for those of you have never heard of it or are wondering what is it really like to run for 30+ hours on about 3 hours of sleep with quads that burn with the heat of a thousand suns...i'm here to tell you. the experience as a whole, was really awesome. i know i sound like one of those crazy people you see on tv that are like, "i love the pain!!" but, seriously, it was incredibly empowering to be with a team and accomplish such a great task that most of us have never even dreamed possible before boarding the 15 seat van and heading up to the top of mount hood. yes, we started this crazy train at the top of mount hood and slowly (but surely) made our way out west to the pacific ocean by way of hwy 30 and some other hardly ever traversed, narrow back roads. my first leg was all down hill for about 5 1/2 miles. i was pretty nervous about it because i had never run that far straight down before. i worried about my toes and my quads, but other than just being a tad monotonous, it was good and i made better time that i ever had in my almost 31 years. one down, two to go...
the next five hours or so was filled with cheering and honking and eating power bars. then, we met up with the other van (which was actually a suburban with the other half our team in it) and handed off the magic blue bracelet. they had basically been hanging out waiting for us to get there, so now it was our turn to hang out and wait for them to finish their legs. one of the members of our team was able to acquire a hotel room near downtown portland so we headed there, cleaned up, and got ready to take off again...what? run again? are you serioius...you're asking...yes, i'm totally serious. it came time to run another almost 6 miles. i waited for the first leg to finish and then grabbed the blue bracelet and took off again. that leg was great. i went a little faster than i probably should have and, as it turns out, tied my shoes a little too tight so as to crunch my nerves and tendons together into a ball of extreme pain that wouldn't subside until the end of last week...hence the aftermath title.
anywho, that run felt good and it was now close to the middle of the night. we finished our legs and headed out to a random field to hunker down for the night...or two hours. we woke up and headed to the meetup place. at this point, my body is telling me in the most gentle way it can muster that there is no way in hades that it is going to run another 5 1/2 + miles. no way, i tell you. maybe 3ish, but not more than 5. i knew it was going to take a miracle and all i wanted was to switch with the girl ahead of me, but i didn't think it was possible, so i didn't even ask. second fatal mistake. note to self-next time, just ask. sheesh. anyway, i get on the road and take off feeling alright...for about 3 miles. my feet were done, my legs were done, my mental state, done. it was one of the only times in my life that i seriously considered that i was just going to sit on the side of the road and be...well...done. i honestly didn't know how i was suppposed to be able to finish, but i had to. i mean, it was pitch black outside, i was in the middle of nowhere and everybody and their sister was passing me like i was standing still (which, lets be honest i basically was). i went really slow, i had to stop and walk several times and i felt completely defeated.
i struggled when i got back to the van. i felt like a failure. it was really difficult for the pride level to know that i was one of the actual "runners" and i finished the slowest out of everyone. i learned some valuable lessons.
1. for goodness sake, do not tie your shoes too tight...what are you, dumb??
2. ask lindsay to switch legs. she's great...she'll totally do it! duh
3.it doesn't matter how fast you finish, it matters that you do. i know that sounds cliche, but i learned that its really, actually, totally true.
now that you've been to you know where and back with me, i hope you're still there :) i want you to know that after all the heartache. after all the actual ache. crossing the finish line with the whole team together was one of the most incredible feelings i've ever experienced. watching mark small climb the steepest hill i've ever driven a car up for more than 3 miles was breathtaking. coming together from so many walks (or jogs) of life, to accomplish a common goal was awe-inspiring.
i don't regret it.
i'll do it again...not so much in a heartbeat, but definitly in a year or two.
|the team at the triumphal end. aah...good times|