So, as I may have mentioned previously, I just recently moved to Tennessee! WOOT WOOT!
Livin' the big life south of the Mason Dixon, y'all!
So what better way to fully immerse myself into southern culture and make some running friends along the way than to join a Ragnar Team?
Yeah, that seems both sane and logical...
Ok, I've never claimed to be either. :)
YUPP! That's me!
After a few email exchanges back and forth and a phone call or two, it was decided that I would join team Anne's Angels. This group of runners had been running Ragnar Tennessee for the past two years and this would be their third year. Our Team Captain had lost her mother to melanoma and she had formed the team in her memory.
While I was a little nervous before Ragnar Adirondack because I didn't know almost anyone on the team...
This time, I legitimately knew NO ONE.
So... a little apprehensive? :)
But everyone turned out to be really nice and we all seemed to get along pretty well. Not everyone on the team had met before, so I wasn't the only odd duck out, which definitely helped.
Ragnar Relay - continuing to bring together strangers for the sole purpose of running nearly 200 miles across the country together. CRAZY!
A little different, but the extra sleep was definitely nice!
Since we were running to raise awareness for melanoma, we all had tee shirts that we were planning on wearing to get some extra attention.
But our first runner decided to not wear a shirt. So how do you get attention for your cause?
Have your teammates draw awareness ribbons on you, duh.
It actually did draw some extra attention, and one woman even came up to us to talk to us about what we were doing and shared that as a cancer survivor herself, she was very excited to see us committed to trying to raise awareness and turn a fun event into a fundraiser as well. Becuase in the weeks leading up to Ragnar Tennessee, we had used a website to collect donations for melanoma research and ended up raising over $1000.
"Jessica... you are NOT going to let this dude pass you!"
And so I managed to push myself and had a great last part of my leg. I was so excited when I finished and what was even better was when the guy I had been pushing myself to stay ahead of came over and said "Hey, nice finish. I thought I might have had you for a bit, but when you kicked it in, I had to work just to keep up with you."
YUPP. Damn straight.
But about one mile in to my second leg, things took a turn for the worse. I dunno if it was a because I was favoring my right knee, and putting more stress on my left, or just one of those fluke things, but as I approached a curb, I didn't quite get my left leg up high enough to clear the curb...
And that's when the REAL pain started.
My knee started t hurt so bad, I could barely put weight on it. My knee felt loose and sloppy and yet tight at the same time. I finally gave in to the pain and stopped to walk for a bit, hoping it would help...
But it didn't.
My teammates eventually passed by me and stopped. I grabbed an extra ace wrap out of my bag and sent them along. I figured I would wrap it good and tight to help with the instability and I'd be good to go.
But I was WAY wrong.
The pain may have been excruciating, but the damage to my ego was even more so. I'm not a quitter and I'd like to think I'm pretty tough. But I felt like crying, and, in fact, did give in and cry a little bit.
Not exactly my proudest moment.
But what it turns out happened was that I had damaged my lateral collateral ligament, or LCL. Most of you have probably heard of an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) or MCL (medial collateral ligament). The ACL is the ligament directly behind the meniscus (knee cap) and the MCL runs along the inside of the knee. The LCL connects the femur to the fibula on the outside of the knee.
I'll probably write a post about this later to expand on it, but essentially, the minor tear to my LCL pretty much rendered me useless for running for the rest of the race. (And, to be honest, still gives me trouble, even through the past couple weeks.)
I had a great time with my vanmates, and while I probably won't run RagnarTN with that team again next year, I'm definitely going to run the race again in 2014.
Now I just need to finish getting my knee back in to top form!
Send well wishes and luck my way y'all, cause this knee is being a pain!
Hope your runs are going better than mine!