Hi? Are you there real life? It’s me, Ari. Just coming off of this little thing I’d like to call “adventure hangover”. So tired that I’m actually not even quite sure where to start with all of this. Let’s start with the running, then we’ll talk about the adventuring.
So I signed up for this whole shindig in the midst of marathon training and thought I wanted the leg with the most mileage. Silly, silly Ari. Many of my team had just started running specifically for this race, and I wanted to step up and be a leader. Not to mention, I love lots of mileage. Anyway, then I got injured and was out for 4 months, and basically had to rebuild from scratch, so for the first time in my almost 2 years of running, I found myself totally under trained for this race. I followed my plan to a T, but I knew going in that things weren’t ideal. My longest post-injury run had been 6 miles, and as runner 9, I was scheduled to run 7.7, 5, 7.7 for a total of over 20 miles. In hindsight, I should have switched legs before the race began.
Leg 1: 7.7 miles
Okay, I started writing this way too in depth and it would have taken a millions years to read. Here are the important facts.
- First two miles were awesome!
- Don’t drink too much water before you run or you will be grunting, keeling over, and walking no matter how great your legs feel.
- Runners are so nice. Thanks to the lady who told me the breathing exercise to do that made the knife jabbing in my side lessen just a teeny bit.
- Just when I was coming unglued, my team saved the day by being at the half way point to fill my water and cheer me on. I needed it then more than ever!
- Even though I was in pain from mile 2 to the very end (and hours after…ugghhh), I stepped up my mental game and ran as strong as I could.
- Around mile 6 I started to feel a twinge of weirdness in my knee that I decided was a fluke (spoiler alert: it wasn’t).
- I finished strong and despite two horrible miles, ran a new post-injury PDR of 7.7 miles in 1:16.
- I sprinted to the finish to find just two teammates and neither was the next runner. I had estimated I would be running 1o min miles to begin with, then told them it would be longer because of the side ache. Then I ran my estimated pace. Whoops.
- In the last mile, garmin says my best pace was 5:56. That was a fun two seconds.
Leg 2: 5 miles
- Pitch black. Like, with my headlamp I could probably see 1 square foot in front of me.
- 3am ish. No sleep. Perfect weather–something like 60 degrees! It felt like heaven!
- Gravel road. Not like a few pebbles, like a legit gravel road with big rocks. Just ask the blister on my left foot.
- Did I mention it was pitch black? I fell off the road once, and I was totally disoriented. I didn’t know which way was front or if I’d ever make it back to the van. I started to figure getting eaten by a wild animal in the woods while running a relay wouldn’t be the worst way to die.
- I felt surprisingly good energy-wise, but my knee hurt. The entire time. It hurt like it did at the beginning of the marathon, and I figured I should probably stop running, but then I figured if it hurt now, I probably wouldn’t be able to run my 3rd leg, and my first leg wasn’t great, so I wanted to have one strong run this weekend.
- I did run strong. Despite not being able to see anything, and the challenging terrain, I ran my 5 miles at a 9:30 pace which is pretty good for me right now.
- When I finished, it hurt (just a little) to walk, and I knew I was out.
So I never ran my third leg. Rockstar Mark picked it up and Prescott took Mark’s 3 miler. My team was awesome and totally understanding. I shed some tears, and had a moment about it all, but to be honest I know I made the right choice. I actually learned my lesson and I stopped before the pain got debilitating. I think I’m looking at 1-2 weeks off from running instead of 3-4 months which is enough to keep me positive. Plus, this experience is about so much more than just running. I had the time of my life with some of my best friends and some new best friends. There were tons of inside jokes, so much silliness, and I laughed so hard I almost peed.
More importantly, as I said earlier, most of my team started training for this race. Many of them had never run. My friend Liane invited me to be a part of this team she was putting together with her family. Her dad has been a runner all his life, but no one else in her family had ever showed any interest in it. So Liane put together this team with her dad, and got both her siblings on board. I don’t know if they knew it would change their lives, but her brother lost 70 lbs, and her sister used running to find herself again after some huge life changes. And now they’re all hooked.
Well, part way through the weekend, Liane told me that I was the reason she started running. She said she was reading this little ol’ blog, and it inspired her to start. I immediately started crying, and it was only after everything was said and done that I realized how much this all means to me. My friend Laurel started running for this race as well. She had done C25K, but she started seriously training to be a part of this team. I pretended to actually know what I was doing as I gave her training plans, and tried to regurgitate all the brilliance that Coach Susan gives to me. In the end, she ran almost 17 miles and pushed beyond anything she ever felt like she was capable of. I looked at my team and realized that whether or not I was able to finish, I had made a real impact on the people on it. Then as I was sitting at the airport, I looked at my husband’s facebook page to see that he had completed the last run of his C25K program, and I started to cry,
I never dreamed that my life and my journey would be big enough to inspire anyone, but I look at the tornado effect we all have by simply making the choice to go out and run, and all the people who see it and make that choice themselves, and it amazes me. I am beyond grateful to be at this place in my life, and that my journey has meant something to the people around me. I hope you guys (my team, and everyone who takes the time to read what I have to say) know how much you inspire me too. You guys inspire me to keep going, and because of you, I look back on this weekend, and I can’t even be a little bit sad about how the running portion ended. There is just way too much happiness.