Early in 2014, my mom had this crazy idea to put a Ragnar team together for Ragnar DC.
My answer was no way. I don’t have time. I’m still recovering from the ankle sprain. It’s in NCBF’s busy season with fun day. September is an emotionally exhausting season for me and I’m not sure I have it in me. And a million other reasons. But she wouldn’t let it go. So before I knew it, I relented, and said “Okay we will form a team but I can’t run it. I don’t have time to train and I need to let my ankle heal.” Of course, before I knew it I has signed up to run it as well! Then before we knew it we had enough interest that we formed not just one but TWO teams!
Ragnar? Wondering what it is I’m talking about. Ragnar is an overnight relay series where teams of 12 run 200 miles in two days and overnight. A race where your run, maybe eat, probably won’t sleep, and make some really awesome memories. A race where you have to step outside your comfort zone and be willing to just have fun while you run!
Several months ago, 2 teams formed. Some family members, some friends, some friends of friends… some people I’d never met. I was nervous heading into Ragnar about spending time with people I’d never met who were running for Team Nate and Go Out Be Great. The interesting thing was, bonds formed instantly. Because we were all in the same situation, stepping out of our comfort zone, running high mileage over 2 days without sleep, we were all scavengers for healthy food, all “showering” with baby wipes, and we all had the same goal… We were DC Bound for Go Out Be Great with one sweet boy watching over us.
This is an extremely exhausting season for me for many reasons. Grief is exhausting, trying is exhausting, surrendering is exhausting, getting into the back to school routine is exhausting, and planning is stressful for fall events. So, I left for Ragnar, and I left it all behind for the weekend. I brought Nate’s spirit but the rest had to be left behind so I could focus. I had one goal. Running 14 miles at my goal pace.
There are so many stories, stories of strength and admiration, stories of inspiration, funny moments, and memories I want to share but if I did this could go on forever! There’s one story in particular that was the most special moment on this 36 hour journey. After running all three of my legs, around 14 miles total, feeling exhausted and worn down from lack of sleep and proper nutrition, I was running on adrenaline alone. One of our runners was injured and unable to run her last leg of the race. Another runner and I picked up her last leg because at Ragnar, that’s what you do. As a friend, that’s what you do. You help each other out. On my final, and unexpected, last 1.8 miles of Ragnar I was nervous I would be to tired to run, my muscles too fatigued to move, and my body would just give out. But something came over me, about a half mile into that run I felt like I was floating. I was gliding along a paved path beside the road where traffic breezed by as I looked down at my Garmin watch. I quickly saw myself running at by far my fastest pace of the race (and maybe ever) as I ran with ease. I literally felt like I was floating. Tears began to stream. Mid run… I was full on crying, tears streaming down my face. I began to talk to Nate and to God. I thanked them both for this journey and for their help through it all. I wasn’t alone in those moments. Maybe it was pure exhaustion, maybe I was delirious, or maybe a sweet angel took me by his wings and helped me through that last run.
I want to go back and do Ragnar all over again. It was an amazing experience. It was also 36 hours in time that I didn’t have to face reality. It seemed that we were so in tune with each other, the run, directions for the van driver, and monitoring our runners that the outside world seemed centuries away. As crazy as it may sound, that near 16 mile run was easy compared to “life” itself.
I am so proud of our team. I am so proud of every runner who ran a race in honor of Team Nate – Go Out Be Great this season. To learn more about races for Go Out Be Great teams email us at GoOutBeGreat@nathanchrisbaker.com and we will connect you to the Go Out Be Great running page on Facebook!