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Lead Dog Secrets, Journey of 1000 Miles With Tanya McCready
Episode 4811th October 2023 • Shining Brightly • Howard Brown
00:00:00 00:26:44

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ARE YOU THE LEADER OF THE PACK? Teamwork, timing, conditioning, chemistry, conditions and skill get you across the finish line. I am talking about business and life but in Episode 48 of the Shining Brightly Podcast Show (links in the comments), my special guest Tanya McCready takes us behind the scenes in breeding Siberian Huskies that become a pack to lead a sled across the Alaskan tundra in the Iditarod Dog Sled Race. Winter-dance is based in Ontario, Canada and the home and business of breeding, training, touring dogs, family and maple syrup. Tanya is the pit crew chief, author and TEDx speaker, Hank is the trainer and drives the sled and all the McCready kids pitched-in along the way. Come learn what it takes to be like Maverick, a lead dog on a sled and a lead dog in business. Please check out this fun and interesting show. Please listen, download, share and review.

Mentioned Resources

Speaker Website - https://tanyamccready.com

Dogsled + company website - https://www.winterdance.com/

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/tanya-mccready-winterdance/

Facebook – https://facebook.com/tanya.mccready.3

Amazon - https://tinyurl.com/tanya-books

Iditarod Dreaming

Journey of 1000 Miles

About the guest –  Tanya McCready along with her husband Hank DeBruin, fell in love with a husky puppy in a pet store almost 30 years ago. Adopting that puppy ended up changing the entire trajectory of their lives. After reading books and watching movies to better understand this pup, they decided to try dogsledding. A passion was found and their husky family quickly grew to 7. In 1999 Tanya quit her job as an Environmental Engineer, gave up her plans to go to law school. Hank quit his job as a millwright, they rented out their house and moved to the wilderness of Haliburton, Ontario, to chase a dream of starting a business, a lifestyle and a family around their beloved dogs. Winter-dance was born. Winter-dance now welcomes over 2000 guests from around the globe every winter to experience travelling through the Winter-dance with their beloved huskies. Hank and their huskies have had many adventures from Maine to Alaska including competing in six 1000-mile races in Alaska and the Yukon. The lessons and stories that have come from these races have created 2 best-selling books. The latest Journey of 1000 Miles has become an international best seller. Tanya, Hank and their huskies have been featured in some of the biggest media outlets in the world including CNN and New York Times to name a few. Their huskies have been featuredin dozens of TV shows, movies, commercials and music videos. Tanya and Hank also have a 2500 tree maple syrup farm on their 2,000-acre property. They share their lives with their 4 children, 150 huskies and 3 cats.

About the Host:

Howard Brown is a best-selling author, award-winning international speaker, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, interfaith peacemaker, and a two-time stage IV cancer survivor. He is also a sought-after speaker and consultant for corporate businesses, nonprofits, congregations, and community groups. Howard has co-founded two social networks that were the first to connect religious communities around the world. He is a nationally known patient advocate and “cancer whisperer” to many families. Howard, his wife Lisa, and daughter Emily currently reside in Michigan, and his happy place is on the basketball court.

Website

Http://www.shiningbrightly.com

Social Media

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/howard.brown.36

LinkedIn - https://wwwlinkedin.com/in/howardsbrown

Instagram - @howard.brown.36

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#dogsledding #ididarod #dogs #Alaska #Canada #family #siberianhuskies #books #author #bestseller #tedx #speaker #entreprenuers #business #growth #winterdance #motivation #education #inspiration #podcast #download #share #shiningbrightly #charity #giveback #playgrounds

Transcripts

Howard Brown:

Hello, it's Howard Brown. This is the Shining

Howard Brown:

Brightly Show. I have such an interesting guest. Oh my god,

Howard Brown:

this is incredible. I have Tanya McCready with us today. Tanya,

Howard Brown:

how are you?

Tanya McCready:

I'm doing wonderful, Howard. Thank you for

Tanya McCready:

having me.

Howard Brown:

I'm excited because you're going to teach me

Howard Brown:

a little bit about life, business, family and sport.

Howard Brown:

Tanya, I have to tell you, I don't know a lot about. I did a

Howard Brown:

rod racing. But I'm going to learn today the audience is

Howard Brown:

going to learn today. But I did as a little kid, watch the Wide

Howard Brown:

World of Sports here in the US and learn a little bit and I

Howard Brown:

can't even imagine being you know, the musher or on the pit

Howard Brown:

crew, as you say. So you're going to tell us that but before

Howard Brown:

that, would you please You know, just introduce yourself. Give us

Howard Brown:

your short bio. Let everyone get to know you.

