This past weekend, something magical happened to me. I ran my first (and certainly not last) Ragnar race. And this event has truly changed who I am and how I see myself as a runner.
As I mentioned before, I won my entry into this race from the fine ladies at Another Mother Runner. As part of the contest, six mamas won entry into the race and we were all allowed to bring one running friend to make up our team of 12. So essentially, the plan was to run 200ish miles in around 36 hours with 10 complete strangers and one running buddy who I hoped would still be speaking to me at the end of the weekend. As one ultra runner later commented after the race – this running team was like the ultimate blind date.
Fortunately, one of the contest winners had some relay running experience at Hood to Coast (another bucket list race for me!) and she agreed to captain the team. Her organization skills were seriously next level and she managed to find us a sweet 12-bed house (that was easy to access after the first van exchange) and two perfect vans. She also created “race bibles” for both vans that answered any race-related question we could possible think of to ask. Yeah, she was the bomb and I am truly grateful to her for taking care of all of the details so that the rest of us could simply fret over the fact that we had all agreed to run three times over 36 hours with little sleep while spending almost every waking hour in a van filled with sweaty strangers.
And let me tell you I did some serious fretting in the weeks leading up to this race. I was assigned the legs for Runner #9 which broke down like this:
4.8 miles around 2:00 pm on Friday
7.4 miles around 1:30 am on Sat
4.0 miles around 11:30 on Sat
For those of you who follow me on Strava, you know that I am almost exclusively an early morning runner. Like 6 am early. When I meet up with friends it’s more like 8 am and that feels like a late start. Late afternoon on an 80ish degree day is not usually my cup of tea. Ditto for the 11:30 am run. And don’t even get me started on that 1:30 am run. I am never even awake at 1:30 am. And on the off chance that I roll over in the night and check my clock to find it is the wee hours, I have never once thought, “this would be a great time to run.” Never.
Before this weekend, I truly doubted that I would even manage to be awake at 1:30am, let alone put one foot in front of the other and stitch it together into a 7.4 mile run. But that is exactly what I did. Not only that, but I felt like the biggest badass that ever badassed when I ran that leg. The stars! Oh, there were so many stars! And it was quiet and peaceful and as I huffed and puffed over those gently rolling hills, I realized that I truly can do anything I set my mind to doing. I am a Badass Mother Runner and I will never again doubt that.
And that seemed to be the mindset of all of the mamas on our AMR team. Because even though we all had runs that we were worried about (my running buddy had a 7.6 miler as her final leg that she had to take on in 90 degree temps on Sat), we all NAILED our runs and felt so accomplished to have done them.
But more than any of our running accomplishments, I think we were all truly amazed and surprised by how wonderfully we all got along and how truly grateful we were to meet each other and share this magical experience together.
That ultra running man who commented about how our team was like the ultimate blind date? The reason he said that was because he asked how long we had all know each other when he saw us giggling and sharing stories with one another like we were all old friends. He also told us what became my favorite quote from the weekend, “It’s the teammates that make the race.” I couldn’t agree more ultra man.
I need to give a huge shout out to Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea from Another Mother Runner for everything they do for all of the running mamas out there and for bringing this team of amazing women into my life. I truly cannot thank you ladies enough!