Do you know how many miles it would take you to run from St. Paul to Duluth, Minnesota? 204.88 miles!!
That is how many miles our team of 12 amazing ladies ran during a Ragnar Relay race we participated in at the end of August, my very first race of this type. I am currently training for my first full marathon in October, so I decided to take on the challenge of running the Ragnar Leg for my team, which is considered to be the hardest leg of the course and that leg in itself was quite an experience. After running all 3 of my assigned legs I ended up running 22.58 miles during the course of the 32.5 hours it took us to finish the race.
The experience was amazing and challenging. About halfway through my second leg, the Ragnar Leg, a car drove by too close to me while in the dark. I instinctively jumped to the side, but I almost lost my balance and twisted my ankle as I ungracefully tried to not fall. My body was warmed up and I was running on high energy, so I couldn’t tell if I was hurt. All I knew was that I didn’t want that to be how my race ended, so I came to a full stop to analyze the situation, I scanned my body for any injuries before I made a quick decision. I messaged my team to let them know what was going on and they immediately offered to come get me, but luckily, I was able to continue with just a little pain/discomfort. I was able to finish the 11.2 mile leg slower than I wanted to, but in the big scheme of things that was ok since I was able to finish that leg and continue the next morning with my last leg.
During the Ragnar leg I also got to see the running community come together. It was about a mile out from the finish line, it was dark, it had begun to rain, and there was lightning (we actually had a lighting hold right after we finished that leg. We got to experience it all), when I came across another runner suffering from an episode of vertigo. She was struggling to stand up, let alone walk. I was the first one to find her and I was able to help, but as we were walking towards the finish line, multiple runners offered help as they saw us. It was nice to know that even though we were on different teams, we were out there together, and we got each other’s backs. I did not see that runner after that leg again, but I still think of her and hope she got better after I left her. From the little time I spent with her I learned that she is an Ultra runner and had many more miles than I did to finish. I hope she did well.
When I crossed the finish line from my third and last leg, I felt so empowered. It was awesome! It reassured me that I need to keep doing what makes me happy. I had been doubting myself for a few weeks before this race and this experience reminded me that I need to trust my training and body more. My mind and body are capable of doing so much more than I believe.
Overall, we ran 32.5 hours straight with no showers, little sleep, and no real food, but I loved the experience. From running the different legs, the outfits I put together for each leg and in-between (priorities lol), to the people I met along the way it was so rewarding. Starting with my team (Go, Team Boom Chicka Run!). A group of 12 runners, where most of us came in not knowing anyone else in the group, but our love for running brought us together. All of these girls are so inspiring to me. I was impressed by their encouragement, smiles, commitment, and kindness. All of it. I truly hope we get to run as a team for years to come.
I always complain about not having “running friends” (I have made many efforts to get my friends and family to start running with me and while they have joined me in a few races here and there, they all are very vocal about their dislike for it – with the exception of my 4 year old daughter, but that is a story for another blog lol), but after this race I think it is very fair to say that I finally have running friends! :)