Tanya McCready:

Absolutely. Well, it was 24 years ago, my

Tanya McCready:

husband Hank De Bruyne and I quit our jobs, moved out to the

Tanya McCready:

wilderness to turn our love for our Huskies into a lifestyle of

Tanya McCready:

business and a dream. So you know, we could have never

Tanya McCready:

guessed we're winter dance dog sled tours 24 years ago would

Tanya McCready:

take us but now we welcome two to 3000 guests. Every winter

Tanya McCready:

from around the world. We have four children, my husband and

Tanya McCready:

our dogs have run 6000 mile races. And now we get to share

Tanya McCready:

our messages through our books and also speaking on stages

Tanya McCready:

around teamwork, leadership, challenges and just touched so

Tanya McCready:

many lives through our dogs. So it's it's been a magical

Tanya McCready:

journey.

Howard Brown:

That's incredible. I and also you're an engineer by

Howard Brown:

trade. We'll talk about that. Yeah, yeah. But tell us

Howard Brown:

something that you know, something we may not know about

Howard Brown:

you. Share what share us share?

Tanya McCready:

We may not know Oh, gosh. Like Guess I'll go

Tanya McCready:

back to early days. So let's see. So we grew up as farmers

Tanya McCready:

both my husband and I and I actually was a dairy Princess

Tanya McCready:

way back in the days. So you know, pro drinking milk and, and

Tanya McCready:

dairy farming. So that's something a lot of people don't

Tanya McCready:

know,

Howard Brown:

good skills to know, you know, as you as you

Howard Brown:

navigate life and all that. Alright, take us back to

Howard Brown:

engineering and how did you get involved with dogsledding?

Tanya McCready:

Yeah, it doesn't seem like a direct connection,

Tanya McCready:

for sure. But always grew up loving environment, wildlife

Tanya McCready:

nature. So my teenage brain thought, well, since I'm good at

Tanya McCready:

math and science, why don't I do an engineering degree and then

Tanya McCready:

ultimately, I'll go on to law and be an environmental lawyer.

Tanya McCready:

That was the plan. But the plan kind of derailed after I got the

Tanya McCready:

PNG because I decided that maybe working in corporate wasn't

Tanya McCready:

really what I wanted to do. And being behind a desk wasn't where

Tanya McCready:

I was gonna be happy. So we got a husky shortly after we got

Tanya McCready:

married, and gosh, fallen in love with her and got three more

Tanya McCready:

and try dogsledding fell in love with dog sledding. So at one

Tanya McCready:

point, it's like, you know, we're not thrilled living in the

Tanya McCready:

city, and each of us going in different directions. And one

Tanya McCready:

night on the phone, a friend said, Why don't you turn your

Tanya McCready:

love for your dogs into a business? There was a lot in

Tanya McCready:

between, but that was that was the seed. And it's like, gosh,

Tanya McCready:

like, that would be amazing. And so now

Howard Brown:

you moved out of the city.

Tanya McCready:

Six years later, here we are, we've gotten better

Tanya McCready:

jobs, quit our jobs rented our house, and it was September 1

Tanya McCready:

1999, we moved to the wilderness 50 acres of wilderness and

Tanya McCready:

nothing was here other than a driveway when we got here, and

Tanya McCready:

had our first child a month after that, and winter dance,

Tanya McCready:

and this crazy lifestyle was born. So it's a it's had a lot

Tanya McCready:

of challenges. I won't lie. You know, people often say you're

Tanya McCready:

living our dream and, and I'm like, what you're seeing the

Tanya McCready:

glossy sections, you know, you're not seeing all the

Tanya McCready:

challenges. So there was a lot that wouldn't change it for

Tanya McCready:

anything in the world.

Howard Brown:

Right. So all right, let's what we're gonna

Howard Brown:

get back to family and business, but we got to get into the race.

Howard Brown:

All right. So this is a competitive sport. All right.

Howard Brown:

And there's a lot that goes into us. So take us in how you prep a

Howard Brown:

team, how many? How many? How many dogs are on a team?

