Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What starts out as one thing...ends as another

This morning I laid in bed so angry with the fact that I did not want to get up and run.  I knew this would be my ONLY window for an outside run and I just needed to suck it up and get out of bed.  I was turning since 5:30 am knowing that my alarm was going to go off and the run would be upon me.  I finally made my way out of bed and now what was planned as a 7 mile run would have to be 4 due to time restraints.

Did my normal loop in my hood and it was a bit chilly and the ground was wet.  No precip was happening yet and I was feeling pretty good post Ragnar Relay...I headed back home with 4.5 done and planned to do 2.5 on the treadmill...hubby and G2 were running late...I got to finish the entire run outside and the skies did open and I was now fully wet.  People always say you never regret a workout after it is complete...today was a perfect example of that!

Beyond words Beautiful!!!

Last Thursday I headed to Chattanooga TN with two women as we were on our way to meet up with the other nine women that would complete our Ragnar Relay Team..You Ran Me All Night Long.  This was our third time running as a team and this go round we had two newbies to our team....one of which had never done a Ragnar before.  This was going to be a great adventure!  We headed out in our swagger wagon around 9am arriving in Tennessee around 6pm.  We were greeted by an excited group of ladies that were ready for our first night out.  A lot of introductions were made as well as welcome back hugs and we were on our way!

I have only been in Van 2 for these relays so that means our running will begin mid afternoon on Friday.  Van one kicked things off at 7am and we meet up with them at the first major exchange.  This relay only had 180 teams where the one we did last May had 400.  Things were much quieter..calmer..and just a bit more relaxed.  I wouldn't say it was bad or good...just a different overall feeling.  The sun was shining and we were embracing the sun's rays and warmness on our skin...it was amazing compared to the rain haven we have been experiencing for the last two plus weeks here.

Leg 1
Van 2 only had 5 runners so we had to make up the three legs that our other runner would have run.  This meant my first leg was going to be a big one....11.7 miles.  I was the second runner to go in our van and was getting very anxious for it to begin!  The best part of these relays...it is NOT about speed, pace, where you finish, if you broke a sweat...it is about your love of running and sense of community.  I started my run just before 1pm...it was 70 degrees and beautiful!!

We finished our first set of legs, headed to our hotel for a quick shower and change then into a small town for some dinner.  Table for five and let's all get a chicken sandwich!  Didn't want anything that would upset the tummy during the night run.  It felt great to sit and be clean and just enjoy each other's company.  Our next run was going to begin by 10pm...we were ready!!

Chilly Night Running
In the past two Ragnars we did I ran my night runs alone.  I tried my best to keep a blinker in view from a runner ahead so I knew I was not truly alone but I remember they have not been fun!  I was determined for this night run to find a buddy.  As we waited for our first runner to come in I surveyed the area and hoping to find anyone that would be willing to put up with me for over six miles.  There was a guy in the shoot waiting for his runner...they called both our team numbers so we were both up next...I asked his pace...he told me...I said...Can I run with you...and we were off together!  Not that Ragnars are "scary" but solo runs in the woods with just you and headlamp can be a bit unsettling.  Eric made my night!  He and his team do one race a year together as well...we talked and talked...who are we kidding...I talked mostly!  I never felt scared...well maybe just once when a dog started barking at another live animal in the woods...but it was a great run!  The next three runners in our van ran with his runners on their team.  IT WAS AMAZING!  Our rookie was definitely not feeling the night run and having that buddy made it great for her...they were our life savers in reflective vests!!

When we finished leg 2 we headed back to hotel, showered and slept...those 2.5 hours felt like 5!  It was great and we woke at 7am and headed back to the relay.  Our final runner in van 1 was on her way to the exchange and we were all going to be done soon!  That final runner in van 1 had pretty major back surgery 8 weeks ago and she rehabbed herself and ran every single one of her legs!  I am so beyond inspired by her...she NEVER gives up and was an awesome example for our team.  Another woman that kicked some serious Ragnar butt is our Rookie.  She has completed her first half marathon...just a few months ago...and on this relay she knocked out over 16 miles!  She doubled up her final leg to make up for our missing runner...and despite her feeling like death in the moment...she is beyond proud of herself and will be ready to crush her marathon in the fall.  She learned a valuable lesson this past weekend...and the bottom line is this...she is capable of amazing things!  

Our final legs in van 2 took us right into Nashville.  The sun had come back out and we stood in a park in the middle of the city waiting for our runner 12 to appear.  All ten of us had regrouped and were ready for this thing to be done.  When she appeared...she was smiling and was a true vision of beauty...we had accomplished our goal...and we all ran in behind her leading the way to the finish line!

In typical Ragnar awesomeness...our medals double as beer openers and a puzzle.  We built our puzzle and took the required pic with our foot in it...without any of those feet we would not get to that finish line.  These relays are a true sense of community and I am so honored to be a part of a team that continues to push limits and find a new part of themselves along the way.
Medals, puzzle, beer opener :)

So we finished, we celebrated, we laughed and maybe cried a little.  We again accomplished something that others may hope to do someday.  By us continuing to do this with each other we can show those hopefuls that hard is not impossible, that you are capable of amazing things, that what you may have thought about yourself at the beginning of all this has probably changed, that sometimes it feels amazing to run in the rain, that despite all your inner energy telling you that you can't...you do!  These relays are about a lot more than running in the dark, decorating a van, checking boxes and covering 200 miles.  I am so honored to have these women in my life...I can't wait for our next adventure...I am so thankful for my team and all that you continue to share with me and inspire...and thank you for putting up with  me!!  No regrets...always amazing with you ladies!


Embrace the Suck...Choose You!!!

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