to an awesome finish.

I would like to send out a HUGE thank you to all who organized this race and all who volunteered. A great and amazing job you all did.

Have a great day; you never know what you’ll learn if you’re heart is open to it.


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