Tanya McCready:

So yes, absolutely. It's a huge

Tanya McCready:

undertaking. 16 dogs on it if you're on team when we ran, they

Tanya McCready:

reduced it a bit now. But that was part of the dream when we

Tanya McCready:

moved, you know, started our business to was for Hank and our

Tanya McCready:

dogs to compete in the Iditarod. We figured it take three years

Tanya McCready:

to get there took 10 What 2010 We finally were at the starting

Tanya McCready:

line in Anchorage. Two years it took just for Hank and the dogs

Tanya McCready:

to run the qualifying racist will work up to where you could

Tanya McCready:

even be allowed to enter the Iditarod. The team will train on

Tanya McCready:

average 2000 miles before they even leave for Alaska that fall

Tanya McCready:

and winter. And I mean we try to prepare them for anything they

Tanya McCready:

could face in Alaska as best as we can, you know, not being in

Tanya McCready:

Alaska. And then there's the other side of it all the

Tanya McCready:

logistics because everything they're going to need for those

Tanya McCready:

two weeks has to be shipped out onto the trail for us even

Tanya McCready:

before the team left Ontario. So you know all the like, Well what

Tanya McCready:

if what if, what if what if you know, because everything has to

Tanya McCready:

be there that the team could possibly need? So yeah, huge

Tanya McCready:

amount of training time commitment, money, commitment,

Tanya McCready:

legit stucco commitment and then you're at the starting line and

Tanya McCready:

anchorage hoping that you've done everything right to get to

Tanya McCready:

the finish.

Howard Brown:

And it's part survival. I mean, you're in

Howard Brown:

there and you never know what the outdoors in the environment

Howard Brown:

is going to send you as well. And so the training is just

Howard Brown:

intense right and now divided the roles Hank was doing the

Howard Brown:

actual mushing, is there one person or two, mushing?

Tanya McCready:

Yeah, it's only one person machine one. So and

Tanya McCready:

you know, you can't switch them out. So we're Felipe's, the

Tanya McCready:

starting line is the one who's with the team for the whole

Tanya McCready:

race. So yeah, I mean, he does he does the machine the dog work

Tanya McCready:

and, you know, the rest of us do everything else that we possibly

Tanya McCready:

can, so that all he has to focus on is the dogs.

Howard Brown:

And your and you told me, you're the head of the

Howard Brown:

pit crew. So that means you're managing everything else.

Tanya McCready:

Well, thankfully, I have a lot of

Tanya McCready:

help. But yeah, there's a lot that that goes on behind the

Tanya McCready:

scenes. I mean, as Hank always says, like, there's no way you

Tanya McCready:

could do it on your own. Because you're just there's so much time

Tanya McCready:

draining that there's no time to do all the other stuff that has

Tanya McCready:

to be done for the team to be successful. So it's it's

Tanya McCready:

definitely a team sport in every way from dogs to people.

Howard Brown:

Right. And so what are some of like the lessons

Howard Brown:

that you've learned about mushing? And then you turn it

Howard Brown:

into a business? And then I just there's the lead dog gets? Is

Howard Brown:

there? Is there a special there's you don't not everyone

Howard Brown:

gets to be the lead dog of the pack? Right? What are some of

Howard Brown:

the qualities you look for in a lead dog? And then take me into

Howard Brown:

the business?

Tanya McCready:

Yeah, I mean, a lead dog is a special creature

Tanya McCready:

for sure. And it's not so much less picking them, it's, it's

Tanya McCready:

them picking themselves. You know, when I speak to

Tanya McCready:

corporations often say our leaders born or they made and I

Tanya McCready:

always get various answers, but in our experience, it's both.

Tanya McCready:

You know, some of our lead dogs, we've picked them out as

Tanya McCready:

puppies, because they're the first to do everything. They're

Tanya McCready:

almost fearless. But other leaders don't become leaders

Tanya McCready:

till they're 567 years of age. So we give the the dogs the

Tanya McCready:

opportunity every year in training to be a leader if they

Tanya McCready:

want to be and they tell us really quickly whether they have

Tanya McCready:

that desire not. Once they do, then we team them up with our

Tanya McCready:

experience lead dogs, and they teach them even more, almost

Tanya McCready:

like a mentorship programme. But traits of a lead dog, my gosh,

Tanya McCready:

passion, heart intelligence, dedication, they just quit is

Tanya McCready:

not in their vocabulary, curiosity to see what's around

Tanya McCready:

the next corner. And to be in charge of that team. I mean,

Tanya McCready:

because you can have a dog that has all those other traits. But

Tanya McCready:

if they don't want to be the first one in that team, they'll

Tanya McCready:

sit down, and your team will go nowhere. So it's so important

Tanya McCready:

and every leader has different strengths are some of our lead

Tanya McCready:

dogs that are brilliant, and storms and wind and crowds and

Tanya McCready:

mount like there's always scenarios where just like people

Tanya McCready:

leaders, we all have our different strengths. So

Howard Brown:

change them up during the race, or no or you do

Howard Brown:

it depends on the circumstance. Okay,

Tanya McCready:

depending on the circumstances, depending on the

Tanya McCready:

dog, we've had some leaders like Lilly is the first one that

Tanya McCready:

comes to mind that she could lead in pretty much anything.

