Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ragnar Relay: The Wasatch Back in Review


A week ago tomorrow, I embarked on a journey. I embarked on a 31 hour, 23 minute, 7.4 second journey to be exact. I got to run an 18.5 mile leg of 188 miles from Logan to Park City, UT. And I got to spend it with 11 amazing others who ran the remaining 169.5 miles. I knew I would be tired. I knew I would be sore. I knew I would enjoy the kid-free weekend (maybe too much...the things I'll do to have some me-time!). I also knew I would cry (because races always bring out my emotional-sentimental side). What I 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!
And guess what else got me through? The OTHER teams! I would read the vans as I ran to pass the time. One of my favorites read, "We tell ourselves there's nothing to fear. Sometimes we're wrong." That pretty much sums it up. Thanks for the laughs, fellow crazies! I LOVED it!

Who's in for next year?

17 comments:

Aubrey said...

If you plan the team I am in for sure. No planning for me next year, but I know I'll really want to run.

Becky Glover said...

So now you've caught the ragnar buzz...you see what I mean! There's nothing else like it and you just wanna do it again and again! My best friend and I are going to do them all before we die...that's the goal at least:) I'm in it for Vegas, got a full team but if I have anyone fall out I'm callin you...unless of course you've already got your team together by then. Good luck, maybe someday soon we can run one of these together!

Tina said...

I didn't RUN it but I drove it for the team and man I was inspired. I don't love running, it is not one of my passions but I sure admire you who do. That was a definite test in strength but also team-work and determination to finish no matter how stinking tired and worn out you are. Way to RUN!!!!

Evelyn and Art said...

Congrats on the accomplishment! And PS I will NOT be joining you... EVER!! hahaha!

Maylene said...

Robyn! That looks so cool! I can't believe you ran that far for that long. I was laughing at all the stuff on people's vans. And I have to say...girl you look pretty good in your race gear :) I would love to do something like that sometime. Actually I have been playing around with the idea of training for St. George marathon (obviously not this year) but next when Mark is done with school and could watch the kids. I think I would love to try the thing you just did though! So I suppose if you need a team member for something...I would do it :)

Allie said...

I will admit, I have always been hesitant on this one. Just has never sounded real....Fun? But you may have just changed my mind. The past two years it has fallen on Jax's birthday so I think I may just have to run next year. If you all need an extra person, I would def think about it! (if you didn't mind that is! :) ) And Vegas? I clicked on that and it looks awesome! You by chance running HobbleCreek 1/2? Rachelle Stevens is coming in town and we are running it.You'll have to let me know if you are!

Diane said...

I'm speechless. Just three words...YOU ARE AWESOME! We must be realted...I cried reading this!

Diane said...

P.S. I cried because while reading this I remembered a fifteen year old girl who broke her leg so badly that we didn't know if she'd really ever be able to do stuff like this.

esherman10 said...

Way to go! Everyone seems to love that race...I knew several people running it this year.

Jaclyn said...

Way to go Robyn! That's so awesome. I am inspired by you!

Erin said...

I love the awesome quotes people put all over their cars...especially the Mullets...business in the front, party in the back. Nice. What an awesome experience! Way to go!

Lyenna said...

I wanna do it! And I think I fit the description of CRAZY!

Lindy Merkley said...

Hmmm...Vegas huh? You know I've caught the relay buzz.....I have to tell you, you've described this race perfectly....It's been one of THE best experiences I've had in my life....

Laurie said...

Robyn, it was great getting sweaty with you! Thanks for the great pictures, and your wonderful encouraging smile. I would love to do it again sometime!
Laurie

Niki Carpenter said...

Wow, Robyn! I am super impressed. I don't think I could have done that? How do you even train for something like that? Congratulations on a job well done and on making some new friends :)

Cindy said...

What a great accomplishment for the team! I'm not going to be in for next year... but I'll be cheering for you! Way to go.

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