IT WAS GREATER THAN I COULD HAVE EVER IMAGINED.
Think I'm kidding? Read on for more on what was quite possibly my favorite weekend of the whole year. :)
You know, ibuprofen, reflective wrist straps, safety vest, blinky things, head lamps, extra shoelaces... The whole nine yards.
I've been flying quite a bit lately and was really starting to get into a groove. I had the security routine down pat and felt like a seasoned professional as I made my way through the airports, from gate to gate, with minimal effort. I'd even figured out the perfect travel outfit so I wasn't too cold or too warm on the plane.
And then I arrived in the Albany airport, and now it was time to wait! And wait, and wait...
Ok, so I waited a long time. My teammates were driving up from Washington, D.C. and their drive was a bit longer than my ride. Let me just tell you, having spent lots of time in airports lately, the Albany airport was lacking. Charging stations? None. Outlets? Only in the hallways. And so it was, my laptop and I spent five hours hanging out in the hallway across from the McDonald's in the airport. Luckily for me, they always say you shoudln't change your diet prior to a race. So I ate McDonald's. Only way to get a meal for under $5 in an airport. Serious.
Well my team arrived, and a short time later, we ended up at the hotel and got ready to head out for dinner. Saratoga Springs is a gorgeous town and we had dinner a nice little Italian eatery with some of the freshest Italian food I've ever had. While some of the team had met before, there were a few of us who were new the group, so we got to joke and laugh and generally get to know each other.
After a good meal, we all headed back to the hotel for a sound night's sleep. Some of us were new to the Ragnar scene, but we all knew that a night with minimal sleep was ahead of us.
WHO AM I KIDDING?!?!
You can't get carried away decorating a Ragnar Relay van.
BIGGER IS ALWAYS BETTER.
I was Runner 5 in Van 1, so our van got to get the race started. Shannon was our Runner 1 and she had never done a Ragnar Relay before, so she was a mix of nervousness and excitement. We all gathered at the start and cheered her on as she headed out and got us started strong! Team 17, Zero Running Ability was off and running!
Haven't seen it yet?
Seriously, what rock have you been hiding under?
Anyways, our team, especially our van, decided that hashtags were THE THING and we embraced them whole heartedly, making signs to cheer each other on along the course and yelling out hashtags to each other as we were on the course.
#KillIt #RunFaster #KillKillKill #DontBeSlow #SuckItUp #YouGetTheIdea...
Ok, this was posed. This was like 20 minutes after my first leg, when I was like - WAIT! I NEED A PICTURE! FROHFSESIHFGDIHGF!@QEKEWN@E@@~!!!
My first leg went really well. I was under my anticipated pace and although I didn't get many kills, I was still happy to be one-third of the way done with my first Ragnar Relay.
Things were going well and our van was having an AMAZING time. We really just "clicked" and got along amazingly well. Who would have know that you could take 6 strangers and find out that they all had a similar quest for adventure and a willingness to laugh at themselves and to just have fun...
Oh wait. This is Ragnar. That's what this is all about. :)
And you get the point...
About all the little things that made this probably one of the most amazing weekends, not only of the year, but of my life.
I found myself, scared, nervous, and worried leading up to my first Ragnar.
Sure, I was excited! But there were so many unknowns! I had only ever met one other person on my team, and we weren't even in the same van... I had never tried to run three times in 24 hours. My knee had been bugging me and I was nervous as hell that it wouldn't hold up. Would I get along with these new people? Would we have fun? Would I be able to finish all my legs?
And you know what. It was hard. It was one of the most challenging things I've done in my life.
BUT IT WAS AMAZING.
The friends that I made that weekend were amazing, caring individuals. They had a passion for life and for running and having fun that I hadn't experienced in a while. We just clicked. We had private jokes within hours of having met each other. We could be ourselves and be silly and stupid and instead of judging each other, we would all join in.
I left my phone alone for a day the weekend after and came back to over 100 text messages from my teammates. It was that kind of thing.
And sure, as the weeks have passed, we have all returned to our "regular" lives. We all came from different parts of the country. Utah, Michigan, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, South Carolina, New Orleans... And while we don't talk every day, we still talk. We send texts and photos and reminisce on how much fun we had.
And even more importantly, we discuss how much more fun we WILL have. Because at this point, plans are already in the works to ensure that Team Zero Running Ability is back at it again in 2014. But this time, we're preparing to take on #RagnarSoCal. And from what it sounds like, we're gonna make it a week long adventure, with plans to stay on after the race to keep the fun going.
And I cannot wait!
And I'm so very thankful to have had it be a part of my life. I dare you to challenge yourself to run a Ragnar Relay if you haven't before. And if you have, you know what I'm talking about. And I know that you, like myself, want everyone to experience that same joy, that same elation that comes from taking a sport we all love (running!) and turning it in to the ultimate team experience. There's nothing quite like running in the middle of the night, under the stars, and having your teammates there along side the road to cheer you on.
And that's what it's all about. :)
#runlove my friends. Feel the #runlove....