Tanya McCready:

And she would be upset if she was put further back in the

Tanya McCready:

team. Now there's other dogs like Mavericks belly, Charlie,

Tanya McCready:

some of our other leaders Strider that have different

Tanya McCready:

strengths, and they're completely fine with being lead

Tanya McCready:

or you know, moving back and letting someone else leave for a

Tanya McCready:

time. So it's just like people so many personalities. And the

Tanya McCready:

better you understand every single one of those dogs on your

Tanya McCready:

team, the better team you have. It's the

Howard Brown:

difference between winning and even finishing,

Howard Brown:

right? I mean, it's

Tanya McCready:

the difference between finishing and not

Tanya McCready:

absolutely.

Howard Brown:

Yeah, finishing right I mean, just just

Howard Brown:

finishing is an accomplishment of course. How long is the race

Howard Brown:

is a two weeks is

Tanya McCready:

miles and winter. Generally we'll do it

Tanya McCready:

nine days ish. The last leg team usually is around 14 days.

Howard Brown:

Okay, so now take take me in how does this become

Howard Brown:

a business?

Tanya McCready:

Yeah, the business actually came first. So

Tanya McCready:

we started dog sled for business. And the goal was that

Tanya McCready:

the business would help fund the race team which it which it

Tanya McCready:

eventually did. So we teach people how to dog sled I mean,

Tanya McCready:

people come literally from all over the world. And we give them

Tanya McCready:

an instruction you know, we teach them how to drive a sled,

Tanya McCready:

how to interact with their dogs, and then we take them out, we're

Tanya McCready:

very blessed to have 2000 acres of wilderness. We take them out

Tanya McCready:

dog sledding in the winter, so a guy goes with them on their own

Tanya McCready:

sled, but we try to make it as close to the real deal of dog

Tanya McCready:

sledding as we possibly can. And to get to share that with

Tanya McCready:

people. It's not just what people come away with in the

Tanya McCready:

stories they send us in the lives we get to touch from, you

Tanya McCready:

know, people with terminal illnesses to you know,

Tanya McCready:

blindness. There's so many disabilities and challenges that

Tanya McCready:

we've welcomed guests over the years and you know, we love all

Tanya McCready:

of our guests but of course those stories just even deeper

Tanya McCready:

when when you know the the deeper meaning behind their

Tanya McCready:

visits. So that's that's how it started.

Howard Brown:

Did the pandemic slow things down a lot? Or not

Howard Brown:

so much. That's One way to really hurt me people weren't

Howard Brown:

trying to arrive in Canada get into Canada. I mean, I was 15

Howard Brown:

minutes from Canada and I couldn't get in. So that really

Howard Brown:

hurt.

Tanya McCready:

Yeah, it. It hurt for sure. I mean, there was

Tanya McCready:

one winter, we pretty much I think we lost three quarters

Tanya McCready:

that winter just because of lock downs. But there's always silver

Tanya McCready:

linings, right, you know, better than anyone, Howard. So our

Tanya McCready:

silver lining one. And that was how are we going to care for

Tanya McCready:

these dogs for the next year. And we had done a little bit of

Tanya McCready:

speaking, but just when requested before that. So we're

Tanya McCready:

like well speaking is one option. And we wrote our second

Tanya McCready:

book. So during the 1000 Miles got wrote that year, and we

Tanya McCready:

started leaning heavier into speaking and now it's become,

Tanya McCready:

you know, a huge part of our business, which without COVID it

Tanya McCready:

probably never would have and, you know, it just is such a joy

Tanya McCready:

to get to share our dogs with more people than we ever could

Tanya McCready:

just by welcoming people on site. Yeah.

Howard Brown:

And then additional income source as

Howard Brown:

well. So how did you find time for for children? You created a

Howard Brown:

family and tell me a little bit about your family and that

Howard Brown:

journey as well as juggling that?

