running is a lot like childbirth. about half way through, you think to yourself "what the hell was i thinking". and it hurts. a lot. well at least for me. you chafe, you blister, your either too hot, or too cold. you shorts don't fit right, and you know that there is something that can make it go quicker, you just haven't found it yet.
ragnar wasatch back start line
the m.c. at the start line. here we are at 4 minutes to go time
and i mean "our turn" because it really is a whole team event. it's the team mates who are making sure the runner has water. the van leapfrogs the runner and we all sort of jump out and supply the runner with anything they need. it's kinda fun.
lyn was awesome. she ran the first leg, and was done being nervous way before it set in for me. by the time i realized i was next, i sort of panicked. not because i didn't think i could do it, just that i had such a hard time last year, and i was sure i was gonna be puking by 10 pm.
lyn handed off to arlynda (who's first leg was hellishly long)
and arlynda handed off to me.
we were in hyrum. it was sort of weird. i knew where i was, just not really. i remembered buildings and places and living there when i was 9, but i have never ever run in hyrum. i've really not been back.
the good part about running through farmers fields is that you can see. and it's beautiful and the mountains were right there. the bad thing is, you can see. and it seems like a mile is about 10 miles, and it just goes on forever. about this point, my new ipod shuffle decided to die. and not the battery part. like the whole "turn on and work" part. so i was bummed. about mile 3 i was feeling my groove, but not really happy groove. it wasn't too hot, but it was boring. and i forgot how lame it is to get passed by. i did do my own share of passing other people, but most of them were neighbors watching. or small children. or roadkill. so not my fastest of runs, but still.
about the one mile to go mark, there were these kids with water. it was so nice, and all these runners ahead of me were ignoring them. so i HAD to stop and get some water from them. and say hi. and talk about the weather. there was this guy in front of me who kept complaining about the altitude. and i totally passed him. it was great. i loved it when other runners were dying.
i round the corner, see the chute and i am so happy to pass off the bracelet to marie. who is also pretty darn cool. she is some kinda of crazy running animal. and then i wiped the sweat of, and sat in the van. i was curious about my friend megan doing the leg i did last year. i knew she could do it. but with all the rain, i was praying that it wouldn't be muddy. and it wasn't. it was awesome. she went up the avon pass and did an amazing job. if only i had been that great last year. i'm not jealous or anything. she just rocks.
megan handed off to shelah, who took off and we lost her. see, she runs faster than cars. much faster than our van stuck in traffic descending avon pass. she was so amazing, but we knew that.
shelah passed off to van 2 (julie, christy, deanna, stacy, melodee, amy), we decided to get some food, rest our legs and try to sleep a little. lucky for everyone i grabbed a couple of energy drinks. and i downed one. not because of anything except i had a huge headache and i knew a little caffeine would do me good. i didn't read how much caffeine was in the drink, and while we were resting, i was thinking about 10, 0000 miles a minute, and my heart was racing, and i just started giggling. i think they all hated me. but it could have been the toilets up on snowbasin. that didn't work. and there were no honey buckets. yeah, that is probably what my team mates were upset about. it couldn't have been me.
after an all too short rest, we piled back into the van. we said goodbye to lyn and told her we'd catch her at the bottom of trappers loop. which we totally would have. she did amazing, and didn't even need us to catch her.
again, lyn handed off to arlynda, who gave the bracelet back to me. my second run of the day. through some back road town in the middle of nowhere. actually, i just don't remember where. this was my almost 5 miler. it was nice. it was cooling off. there were some kids out handing otter pops, which i took, you know, because they were so cute. i didn't want to eat it. and i didn't want to throw it, so i just held on to it. my back up ipod was working, so that was so much better than my first run. there was this youngish guy in front of me, and i kept up with him. i'd get close to pass him, and then he'd speed up. then i'd catch up and get close to passing him again. i was pretty steady the whole race. i overtook him about 2 miles to go. at about half a mile, i saw big d. he was taking pictures of me, while my kids ran around in little circles on some one's lawn. that was fun to. i gave them a big kiss and went to cross the finish line. i felt great. i heard fussy start to scream. it gave me the motivation to run really fast.
i handed off to the animal marie, who took us to morgan (if i remeber right) and poor megan took over in the dark of night. megan has cool family though, and we were able to see them and her brother even ran her leg with her. which, i thought was really neat. while megan and shelah were running, we went to arlynda's auntie's house. and crashed. we showered, ate, and crashed. sorta.
when shelah and megan were done, they joined us. they ate and we set out bags on the floor. i was still so excited and i still had so much energy. i was dead tired, but i couldn't sleep. i got the itchies and i was either too hot or too cold. or the floor was too hard. i think i finally dozed off about 20 minutes before shelah was up getting ready to go. so i got up and started packing our stuff up to get going.
we were out the door at 4-something. we drove to our exchange somewhere out there beyond morgan. there was a lot of traffic, and it was really cool to watch the sun come up and see all the runners. there were moments of sprinkling rain. it was cold.
at this point, we are tired. we were eating bread and peanut butter. we were disgusted by the shape of the honey buckets, which were getting sucked out while we were waiting in line. amy came in and lyn was off again. then to arlynda, and then to me.
lyn, her last leg
waiting for lyn to come in
this was the leg i was most worried about. it was 8 miles, and it had a major hill at the end. at least that is what it looked like. it wasn't so much a hill as a freaking mountain though. but i decided i would just give it my all. i held back at the beginning, i didn't want to fatigue myself. but after going on those hills, i tried to just enjoy it.
trying to enjoy it
and the funny thing was, i really did. i was running, it was raining, the wind was blowing. it was hard. the uphill was hard. it was a windy uphill mountain thing. it was amazing. this is the part i came back for. this was the feeling i wanted. i felt wonderful. i was tired, and at one point, i went around a bend and saw the road, and it was uphill, and i started to cry. then i told myself it would be stupid to cry, it would waste too much energy. and besides, i was a bad ass runner, and this was no big deal. i really felt like i could do anything. i watched the clouds roll over me. i felt the hail. it was absolutely beautiful. i had an awesome downhill stretch to the transition, and i just booked it. i let myself go as fast as my legs would go. i knew my quads would be sore. i just went for it. i handed off to marie and i felt like i could fly.
me, shelah, arlynda. i'm totally done!
marie, getting ready to rock that downhill
marie, megan, shelah. they all went for it in turn. they each gave the last they had. when we handed off to the other van, we felt amazing. we were tired and hungry and getting sore. we had blisters and chaffing and we were so stinky. but we felt amazing. and not just because we had just run, but because we had done a hard thing. and we had been there for each other. we had been sitting in a van, cheering our runners on. we were all working toward a goal, and we did it. there is not a feeling like that in the world. except for maybe having a baby. but at least when you run the wasatch back, you don't' have to change any diapers. hopefully.
we went to a cabin in midway. we rested. we chatted. i had a minor breakdown when i couldn't find big d. thinking he had fallen off the mountain, i was pretty worried. but eventually i found him, and yelled, and i felt so much better.
we waited at the finish line for our team to come in. the last runner has no support. she runs on the trail. we were worried when she wasn't there when we thought she would be. it was starting to rain. it was cold. the wind was terrible. we were huddled together watching and waiting. and worrying. we climbed up a hill and waited. the rain was starting to get worse. we were shivering. and we were praying it would be over soon. we kept our eyes on the trail waiting. at last we saw her yellow jacket and amy came into view. we couldn't help ourselves but started screaming and cheering her one. it was a feeling of pure joy. she was up to us and we ran with her. she went to the shute and then she took off like a crazy runner lady and i was trying to keep up. granted, i had a blanket on me, i couldn't 't see straight. the rain had picked up and we were drenched. we crossed the line. we got our medals. we posed for what i am sure will be mistaken for some kind of drowning race picture. and then it started sleeting. i am grateful for the happy weather gods that granted us only rain while we were running. this however was another matter all together. after quick hugs and goodbyes, we scattered. the sleet was coming down hard.
i was running with untied shoes, a blanket over me, my 50 pound backpack, a sleeping bag, and harry's and chilli's umbrellas. this i think was the hardest part of the race. when we finally boarded the shuttle, my legs were shaking and my head was spinning. of course i was too tired to think. i had slept about 2 hours. i had an emotional breakdown earlier. i was thankful to see my family, so have my fussy clinging to me. and yet, i was bummed that another race was over. and not just any race. the wasatch back isn't about making great time. i mean, it can be, i think, if you want. it wasn't about showing each other up. it's about doing something that is hard, with people who want you to succeed. and i think that is what makes it so amazing. it's cheering each other one. its about caring for your teammates. it's about owning their speed, or their hills, as much as your own. it's about becoming more than the sum of your speeds. or distance. or hills.
and that is why we do it.