Have you ever watched that show “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant?”
Well I kind of feel like that was my life last week (minus the baby part). It was an unexpected journey.
On Monday, one of my friends on Facebook said that she needed another runner for their Ragnar teams that weekend. They had some of their team members drop out because of injury and other conflicts and they needed someone ASAP.
I’d always wanted to do a Ragnar Relay Series, but I’d never had the chance. Getting a team together takes a lot of time, money, and organization, and that’s just if you get in! The race usually sells out very quickly.
I jumped at the chance to run in the relay. I was nervous because although I had been running and exercising, I hadn’t been training for this race specifically. But I trusted in my body and the adrenaline therein and decided to take the plunge.
Before I knew it, I was in a van with five other people I didn’t know on my way to the starting line in Logan.
I was runner 6. My first leg was 6.9 miles and rated “hard.” But I was fresh and most of it was downhill, so it was manageable. It became hotter and hotter as I ran down into Liberty, but the view was amazing.
My second leg was 8 miles and I started around 8:30 at night. I was already a little stiff and tired, but I tried not to think about the journey that lay ahead of me. I knew it was going to be long and dark.
I wasn’t used to running with a headlamp, but I knew it was necessary so I wouldn’t get killed, or worse, disqualified.
The road stretched on and on...but it was one I’d travelled before on my way to Girls Camp. But as night fell, the road became less and less familiar and all I could do was follow the headlamps of the other runners ahead of me. My running playlist was starting to get boring. I tried not to walk too much, but the road was became so steep at times that walking was my only option!
My support van stopped about every mile to offer me water and food. (Those random ginger snap cookies were the best!)
By the last mile, it was all I could do from saying the worst possible swear words. This was harder than my half marathon! Just when I thought the exchange would be around the corner, it wasn’t, and a huge hill would be there instead.
It was during that second leg that I took a moment to close my eyes and thank my Heavenly Father for my body. I think C. Jane Kendrick said it best: “I exercise to thank my body, not change it.” I was moving for an hour and a half -- forward and upward, into darkness. Although I was heaving and my legs hurt, I was going. My body knew what to do. It knew how to run. I wasn’t the fastest runner, but it didn’t matter. I was moving.
One thing that kept me moving was knowing that Sam would probably be there at the finish line. I didn’t have great cell service, so I hadn’t talked to him in a while. But I knew he was going to try and be there to see me come in. Oh how I couldn’t wait to see my husband at the finish line!
My pants are really high up on my waist because I had to wear a little butt light. Don't give me crap about this.
I look like I'm drunk. I'm not, but you can give me crap about this part if you want. I also kind of look like a Native American. (Braids plus headband, anyone?)
The whole route is absolutely gorgeous. My camera’s battery died, so I just had to take in the views as memories. Rolling green hills, yellow and green fields, small towns of small cottages, towering rocky mountains... a dead deer or two...
My last leg was through Heber, and it was only 2.1 miles. Nice and easy.
Most of the time is actually spent in the van, supporting whomever was currently running. This is excellent bonding time. We were all Ragnar Newbies, so we didn’t have any crazy costumes or crazy sayings written on our van windows. I loved my team!
Some of the highlights from the van:
- Popping the “orange candy” (ibuprofen).
- Sharing water bottles willy nilly. We did not care about hygiene. All that mattered is that we were drinking water.
- Our dorky little cheer.
- That moan that comes out after you step out of the van for the first time after running.
- Getting really excited to see the “portas.”
- Noticing the same vans over and over and giving them nicknames. (Jesus van, dirty van, running buddy van etc.)
- Trying to find food with the most calories and carbs possible. (You need all the energy you can get during Ragnar)
- The enthusiastic, helpful volunteers all along the way.
Crossing the finish line felt so good!
Sam was so amazing at supporting me in this! I love him so much! (He took all the pictures in this post. Except the one his in in.)