Tanya McCready:

Yeah, I mean, I don't think you ever find time

Tanya McCready:

for a family. It's you decide you want to have a family and

Tanya McCready:

you know, you have a family. So our first child was born. As I

Tanya McCready:

mentioned, Logan, a month after we moved here, we had no house

Tanya McCready:

at the time we were building so we lived in this dilapidated

Tanya McCready:

motorhome. And that's what we brought him home to the first

Tanya McCready:

winter because our house still wasn't done, we decided to move

Tanya McCready:

into the camera because the kennel was done. So that's where

Tanya McCready:

we spent our first year in his first year who was living with

Tanya McCready:

the dogs. So it was not perfect. You know, I would have never

Tanya McCready:

planned that. But life happens and you just work with it. So

Tanya McCready:

that was our first one. And then Dustin came along. And then

Tanya McCready:

Mikayla and Jessica, and yeah, it's, I get asked a lot. How did

Tanya McCready:

you build a business and a family? And I wouldn't say I did

Tanya McCready:

anything perfectly. But you just kind of give your attention

Tanya McCready:

where it's needed at the time. And the joy of our business was

Tanya McCready:

that being that we were our home based business. Kids were with

Tanya McCready:

us all the time. So yes, Mom and Dad were often busy, but they

Tanya McCready:

were busy with us. So it you know, we always joke that they

Tanya McCready:

would grow up and be bankers and lawyers in downtown Toronto

Tanya McCready:

because we live such an unconventional lifestyle. But it

Tanya McCready:

doesn't seem at the moment that's happening, our oldest son

Tanya McCready:

as a pilot, our second oldest one has his own diving business

Tanya McCready:

underwater diving business. So far, anyway, they've taken very

Tanya McCready:

unique paths as well just, I guess, out of what they saw with

Tanya McCready:

us do but yeah, like there's a way to make anything work if

Tanya McCready:

you're committed and dedicated enough and I can't imagine not

Tanya McCready:

having either the children or the business,

Howard Brown:

but they grew up with the dogs, they grew up and

Howard Brown:

they helped.

Tanya McCready:

Absolutely, they grew up they helped with the

Tanya McCready:

dogs you know, they got to travel to Alaska with Hank and I

Tanya McCready:

when he ran the deterra they've been to Nome to watch their

Tanya McCready:

father cross the finish line you know they've smoked they flown

Tanya McCready:

on Bush planes through Alaska boys have been to the Hudson

Tanya McCready:

Churchill on the slow train to molasses that that goes through

Tanya McCready:

Manitoba I mean, they've had some very unique trips that have

Tanya McCready:

not had the trips that a lot of kids have had as far as

Tanya McCready:

Caribbean and Mexico and stuff but they've had some pretty

Tanya McCready:

unique travel load of it. And obviously like sons around you

Tanya McCready:

know, work and work ethic and setting goals and dreams and and

Tanya McCready:

even failure.

Howard Brown:

So, what are some of the some advice or lessons

Howard Brown:

from you know, the balance which is sort of was immersed the

Howard Brown:

business in the family what are some some takeaways from there?

Tanya McCready:

The one takeaway is I gave up on the word balance

Tanya McCready:

a very long time ago because I found there was no easy way to

Tanya McCready:

separate and, and boundary off anything. Because you know, my

Tanya McCready:

office is in the house, the dog is and all our kennels 100 feet

Tanya McCready:

away. Our staff are in and out of the house and the kennels so

Tanya McCready:

we just stopped trying and when we stopped trying life got a

Tanya McCready:

heck of a lot simpler when we stopped saying there has to be

Tanya McCready:

boundaries. You know, our staff who usually you know, being

Tanya McCready:

adventure guides are in their 20s became like Big Brothers and

Tanya McCready:

Big Sisters to our kids, you know, as they grew up, and now

Tanya McCready:

we're at a position where the kids are, you know, the same age

Tanya McCready:

as the guys and they're great friends. So yeah, for us, I

Tanya McCready:

can't say that works for everyone. But for us when we

Tanya McCready:

just let go of the boundaries and just went you know, for

Tanya McCready:

loving what we do, whether there were with the family with our

Tanya McCready:

customers. Everybody's having a great time. If you love what you

Tanya McCready:

do, and why do you have to have boundaries between everything?

