I gave you a taste of the Chicago Ragnar Relays last week HERE. It was a great experience and one where I can say that both myself and my teammates walked away with a new understandings of ourselves, our level of determination, and a certain respect for what each person was willing to sacrifice in order to finish this event. I absolutely admire and adore each of these women because they chose NOT to give up but rather to stay and run each and every mile of the event from Madison, WI to Chicago, IL. We started as 6 Ultra Badass Babes.
We finished as 5.
Runner/Babe #5 started her 12+ mile leg in the middle of FRI afternoon. Ran well. Ran happy. We supported her. We offered & she accepted cold water. We offered encouragement and forced her to drink and dose herself with water to protect her from the 83 degree heat and full sun. But it wasn’t enough. Babe #5 finished her run with a smile but soon thereafter succumbed to the horrible symptoms of heat stroke and dehydration. Babe #5 was admitted to the hospital where she could recover in a safe environment. We were sad to see her go. We were sad to “leave” her behind but we had a runner out on the trail in “somewhere” Wisconsin and it was impossible to be everywhere at once with one van and only 5 babes left to run the remaining 137 miles. Goodbye Babe #5.
I’ll admit, it was a little bit of a party in the beginning. A celebration of sorts that we were actually running Ragnar after all the talking, planning, and training. However, things turned serious after Babe #5 left. No more marking “killz” on the van window. No more checking off runs. No more counting down to the finish. Much like a marathon, we took it one mile at a time. We were also hyper aware that if we lost one more person that it was over. Like really over. I’m not sure any of us really believed that we would be able to finish with the remaining 5 but we were all experienced runners. We were all moms. We knew that if we breathed a word of doubt that it would take life and wreak havoc. The mind is a powerful thing and keeping it in check is sometimes the hardest part.
So we ran. Mile to mile. Exchange to Exchange. Ragnar sign to Ragnar sign.
And we kept passing off that
damn bracelet. (Stock photo, I neglected to get a pic of our bracelet AGAIN).
Our original plan was for each babe to run 2 Ragnar legs at one time, so that each person only ran 3 times. Yes, only 3 runs but double the mileage. This was our first mistake. While it looked good on paper, it was just too many miles during the heat of the day. So the babes who were running late morning and into the late afternoon really bared the brunt of the heat wave and it was not a good thing. Each of those babes came off their runs in poor shape. Hot. Miserable.
Bitchy. Dehydrated despite all attempts to keep them fueled and hydrated. Each one suffered mild signs of dehydration & heat stroke & we had a bunch of really MUSHY tummies. Because of their experience, most of them were able to force themselves to eat, drink and get themselves back on track quickly. Not a fun game but we played it. Over. And over again. And we just kept running.
Needless to say, our brains eventually activated
once they cooled off and we threw our predestinated scripts run mileage charts aside. Each babe got out of the van when it was her turn and ran what she could. We didn’t care if she ran 3 miles or 10 miles. We just focused on moving toward that finish line. We didn’t want any one babe to run more than she could handle because as was previously stated, if we lost one more babe, we would have been done. So we just kept moving Kept supporting each other. Kept checking on one another. Kept running, walking, crawling toward the finish.
The nighttime hours were hard. They are hard in any relay race. However, we had a van full of middle aged moms and well, we don’t stay up at night. We go to bed with the kids. So once 9pm rolled around it got hard. 11pm was bad. 1am sucked ass. I got out of the van to run at 2 or 2:30am to run 7 miles and it was basically a WTF moment. WTF was I thinking. WTF made me think we could do this with 5 babes. WTF was going to make my body RUN in the pitch black night thru the middle of Wisconsin. WTF was going to make my blistered plantar fasciitis feet move it for 7 miles. I was tired. Discouraged. Hurting.
But as with everything, it all worked itself out and eventually the sun came up. The sun always comes up if we can wait long enough, right? Well, it came up. And while it was dark we figured out the answer to riddle. Just run. No expectations on anyone. Just run. No judgment. Just run. No mileage requirements. Just run. Just run. Just run. And look badass while
Once the sun came up, it’s a bit of a blur. We were all exhausted. We had picked up a bit of a routine. Once a babe finished running, she would hydrate, fuel, stretch, relax, and eat real food. Then she would try to rest. After resting, she would drive or navigate. One babe was always running. One babe was always “on deck” with running shoes on and fuel belt filled, ready to jump in at any moment when Runner Babe called it quits. It worked. And we kept moving toward the finish. One mile at a time. Then I saw it.
I saw Chicago, across the beach and beyond the tress. And I knew we’d make it. I admit, I started crying. That was the first realization that we were going to finish. I knew we’d make it. Pure relief. And soon enough we were Ragnar FINISHERS. A mere 5 of us babes. I understand that other teams may have done it with fewer but this was a real accomplishment for us. Finishers.
We had some help a long the way. We had three generous
Family Fan Club – Custom Design Shirts & Van Decals
Huge thanks to everyone who made this Ragnar Chicago experience possible. From our sponsors, to our volunteers (Colleen, Nancy & Tammy), to our husbands and/or family/friends who helped with the kids, helped to shuttle us around and helped by sending well wishes and prayers, we thank you ALL.
Ragnar Chicago is in the books. It’s was an amazing accomplishment by 5 amazing women. Not one of us could have done it alone. And I’d like to thank Babe #5 for taking this journey with us and offering her continued support even after she left the relay.
** Experience Ragnar ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **