…continued from Ragnar Adirondacks Leg #2
Finally, off Ashley went for her third and final double leg!
It was freakin’ dark out there.
Once we got back to the car and caught up with her, we realized just how creepy the roads were. Legit country roads. No civilization. No lights whatsoever…even the moon was covered by clouds. Dark. Cold. Drizzling. At 4AM nonetheless. It was the perfect setting for a horror movie. I was driving and although this was a “no van support” leg (which basically just means you can’t park on the side of the road), and although you’re not technically allowed to drive alongside your runner since the roads are always open (remember that Nike ad?!)…there was pretty much no one else out there…so we did it. (SHHH.) Not even many Ragnar vans passed us. So, we drove alongside Ashley when we could, and also checked on the few other relayers trudging along in the night. It looked SO tough. I’d like to think that the illumination from our headlights was comforting, at least! We drove up on an older man who was obviously struggling. I asked him if he needed anything, to which he replied “just a new hip!”.
Dang, we were all out.
So, we hung around him for awhile, continuously checked back in on Ashley, and eventually made our way to the next exchange where Erin grabbed the slap bracelet for the last time. It was still freezing and the sky was still dark.
And then Erin did pushups in the middle of her run. Enough said.
I was up next. My stomach was HURTING. It had felt a little weird the entire relay, I think just due to anxiety. Or maybe all the candy corn. And the lack of sleep. And dehydration. The odds were not in my favor for these 7.9 miles…my longest of the relay. But screw the odds. I had some running to do.
The sun was coming up, it was my last leg, and it was going to be an absolutely beautiful rave run through the Adirondacks.
So off I went. It was still raining, but the colors in the trees were so vibrant that when I got to mile 6, I vaguely recall asking the girls if it was actually possible that I’d run 6 miles. I thought my Garmin was malfunctioning. I passed two ladies walking, and they smiled and said “don’t forget to enjoy the scenery!” It was sweet and caused me to look up and see the prettiest little valley and stream down to my right.
Up to mile 5-ish, I was all “PSH. Ragnar. ‘Very Hard’? This is nothing.” Then the whole “I’m running up a mountain” thing turned real.
While I felt pretty good for the majority of the run, I was extremely thankful when Laura jumped in to tackle the last mile with me. I had slowed WAY down at his point…I would have been really miserable without her company!
Maybe my stomach was turning. It was early. I barely slept. I’d been in a van for 24+hours. I hadn’t even been running back-to-back days leading up to this for fear of re-injuring myself. But I did it. I finished all of my legs. I felt strong. Pain-free. Unbelievably happy and fulfilled and empowered.
We sent Laura off for her last leg, and as we were walking to the car some guys from the Sesame Street team (yes, that Sesame Street) who we’d been leapfrogging with all night gave us a pizza. It was the most amazing gift ever. We may or may not have waved it out the window to motivate Laura to run faster. Although she’s so fast I don’t know if that’s even possible.
Van 1 was DONE! But, we still had some unfinished business…some cheering and some crossing-the-finish-line business. And just a quick little van nap. I tried to keep my eyes open long enough to enjoy the scenery on our drive to the finish line.
We got there, noted where exactly the beer tent was, changed into comfy clothes, and then proceeded to sort-of pass out for a couple hours.
When we heard Dayna, the last runner in van 2, was getting close, we woke up to move the RAV closer to where van 2 ending up parking. As we were slowly driving through the
parking lot empty field in a still-sleepy haze, a guy taps on the window.
“There’s a pizza on your roof!”
WE LEFT THE PIZZA BOX ON THE ROOF.
I don’t think I need to explain why or how this happened. (But just in case you’re not with me, it’s because we were stupidly delirious.)
After a good laugh we perked up a bit and anxiously waited for Dayna..
…as she arrived, we tossed her her jersey, told her our impromptu finish line agenda, and joined together to run under the giant inflatable arch we’d been dreaming about for months. All us maids ran ahead and threw fake flower petals on the ground (GET IT!? Like flower girls? See what we did there?) and then created a bridge with our arms for Bride Lora to run under. She carried our 4 safety flags like a bouquet. Genius, I tell you.
And now, for a million more photos:
We eventually made our way back to the MOST AMAZING HOUSE EVER that Lora found for us in Lake Placid. It was literally 5 minutes from the finish line, and was the perfect, most cozy, wonderful, homey house. I wouldn’t have wanted to stay anywhere else. We were able to grill out, eat ice cream, drink wine, and cuddle by the fire in our sweatpants as we rehashed the weekend.
The next day, we explored a little of Lake Placid. I use the term explore loosely, as we just went to have breakfast and to a bakery.
This was, hands down, one of the best weekends and best experiences I’ve ever had.
I truly feel like I can do anything. I’m already ready for Ragnar Relay Part 2.
This is the definition of a runner’s high.