We excitedly piled our stuff into the big blue van, decorated with the name of our vanmates and team name.
As we drove around picking up members of the team, you could
feel the anticipation of those of us who were first timers, and the more relaxed feelings eminating off of those who were veterans.
We left Maple Valley with the sun still down, trying to get comfortable for the long drive.
The sun had risen as we pulled into the parking lot near the starting line.
The amount of cars and people milling around surprised me, I don't know why. Somewhere in my head I was sure we were the only ones crazy enough to be doing this.
But I was one of 24 people on two different teams. Obviously crazy runs rampant in Maple Valley, so why not other parts of the state and country.
We posed as a team, and I began to feel the onset of what would afflict me the whole race. The feeling of either extreme hunger or an extreme upset stomach. It began to be hard to tell the difference between the two.
My first leg was 4.1 miles around 11:30 in the morning. The sun beat down on me, and I literally felt that my body was going to explode from the heat. At one point I ran by a sprinkler and stopped briefly to run through it, hoping it would cool down my ever reddening skin.
My teammate Brett, passing the slap bracelet. Batons are so 1980's.
The best thing about running was my van mates. They would drive ahead about a mile and a half and wait with water and cheer me on. A lot of WOOHOO-ing and clapping and screaming my name. It kept me going when I thought I might die.
We did this for every member of our van.
Elise handing water to Lisa.
Laura taking the bracelet from Lisa. (sorry this is of your backside Laura, you look great!)
Just to help you understand (cuz I didn't understand until I was actually there), we have a team of 12. The first six in van 1 run the first 6 legs, or sections of course. We started at 8:30 a.m. and got done around 2:30 which is when runners 6-12 in van 2 took over. They run from 2:30 to about 7:30. In the mean time we have gone and eaten, showered and tried to take a quick nap at the hotel.
Then it's back to running.
This is Elise, kicking rear. She's really good at that.
She passed the bracelet to Jeff who ran as the sun was setting.
My next leg was also 4.1 miles. I started around 9:10 and came into the switch point around 10. (yes, I run REALLY slow, so what)
Our van finished around midnight. Which is when van 2 started their second leg.
We did this until 2:30 the next afternoon, running a total of 187.9 miles from Blaine, Wa near the Canadian border, down to Whidbey Island. By my final leg I had slept about 5 hours in two days and ran 11.2 miles in less than 24 hours.
My legs were shot, I was tired physically and emotionally, and as I leaned against the van to stretch when I was completely done, I broke down and cried.
I can't really explain it, it just felt right to let it all go.
This was without a doubt, the hardest thing physically I have ever done. I went into it not understanding how hard it is to run that much, on no sleep, up steep hills and alongside roads with little or no shoulder.
I couldn't walk well for a day or so, and it took me that long to feel well rested again. But would I do it again? You betcha.
I am witness to the fact that you can do anything you put your mind to.
I am not an athlete. I am still struggling with the baby weight from Nora. But I am not a quitter. And my mind got me through to the end almost more than my body did.I put our Ragnar sticker on the back of our van and just stood back and looked at it. Proud of myself, proud of Jeff and proud of the amazing people I ran with and got to know better.
(You don't really know someone until you've sat next to them all sweaty and tired)
I watched these people that I normally see at church, herding their children, teaching lessons, looking cool and lovely in their Sunday clothes, dig in and tackle something difficult, sweaty and uphill.
And it was an honor. Truly.