didn't know, however, was what an impact this race, more than any previous race, would have on me.
You see, most races are purely selfish in nature. You go to the start line, the whistle blows, and you end at the finish line. YOU end at the finish line. However long the distance, you complete it yourself. Someone might be there to cheer you on. And if you're lucky (like my husband), someone might even run a bit with you. But you start, you finish, you get your medal, you feel amazing for what you accomplished, and you go home.
The Ragnar Relay series, however, are different. You are part of an actual team. No one wants you to finish more than your team does. 12 runners, same goal: to finish 188 sleepless miles. That's right, one hundred and eighty-eight crazy-uphill-in-the-rain-and-fog-and-middle-of-the-night-into-the-morning-while-breathing-dust-and-smelling-like-yesterday's-sweat-while-hanging-out-with-previous-strangers-who-are-now-your-best-friends-stinking-glorious miles.
I got to start the race as runner #1. That meant that after my 3rd leg, I was the first to finish. But my finish didn't feel like a finish at all. I got to watch the rest of my team run up c.r.a.z.y. steep hills, and down c.r.a.z.y. knee-jarring descents. I wanted to cry as slowly, but surely, we all finished. WE. ALL. FINISHED.
At a post-race team BBQ, we all looked (and smelled) like different people. We'd all felt like sleeping for days straight when the race was over. But every runner said that they'd do it again. In a heartbeat, even. (Or maybe in Vegas in October?!?!?!)
Life gives us hard things. In this case, we each chose the hard thing. We knew we'd be exhausted. We knew we would experience hot and cold and rain and sunshine. And somehow, we knew we'd survive. At some point we would see the glorious "ONE MILE TO GO" sign (or at least the faint smell of the "honey bucket" at the exchange point). But let me tell you...after surviving that, I know I can do anything. The proverbial "ONE MILE TO GO" sign is looming ahead during any trial. You just keep going, and remember to reach out to your team for support (and water)!! That's what they're there for...to help you make it to the finish line!