Howard Brown:

Yeah, so take me out on the course. And give me

Howard Brown:

some memorable moments from the race time. Good, good,

Howard Brown:

challenging,

Tanya McCready:

good and challenging. The challenging

Tanya McCready:

ones are always what we end up talking about because they're

Tanya McCready:

the biggest lessons right but but the good ones I'll start

Tanya McCready:

with them is you meet so many incredible people Howard I don't

Tanya McCready:

know if you've been to Alaska you but

Howard Brown:

I have been to Alaska, but never do a race.

Howard Brown:

Yeah.

Tanya McCready:

I mean, once you get out well not not even once

Tanya McCready:

you get off the main road Alaskan Yukon just haven't heard

Tanya McCready:

Trouble people period. But when you get off the main highways in

Tanya McCready:

the back country, I mean, you get to meet people that don't

Tanya McCready:

see a lot of people. And, you know, as Hank will say, some of

Tanya McCready:

our best friends in the world are on those trails, even though

Tanya McCready:

we've only met them a handful of times. Because when you live a

Tanya McCready:

lifestyle that very few people live, it just creates bonds so

Tanya McCready:

quickly. So, you know, just the friendships that are born on

Tanya McCready:

that trail, are worth worth all of the effort just to get there

Tanya McCready:

in and of itself. So that certainly some of the beautiful

Tanya McCready:

moments, of course, the landscape, I mean, who can't

Tanya McCready:

think of Alaska and the Yukon without incredible landscapes

Tanya McCready:

and to get to travel through that for two weeks, even though

Tanya McCready:

it's winter and cold. But Northern Lights, you know, Hank

Tanya McCready:

has stories. And they're one night in particular, the

Tanya McCready:

Northern Lights were stunning. We were just at the border of

Tanya McCready:

Yukon and Alaska. And he was probably 50 miles away from

Tanya McCready:

where my brother and I were waiting for him. And I remember

Tanya McCready:

looking up in the northern lights, and like, oh, my gosh,

Tanya McCready:

you know, we're 50 miles apart, but I know he's seen the same

Tanya McCready:

Northern Lights I am. And he tells the story of watching them

Tanya McCready:

and thinking, you know, tanyon water season, he said, the dogs

Tanya McCready:

actually were running, watching the Northern Lights, too. So, so

Tanya McCready:

many special memories, bonding times with our dogs. Spiritual

Tanya McCready:

moments, you know, come on that trail, when you're out on your

Tanya McCready:

own for so long in the elements. Hank doesn't talk a lot about

Tanya McCready:

them. But there are moments that are very, very precious that I

Tanya McCready:

don't know, that you'd ever experienced. And

Howard Brown:

I mean, your stop and for the stopping if you

Howard Brown:

stopping to rest the dogs and to eat and to, you know, give them

Howard Brown:

I mean, you have to plan this course out. That's up to you as

Howard Brown:

the musher right,

Tanya McCready:

to some extent you plan, and then life happens,

Tanya McCready:

right. So that's what we always go into. Exactly. So. But yeah,

Tanya McCready:

on average, the dogs rest the same number of hours that they

Tanya McCready:

run on the trail. So even though the dogs are getting lots of

Tanya McCready:

rest, Hank has to care for them, of course, pack his sled cook

Tanya McCready:

their next meal. So his first race, I think he figured he got

Tanya McCready:

between one and two hours of sleep a day. So by the end of

Tanya McCready:

it, I mean, monsters are like zombies, right? It's just like,

Tanya McCready:

What day is it? I mean, it's just, it's so much now as he did

Tanya McCready:

more races, he got better, he probably got up to three to four

Tanya McCready:

hours of sleep a day, just by getting more dialled into his

Tanya McCready:

routines and had to do things more efficiently. But it's a

Tanya McCready:

learning curve for sure. It's an incredibly good challenges.

Tanya McCready:

biggest challenges are mine, right? I mean, a lot of people

Tanya McCready:

assume it's young dogs that run these races. And yes, there'll

Tanya McCready:

be some younger dogs in there. But those aren't your prime

Tanya McCready:

dogs, your prime dogs are the five to nine year old dogs.

Tanya McCready:

Because it's a mental gamble for your musher and the dogs. It's

Tanya McCready:

it's, I mean, obviously, it's endurance, but it's way more a

Tanya McCready:

mental game. And the dog is knowing they're going a long way

Tanya McCready:

and knowing how to you know, kind of just, we're going to be

Tanya McCready:

doing this for days, guys, like we're not going to put

Tanya McCready:

everything in the first day. That's something that only comes

Tanya McCready:

with age and experience. And also knowing how to lead and get

Tanya McCready:

through those tough times. Because they'll run through

Tanya McCready:

storms, you know, where they literally can't see anything.

