My introduction to anything Ragnar was back in February of 2013, when I had just started to become a serious runner. I had just completed my first half marathon and was ready to do my second, two weeks later, with one of my BRF’s, Annie. She invited me to a team meeting for a Ragnar race that she was thinking about doing. I sat down at a table full of strangers and learned all there was to know about doing a Ragnar Relay race. The signs, the vans, the traveling…. All of it way too hard core for me. And although the thought of participating in such a thing scared me away, I met a lot of cool people that day. Flash forward to October, 2014. Again, my running partner in crime, Annie, needed my help. She could not take her place on her Ragnar Trail team and asked me if I’d be interested. The thought of it still scared me, but I was trying to venture my way out of my comfort zone. I was reluctant, but I agreed. Nothing could have prepared me for the hellish hills of the Red Loop (my first leg) in the heat of the day. I don’t even know what my finish time was. All I know is, I was so happy to see Kyle. After that run, I thought, “never again”. I figured that I had had my Ragnar experience and that was that. But I still had two more legs to run. I was nervous about running the trails at night. My second leg, the Yellow Loop, was scheduled around 11pm. I don’t even recall if I had any night running practice at that point. Either way, it was my most favorite run of the weekend. I saw maybe 10 people out on the trail during the time that I was out there, but the majority of the time I was alone. And I wasn’t afraid. I had found a way out of my comfort zone. Leave it to Annie (again) to rope me into yet another adventure. Annie, a Ragnar SoCal veteran, was looking for more people to add to a Ragnar Relay team that she had joined. Even though the Trail and Relay races are vastly different experiences, I felt that I had conquered most of my (unknown Ragnar) fears at Vail Lake. “Sign me up!” I said. I even strung my sister along for the ride. This brings me to the love/hate portion. It’s kind of like pregnancy and childbirth…. There are parts of it, when you’re going through it, that are awesome and fun and rewarding. And then there are the rough, exhausting “why the hell am I doing this?” parts. After my second leg, just like at Vail Lake, I had made it over the hump. The lack of sleep and lack of sleep space was the worst of it. Everything else was THE BEST. The instant camaraderie with my team mates, the YouTube videos in the parking lot in Oceanside, the 3am comedy routine, the compiled list of quotes…. All worth it. And just like at Vail Lake, I made some awesome friends during Ragnar Relay SoCal. And I can’t wait to do it all over again.
Sometimes people are put in your life to make you stronger. Sometimes people are put in your life to challenge you. Or piss you off. Or stress you out. All of these people make you focus on what kinds of people you want to keep in your life, how you want to treat people and how you allow yourself to be treated. I am fortunate enough to have two very good running friends in my life right now. Both have had their share of challenges, physical and mental, yet they still keep running, striving to make themselves better. And they want their friends to be better too. I am lucky enough to be one of those friends.
Two years ago I had no desire to run a half marathon, simply because I didn’t think that I could. I had no desire to run a Ragnar race, because I was too scared. And a full marathon? No way. You see, I am afraid to leave my comfort zone. I am completely happy to just stay in my little box and keep things organized there. My thought is, if I become an expert at all things in my little box (comfort zone) then I don’t have to worry about making a mistake. I have won. And if I make a mistake? I have lost.
It makes all the difference when you have friends who believe in you. And they help you believe in yourself.
My friend Annie is one of those friends. Because of Annie I run half marathons. Because of Annie I participated in a Ragnar Trail Relay. And because of Annie I am now signed up to run a Ragnar Relay. Annie has helped me become a better version of myself. Annie is a lover of life and she wants to share great experiences with everyone. If it wasn’t for Annie, I wouldn’t have the running resume that I have now.
My other running friend is Allison. Because of Allison I am going to tackle my first full marathon. Allison is dedicated to her training plan(s), in all kinds of weather. She gets the job done. She runs half marathons like they’re second nature. For her I am grateful because she helps me believe in myself. She is selfless in every way and she pushes herself to achieve new goals. I am so grateful to have gotten lost with her on that bus to the runDisney expo last February.
Thank you, best running friends, for helping me to reach the next level. I am upping my game.