Monthly Archives: February 2013
This past weekend I was fortunate enough to run the Ragnar Relay with 11 lovely Dinosaurs. 202 miles of pure ridiculousness in 35 hours. This past December a friend of mine reached out to me to fill a spot in her team, and I’m so glad I nabbed it. I only knew one member of the team, but I didn’t let that stop me from joining in on the fun.
It all began Thursday when I flew into the airport to be greeted by the brontosaurus. We rushed around to get provisions for the vans before getting to the hotel at 11pm. Van 1 finally got to sleep a bit after midnight. And then we woke up at 2:30am to make it to the start line. Yeah, nothing like starting a race on less than three hours of sleep!
It was frigid out and we were all jumping around for energy at the start line. Our terrordactyl was out on leg one by 5am and we were off to cheer her on. The course was filled with runners and we did our best to scream encouragement to them all. After she came in, we sent off a few more gals to enjoy the dark running environment. By the time my first leg started the sun had finally come up, thank goodness, and I was able to run without any issues.
I must admit that I was incredibly nervous about the pace I’d be able to hold for the entire race. I initially put myself in for a goal pace, but when race day came I didn’t think I could sustain. Well, I went out for my 6.7 miler and tried to remain steady. After getting passed by an older woman in the first half mile, I decided to latch on to her and maintain her pace. By the last half mile I was able to pass her and saw that my pace was 30 seconds faster per mile than I had expected. Absolutely best feeling in the world.
When we all completed our first legs we decided it was best to have some lunch. And what better place than Cracker Barrel? Dear goodness we stuffed ourselves. Heading back to the exchange point, we took a quick van nap before waiting for our last runner to get in. By the time she arrived we were back in the dark for our second legs. Sadly our first runner never had the chance to run in the sun, fortunately she was an east coaster who was used to the weather.
We were all a bit drained by the time we headed out again, but we didn’t let that stop us. We were consistently cheering every runner on (unlike many of the other teams who just cheered on their own people). For a while I was running ahead of people telling them to “chase some tail” because I’m creative like that. :)
And then it was my turn. By 1opm, when I went off for my second leg, I was exhausted from the running, lack of sleep, and obnoxious cheering. The leg was tougher, but again I found someone going my perfect pace and was able to use them for support. For the second time of the race I surpassed my pace goal and surprised myself (but who can complain about that?!).
By midnight we were huddling in a community center, hoping for a few more hours of shut-eye. I can’t say that I was able to sleep, but it was nice to be still for a while. Yet, before any of us had expected, we were roused and had to get on the road again. Around 5am our third legs began and we were on our way to the finish line. Bleary eyed and delirious, we each set out on our final leg.
Although my third leg was the shortest, it was also the hilliest that I’d have to endure. At times I wanted to slow down (read: walk), but I knew that my team would be cheering for me on the crest of the hill so I pushed harder. For the third time I surpassed my expectations and maintained a quicker pace. It was an amazing feeling when I passed off the slap bracelet to the next runner. I was finished and I was ecstatic. After the first van finished, we grabbed some real food before heading to the finish line for some more cheering and celebration. Check out our crazy crew of dinos
Ragnar reminded me how much I absolutely love running and it taught me a lot about myself. I now realize that I can push even harder than I had expected. If I can maintain a quicker pace when I’ve gotten barely any sleep and have to conquer hills, then there is no reason I can’t push myself day to day. I also realized that being cheered on by five random individuals can do amazing things for your self esteem. I’ve fallen in love with all of my teammates and hope to run with them again in the near future. Ragnar, you’ve got a new fan!
And if completing Ragnar wasn’t enough, we decided to do Tough Mudder the following day. Woke up this morning with a fun new set of bruises all over my body. Twas amazing, yet I don’t know if I’ll be doing that again… But that is a story for another time.
What is the most insane race you’ve done? Have you ever tried a relay race?
This quarter I’m taking a class on designing for health change. It is a very creative class in which I get to interact with patients and prototype designs that will help them make lifestyle changes. As part of the class we are reading the book Change or Die which is full of great wisdom on making change in your own life and those of others. The reading this past week really stood out to me and was full of useful tidbits. Here are a few that I found particularly inspiring:
1) We continue successful behaviors and this makes it difficult for us to change. There is nothing wrong with enjoying being successful, but sometimes we need to move beyond our comfort zones.
2) One way to spice up your behavior is to take on challenges that you’ll be bad at for a while rather than returning to pursuits you’re good at. Be proud of the things you are great at, but don’t let them stop you from try out something new. Who knows, you may find a new skill or activity that you rock at. Or you won’t rock. There is nothing wrong with that.
3) If you don’t feel at ease in your environment, change it! Find something you are comfortable with as it will entice you to return. Maybe the gym isn’t for you, but have you tried a kickboxing studio? Don’t be afraid to explore, this will just lead to awesome adventures. Worst case scenario – you have a hilarious story to tell your friends.
4) Find a mentor you respect and a community you enjoy. I can honestly say that if it was not for Kathy, the pace leader at my run club in Ohio, I would not have attempted my first half or full marathon. It was a happy accident that I found her, but one of the best things that happened to me. Because of her constant guidance and belief in me, I gained confidence in my running and was able to push myself further. This leads into the next piece…
5) Have a relationship with people who believe in you and whom you believe in. Do not put up with people who do not believe in you. You are awesome, you deserve nothing but respect and love from those in your life. Find people who make you feel good and avoid those who hurt or frustrate you. Life is too short to have toxic people in your life.
6) Learning and change aren’t one-size-fits-all phenomena. It is tough to read or hear someone else’s story and wish that it would happen to you, but that isn’t how life works. This is something I struggle with constantly, I have to remind myself that everyone finds change and motivation in different places. This doesn’t mean it won’t come, just that it may take a different form.
What have you done to make positive changes in your life? What pieces of advice do you have?