I just love these races. I have only done 2 but can’t wait to do more. The women I’ve had the privilege of being stuck in a car with for 2 days are amazing. We survive solely on willpower, wheat thins, string cheese, an occasional caffeine nip, and adrenaline. I find myself doing things I said I’d never do (nor have ever considered doing): running in the sleet, rain, and lightning for fun; sleeping (well, being horizontal and stretched out, if you call that sleeping) in what looks like a homeless tent village (i.e. a high school auditorium) for 3 hours; jamming myself and my gear in a car and living out of it for 31 hours; wearing a Wonder Woman costume in the middle of June because frankly, you feel like Wonder Woman when you see your legs on the course outline; paying serious cash to do this; and wishing, wanting, and hoping that I can do it again soon—very soon.
There is something about the finishing of that last leg that is so emotional. You are so tired. Your body aches. You just want to find a ditch somewhere and lay in it until an ambulance finds you. You only can move your legs because someone else down the line is depending on your transfer of a silly metal bracelet and that’s the only way out of this nightmare. You think of anything to just keep moving. And once you hit that ‘one mile to go’ marker you think about the sadistic person that created it and why it is really seems like 2 miles to go… and then you realize you see your teammate cheering you on to the transfer chute. You see the honey buckets. You see the person calling your number into the officials. Life suddenly gets better. You feel a little bit better. You (perhaps) smile. Or swear. Or both. And then the tears come. You’re done. You finished your part. Now to cheer on your team. And think about doing it all again—when is the next race and how quickly can I sign up?
I keep using the word ‘again’ when writing about this experience. The draw to this event, and running in general for me, is the release. I love the ability I have to get my body into a groove and push it. It is a time that is solely mine. As a mom, that is a rarity. It is a treasure. And my teammates feel the same way. We marveled at the fact that we were all able to get away—away from the household chores, the piano lessons, the baseball games, the violin concerts, the playdates, the doctor appointments. While we thought about our kiddos and hubbies, and missed them, we focused on ourselves and our abilities. We tucked in a little bit of time to celebrate our physical selves, rejuvenate our mental status, and enjoy the solemn moments while running at sunset, sunrise, in the elements, etc. I hope that as my kids get older, and see me get older, they can be proud of my accomplishments while wearing my running shoes. They’ll know that I can make cookies, provide service to others, change the bed sheets in record time, and make a mean meatloaf. But, they’ll also know that I take time for me to better myself according to my 3 Rs: through reading, through religion, and through running. My time away from them, in a car with 5 beautiful others sweating and stinking something awful, makes me a better mom. And a better wife.
So here goes that word that I keep using…Again, thank you to those who allowed me to run with them, and will run with me again. And again. And again. Thank you to Dave, Lincoln and Kate for supporting me in this quest again. And most important, again I express my sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the ability and responsibility of motherhood.