Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ragnar

Wow!

It's been three days since we finished the Ragnar Relay and I'm still trying to process the whole event.

The few days before the race, as we had runners dropping off the team, I was having a serious mental breakdown. The thought that the training and planning would be for nothing . . . was very stressful.

However, we found two BRAVE souls who came to run with us, rounding out our team of 12. They were great sports and if any of the 12 people involved ever speak to me again, that'll be something! Cuz this was a mentally and physically tough thing for us to do.





I won't drag you through the 172 miles of the race itself, but I will share some of my 'favorite' moments:

Moment 1: My First Run

My first run came after a pretty full day of driving around, picking up and dropping off runners. I hit the trail about 5:30pm, feeling pretty worried about running 7.3 miles after a long hot day and seeing all of our team KICK BUTT on their runs. But after hanging with the run for 3 miles, it paid off with this beautiful sunset and view:

(That's me, in front of the other runner. Somehow he gets in front of me by the end of the curve . . . Freakin' awesome view!)


Moment 2: Showers


I have a HUGE personal space bubble. But something just happens during a race like this that makes that bubble incredibly small -- practically non-existent! At the first major exchange we had a chance to shower, and with salt crystals aggravating my chaffed skin, this seemed like a chance we couldn't pass up. Except it cost $1.25 -- quarters required!! Not all of us had the change, so we creatively came up with a solution. I'll leave the details out, but it involved more than one naked lady in a shower room and my bra ending up in Jaime's bag. Hysterical to think about it now -- but then, I could've cared less!


Moment 3 -- My First Hour of Sleep


My plans for a few hours of sleep in between runs, was crushed somewhere along side Lake Mead. As Lisa and I created a bed of blankets and sleeping bags on top of the gravel field at the exchange, I realized that sleep was going to be a challenge. Add to the gravel, the bathrooms with no stall doors, a CRANKY attitude, the fear that a snake will join me in bed, Lisa singing and then giggling and freakin noisy people everywhere -- there was only one hour of sleep to be had! At some point I laid on my back watching the moon cast a reflection across the lake, thinking how beautiful it was but then the reality of the crazy situation I was in HIT me and I felt like an old woman trying to keep up with a bunch of partying 20 year olds.


Moment 4: My Second Run


After kicking back a few bazillion grams of caffeine I was much more ready for my second run. The 5.9 miles wasn't going to be too bad. It was dark when I started off (about 5:15am) and as I ran I could feel the sun rising at my back. I had the van stop and get me water about 4 miles into my run so that I could anticipate the last 2 miles of my run. But about that point we were headed off the course by a police officer who said that there was an accident up ahead. I followed the new course for what seemed well over 2 miles. At one point, I turned a corner and saw a rather steep hill that would finally get me back on track. I hauled myself up it, only to see my van again, additional police and several people.


I ran up to the group of people and asked if there's was something I could do to help. The man I spoke to was crying, he told me there had been an accident. A Ragnar runner had been hit and killed. His wife, his mother, brother and team were there - wrapped in blankets. I could only think to offer my love, he wished me well on my run and I continued. I ran in a daze for a bit, but then broke down and cried. A few runner's came up behind me, gave me some encouragement and I finished up the run. It was a detour of only a mile. And while I ran it somewhat grudgingly at first - when I found out why I ran it, I only wish I could've done more.


You can see the story HERE. Meanwhile, our team sends love and prayers to the family of Jeremy Kunz!


Moment 5: My Third Run


My third run was suppose to be easy. But with as tired as I was -- my body just didn't want to move. I was breathing hard the whole way, I couldn't find my stride, my family was there to support me, but I wasn't get the energy boost I needed to make the run truly great. With only a quarter mile to go, I was DONE! I was running for 30 seconds, walking for 30 seconds and feeling like the exchange was too far away. Another runner was coming up behind me, and I was about to get passed yet again. I wanted to stop. I could see my whole team waiting for me, my family there too. I stepped to the side to let the runner pass me -- but he didn't. He slowed down, and told me to get back on the road. I did and kept running, but then I slowed again -- I was so tired! He slowed too, and then he started to whisper to me. "You can do this." / "Relax, take this easy." / "It's alright." And with him just behind my shoulder we made it through my last run.


I am still so moved by how much a stranger's support has meant to me. Why should he care if I finish my run? Why would he care if I was struggling? But he did - and it meant the world to me. His quiet whispering support is something I'll never forget. Running is something you do on your own, but when you run Ragnar style - you have support you never thought existed.


(My support - Wonderful mystery runner on the left and my great family on the right!)

Moment 6 - Finishing

I never run with the thought in my mind that I am going to WIN the race. Today, I've had several people ask me if I won the Ragnar Relay. And I've told them "YES, I did win." If they look at the results they'll see that I finished second to last -- and probably think I told them a big, fat lie. But I really think I did win - I won the right to hold my head up high for doing something hard, I won the right to be proud of myself and of the incredible women who joined me in this, I won back some of the self confidence that the world sometimes tears away from me. That's the best kind of winning!




(Note: The Wasatch Back Team is being formed already. Who wants in on the Saints & Sinners medal for 2010?)



13 comments:

Shauna said...

I am SOOO proud of you. What a wonderful accomplishment. Maybe that "mysterious runner" who offered you support when you felt like giving up was a physical manifestation of the Savior. That is what HE does, after all--whispers to us to get back on the road, take it easy, don't give up, you can do this. By simply finishing, you did win--in all the ways you mentioned, plus you won again my admiration--though you have had that all along. Thanks for the good example you give me everytime I see you do something hard, Wendy. I love you for it.

kellieanne said...

This was an amazing experience of which I will always remember with a smile. I had a blast! I enjoyed bonding with all you fun gals in more ways that just sweat. The encouragement and boost I got from seeing each of you push yourselves like I was and reassure each other as I was compelled to do will stick with me forever.

Wendy, you are a rock. I love you.

Island mama said...

I've been watching for this post and so glad to finally read through your success! Wendy, you are an inspiration to many, me included. You definitely WON this race, as you have won so many others. You're an incredible person and I feel so lucky to know you. Thank you!

Wendi said...

You. are. amazing.
Congratulations on finishing the race!!!

Leslie said...

Wendy, you know you have been a winner in my book from the first day I met you. I am a better person just from knowing you, thank you for being my friend. Who knew I could be brought to tears from reading about the Ragnar!! Congratulations on this accomplishment:)

Melanee said...

Awe
Inspiration
Determination
Excitement
Accomplished
Emotional (although to a depth I can't even fathom)
Gratitude
Congratulations
Admiration

These are just a few of the things you made me feel today!

kellieanne said...

BTW, sign me up for the Saints & Sinners medal in 2010. I totally want to run the Wasatch Back!

Carp said...

Congrats to you and the 11 other 'Sweet Chasers' I am glad I was able to come down and cheer y'all on. Way to bring it across the finish line!

Taffy said...

Wow.
You ladies are amazing.
Why am I crying about a post on running??

Kr!sty said...

I can't even see. blurring...ok, now I'm alright. WOW! What an amazing experience. I love what Shauna said, b/c it's exactly what I was thinking as I read about your "Mystery Runner". I love that when we least expect it, the Lord manifests Himself through the kindness of others. What an amazing experience to treasure.

Sherry said...

I agree with taffy....why am I crying about a post on running? I thought of you and your team this weekend and am SO glad you're all home safe and TIRED. Good for you guys!

Tori and Steve said...

Way to go! You have reason to be proud!

slmcnees said...

You are FREAKING AWESOME!!!! My daughter is my HERO!! Love ya, Mom