Ragnar; The Race of My Life
This is a Ragnar experience from Jen’s point of view. What is something hard that you have overcome in your life. We would love to hear your story.
I am not a runner
Oh Ragnar, how I do NOT love you so….
So many people love to run, I am not one of them. I have a crooked spine, and so running causes me a lot of pain.
What I do love is the feeling of accomplishment, the ability to know I can overcome discomfort and pain with sheer determination, and being with my friends.
A large portion of my friends are runners. They love to run, and can run really far, pretty easily. I was envious of their hobby, and when presented with the opportunity to join them in a race, I was in. My friends, and a trip, it seemed like a no brainer!!
Here is how it went for me though; I started training, and by 6 weeks in, was hurt. The curvature in my spine caused my hips and legs, to be really angry as I pushed them to run each day.
I loved how powerful I felt every time I completed a run, but wondered how I would ever make it to the race, as well as through the race!! I was also so excited my running friends had invited me to go, that I didn’t want to let them down. I had to complete each of my race legs without fail.
I started physical therapy 3 X a week to help my aching body cope. I was stretched, massaged, and iced (my least favorite thing!!!) hoping I could recover enough to run.
I also quit training. I called the training I did good, and knew it would be my mind that won this race, I just hoped my body could hang in there while it did so!!
Here is the thing… I look back on my Ragnar Race with a lot of heartfelt emotion for a large variety of reasons.
I loved being with my friends, but the emotional rollercoaster that physical hardship can create far outweighs any of the memories I have of the actual trip.
In Ragnar Races, you run a series of legs as a team to complete approximately 200 miles over 36 hours. I had 3 legs. My first was 2.3 miles, which I through would be a piece of cake. My second was a 6 miler, at 2 AM, and my 3rd, who knows, I literally don’t even remember.
Ready to Run
Here is what I remember…
Leg 1: I started the 2 miler in good spirits, and pretty good condition. As I rounded the first corner I realized my 2.3 miles was all uphill. I am from AZ, we don’t even have hills. The knowledge that I had no choice kicked in, and I ran. I ran slow, but I finished, and the next team member took the baton and continued on.
Leg 2: I don’t physically remember much from this leg. It was the middle of the night, I was running through Beverly Hills Ca, and it was 2 AM. There were homeless all over, and I think I ran steady out of discomfort in my surroundings. I just wanted to finish.
Leg 3: The physical effects of Leg 1 & 2 had now taken their toll, and my body was hurting. I knew my last leg would be difficult, but that I could do it. I had already decided I would finish, and now it was go time.
Sometimes the Stars Align
It is funny how things align perfectly sometimes. The area I was running my last leg in was an area of California our family had vacationed in for years. I literally ran right past the beach house that we rented each summer.
A few summers before my race, we spent our last vacation there. My Cousins little girl had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Our family took her to the beach and spent those days hanging on to every minute knowing it would be our last time all together, there.
As I ran, I thought of Jaydie. I thought of all the treatments she went through, the pain she endured, and the sheer determination she showed us as she fought to live.
In those moments, I ran for Jaydie. Nothing I was experiencing even came close to the battle she had fought. Her brain tumor took her from us, but I would not let it win that day. Although every step felt as if my tendon in my knee would tear, I kept running, and I finished.
The Sweet Reward
As soon as I crossed my finish line, I remember vividly the overwhelming emotions that I felt. I called my cousin and told her how I ran for Jaydie, and that I was able to complete my legs.
I think the joy of running comes from the ability to feel ourselves overcome hardship. It reminds us of our strength, and our power to survive. It can take us to our breaking point, and serve as a foundation of power for years to come.
I have not ran a step since that Ragnar. It has been several years, but I have never forgotten my ability to do something hard, and to overcome every ounce of doubt my mind could create. I did not win the race, but I was a winner. I did it, and I know I can do hard things.
Live Each Moment
Our sweet Jaydie lives on in all the things we do each day. She reminded us how important each moment is, and how unimportant things, are.
My life changed after losing her. I look at everything with a greater perspective. If I feel a decision will benefit my family, I am in. If I feel it will not, I am out.
Time is to short to waste. Travel remains one the ways I feel our family is growing closer. The memories we make, the places we see, and the desire we create to do more strengthens us, and for that I am grateful.
So, I say; run a race. Whatever that may mean for you. Show yourself the power of your mind, and your ability to win in a life that can sometimes seem unbeatable. You have this!! I believe in you.