Mile Seven Dedication: Tough Mudder/Ragnar

Long distance running is an individual sport. It is a personal challenge. It is something in which you don’t have anyone else needing something from you.

Unless you run a Ragnar. Or a Tough Mudder.*

In both of these situations, there is an extra drive. There are the gnawing words in the back of your brain to not quit because you have people depending on you.

I know people who enjoy keeping running as just an individual sport, but over the last couple years I have completely fallen in love with these team events. What you find in these events is a camaraderie that is completely unexpected.

Somehow being stuck in a van for two solid days with unshowered, gross runners and having nothing to do but get to know each other will make some pretty quick friendships.

Similarly, going through an event where certain obstacles (for most people) REQUIRE a team encourages trust and a confidence in others that we would get through everything TOGETHER.

Both of these events have been incredibly memorable for me, but what made them so was the people. My teammates. All 21 (soon to be 32) of them.

So mile seven is for them. For baton handoffs at three in the morning and shared sunrises over Lake Michigan. For double-digit miles on less than two hours of sleep and for the best pancake breakfast in the land. For a solid boost over a Berlin Wall and the one clean part on someone else’s shirt where you can wipe your eyes. For orange headbands and cold Dos Equis.

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*Or some other events, I’m sure, but these are the that stand out to me.

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Ready to Run

Earlier today I got to spend some time texting back and forth with my aunt Melissa about our upcoming Tough Mudder. I’ve got to say, it is infectiously exciting to talk about upcoming races.

This is the part of running I’ve missed. This is the part that has been coming back full force, which has caused some sort of crazy spurt of committing to races, of finding new things to read about running, of spending most of my time just talking about running. It’s awesome.

One year ago at about this time I was getting started on my final leg of Ragnar Chicago. Last night I got to go grab ice cream with my buddy Dan, the captain of that Ragnar team as he was on his way to Kansas for a half iron man. It reminded me how much I loved that atmosphere, how much I have MISSED that atmosphere.

So on Tuesday I’m signing up for the Glass Slipper Challenge, which happens during Disney Princess weekend in Orlando. 10k one day, half marathon the next. Kind of like a tamed down Goofy Challenge. I think I’m going to have to make a Disney race a yearly tradition, as running through the parks is pretty amazing. It will be a girls’ weekend with a bunch of fantastically awesome ladies. I really can’t wait.

It’s become incredibly evident lately how many friends have turned into running buddies, and how many people who started as running buddies have become great friends.

Even in the blog world this is true. My latest blog crush is Janae from Hungry Runner Girl. Can I just tell you how much I adore reading her stuff? She’s super adorable, her baby makes my ovaries explode with every picture, and her positivity and dedication are absolutely admirable. She’s also CRAZY fast, which is just fun to witness.

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Now comes the hard part. Now comes the getting my body to cooperate with running.

Over the last few weeks, my runs with GCB have been cut short because of a very mean left knee. One quick search of Dr Google leads me to believe that the IT band issues I had post-marathon have worked their way south to bother my knee. If it’s not one joint, it’s the other. Boo.

But that’s that. Work hard, train hard, race hard. More than all of that? I want to have fun with all of this. I want to wear tutus and laugh through races and enjoy the times with some pretty amazing friends.

Oh man it’s going to be a good year.