Tanya McCready:

You know, they've had a river break up under them one year,

Tanya McCready:

they've gone across the Sea crossing where they couldn't see

Tanya McCready:

a thing. I mean, all those kinds of challenges without confidence

Tanya McCready:

in your leaders in your team. And equally them having

Tanya McCready:

confidence in Hank, they've never go anywhere. The one year

Tanya McCready:

they left Shaktoolik, which is right on the Bering Sea and the

Tanya McCready:

Iditarod to cross that section sea ice. And it was a bad storm

Tanya McCready:

going in. And it was the scariest section of trail for

Tanya McCready:

Hank to run. And as he said, they left the land behind in the

Tanya McCready:

wind hit them full. He couldn't even see the dogs. It was so

Tanya McCready:

bad. And he said I got so fearful that his lead dog was

Tanya McCready:

Maverick at the time and Mavericks the only dog we've

Tanya McCready:

ever had that can turn a team 180 degrees. He literally turned

Tanya McCready:

the team 180 degrees and he took them back into the checkpoint,

Tanya McCready:

because as the lead dog, he's like if you have that much fear

Tanya McCready:

because of course dogs read our energy just like that. I'm not

Tanya McCready:

going any further. And there, they sat for hours until Hank

Tanya McCready:

got his mindset, right, got his confidence enough that they

Tanya McCready:

could do it. And the team had it out. And that time they did

Tanya McCready:

manage to get across that stretch of ice. But, you know,

Tanya McCready:

it's all the lessons that you hear about with people. But we

Tanya McCready:

learned it through our dogs, you know, trust. Trust is so huge,

Tanya McCready:

because without trust, there is no team and literally if you

Tanya McCready:

don't have trust in a dog team, they sit down and they quit.

Tanya McCready:

They're not going anywhere. So yeah, so many I could go on for

Tanya McCready:

two hours. I know we don't have two hours, Howard but so many

Tanya McCready:

stories on challenges and the lessons they've taught us it's

Tanya McCready:

beautiful

Howard Brown:

because it's all about perseverance and but

Howard Brown:

there's so much that went into this the training the team and

Howard Brown:

the learning. I mean, again, it took them it took you 10 years

Howard Brown:

to finally actually get to the idea To ride Yeah, to earn your

Howard Brown:

way on. And I imagine that there's separation between the

Howard Brown:

different mushers and you know, you're, you're alone out there

Howard Brown:

basically trying to trying to actually go at the fastest pace,

Howard Brown:

but to say a safe pace to because a lot of issues, dogs

Howard Brown:

can get hurt, right? I mean, you got what you said is 12 or 16

Howard Brown:

dogs on the team

Tanya McCready:

16 dogs on the team dogs on one of those two

Tanya McCready:

years. Yeah.

Howard Brown:

And they got to eat because they need that

Howard Brown:

energy to go and they're pulling through as well. So this led to

Howard Brown:

two books. And so tell me about the first book, give me the

Howard Brown:

highlight reel on a guitar rod dreamer.

Tanya McCready:

First Book was our journey to our first 1000

Tanya McCready:

mile race. So it has a little bit of our, you know, our origin

Tanya McCready:

story of starting winter dance and, and takes us through the

Tanya McCready:

couple of years of of all the races, we had to run to get to

Tanya McCready:

the Iditarod. And then, you know, the joy and the excitement

Tanya McCready:

of actually being at the start of the Iditarod and what Hank

Tanya McCready:

and the team experienced along that trail. Now, unfortunately,

Tanya McCready:

we didn't get to finish our first two Diderot. So that book,

Tanya McCready:

you know, ends with the very tough non finishing of that

Tanya McCready:

race. And with that, and then journey with 1000 Miles picks up

Tanya McCready:

where that one leaves off, you know, with with that huge

Tanya McCready:

disappointment, that a huge failure, and goes through our

Tanya McCready:

next 1000 mile race, which was how we got through that

Tanya McCready:

devastation was we set a new goal. And that was, you know,

Tanya McCready:

the biggest lesson we learned out of that was, whenever life

Tanya McCready:

throws you, lemons, my gosh, who am I talking to, I don't even

Tanya McCready:

tell you this hour, I got to set a new goal and find a way to

Tanya McCready:

keep going and get excited about life again, because that's what

Tanya McCready:

makes life magical again. So during the 1000 Miles was our

Tanya McCready:

second 1000 mile race, which Hank did finish. And just so

Tanya McCready:

many stories of him and the dogs and you know, unique characters

Tanya McCready:

that we get to meet along the trail and, and the challenges

Tanya McCready:

that they went through and how they dealt with them. So yeah,

Tanya McCready:

those are the two

Howard Brown:

works. Yeah, you retooled and regain planned and

Howard Brown:

you put forth you know, this meant, as you said, mental

Howard Brown:

toughness, physical fitness, you needed the finances to move

Howard Brown:

forward. And then you also had the faith to incorporate the

Howard Brown:

family into doing it. It's actually an incredible story.

Howard Brown:

And I love the two books, I love the speaking. And all the dogs,

Howard Brown:

you name them, like family. I mean, you've got a big family.

Howard Brown:

We do.

Tanya McCready:

Yes, it's a it's a big deal. And there's a little

Tanya McCready:

litter of pups. And you know, it usually takes us a bit to name

Tanya McCready:

them because everyone has to agree. And we usually go with

Tanya McCready:

themes. So every litter is a theme. And yeah, so it's it's a

Tanya McCready:

process, but everybody has names. Absolutely.

Howard Brown:

So I mean, you're a breeder as well. So it's, it's

Howard Brown:

incredible. Well, I, I want to tell you this is when I when I

Howard Brown:

first got introduced you, I didn't know much about you know,

Howard Brown:

dog sled racing, and about your company and, uh, you and it's

Howard Brown:

just fantastic. Because you actually do, what I do is that

Howard Brown:

you actually go and you shed light on the world. And you do

Howard Brown:

it by raising your dogs, raising your family, finishing the race,

Howard Brown:

okay, and being able to, you know, meet the people along the

Howard Brown:

way. It's just beautiful. And that's what sharing and shining

Howard Brown:

your light is all about. So let's do that together. We're

Howard Brown:

going to enter our shining brightly spotlight, we're going

Howard Brown:

to put on our sunglasses for a second. And what I'd like you to

Howard Brown:

do is tell people how to the best way to get a hold of you.

Howard Brown:

And then give me some final comments. And then you'll kick

Howard Brown:

it back to me to to end the show.

Tanya McCready:

Absolutely. So winter dance.com is the best way

Tanya McCready:

for people to reach us by email, social everything there. Or

Tanya McCready:

Tanya mccrady.com That's more on our speaking and presentation,

Tanya McCready:

some courses. A couple things to leave people with. I think the

Tanya McCready:

biggest one is if you have a dream, and you want to chase it

Tanya McCready:

and start chasing it. Nothing was ever perfect for Hank and I

Tanya McCready:

when we built winter dance, but you don't have to see the finish

Tanya McCready:

line when you start you just have to see the next step.

Tanya McCready:

Because if you wait till you see the finish line, you're never

Tanya McCready:

going to start and when you're on your way to that finish line,

Tanya McCready:

just take it one step after the other that's when life gets

Tanya McCready:

absolutely magical.

Howard Brown:

I love it. I will include in the show notes and in

Howard Brown:

the comments on all social media, the website and how to

Howard Brown:

get in touch with you and the books and also how to come visit

Howard Brown:

you and come up as well not just for training but maybe for you

Howard Brown:

want to come up and meet the pups and learn about it as well

Howard Brown:

get away so I it's just a beautiful story and thank you

Howard Brown:

for sharing keep inspiring. I next time I want to have you

Howard Brown:

back I want Hank I know he's training so but we'll get him on

Howard Brown:

here because I want to hear from from your lead dog as well hear

Howard Brown:

from him as well. So you can always reach me at shining

Howard Brown:

brightly.com You can learn more about my my speaking and the

Howard Brown:

book of course and To pot this podcast and my advocacy work in

Howard Brown:

entrepreneurship in cancer advocacy and interfaith

Howard Brown:

relations, and just remember, if we choose to shine brightly a

Howard Brown:

little bit each day for ourselves, for others in our

Howard Brown:

communities, the world will be better place. Thank you again,

Howard Brown:

Tanya, what a great podcast show. And we'll share this

Howard Brown:

widely and, you know, I got it. I want to actually get behind

Howard Brown:

there and go on a training run as well. You'll teach me how to

Howard Brown:

do it. So absolutely. Well, thank you and keep shining

Howard Brown:

brightly. Thank you.

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