The first weekend of November, me and 11 of my buddies ran a 195 mile relay race from Chattanooga to Nashville. When I say this, people immediately think we have lost our marbles, and to be honest, about halfway through the race, we thought we had too. But now that we have had our fair share of hot showers and comfortable beds between then and now, the group has collectively agreed that we are up for facing the challenge again.
The race started in Chattanooga on a Friday morning, and we ran day and night, up and down hills across the most scenic terrain East Tennessee has to offer. Each team member ran 3 legs, each leg ranging between 3 to 8 miles and varying in difficulty.
And when I say each team member, I mean each team member except me. I went into the race with a foot injury that had left me benched the previous week, but I was determined to participate in this epic adventure. This was probably not a great decision, but we runners are a stubborn breed, so in my mind this was the only option.
Van 1 was up first, so we represented our team at the starting line.
Allie ran first. At the exchange, she passed me the slap bracelet a.k.a baton, and I set out on my first leg, a 6.2 miler. Much to my shock, I was able to finish it. I may have run the last two miles on my toes to compensate for the agony in my feet, but I made it nonetheless.
But that’s all that I could muster. I foolishly considered running my next leg, which would have taken place around 5 am, but my crew convinced me that this was a horrible idea and valiantly picked up the slack. Total rockstars. I adopted a new role as the official team cheerleader, and somewhere along the way, I developed a sore throat and cold and eventually lost my voice. Must have had something to do with the freezing conditions or the lack of sleep, take your pick.
Despite my injury and muteness, the race was a total blast. It was a cross between a slumber party, a camping trip, and a marathon sprinkled with a healthy dose of sleep deprivation. We leapfrogged across the state cheering for our runners and making sure they had plenty of water, snacks, and love. Our runners booked it up mountains in the rain, with sleet pelting them in the face, and in the depths of the night with nothing but the stars as their guide.
We finished the run in 30 hours, 43 minutes, and 28 seconds. Here we are with our medals!
The comaradarie was awesome, and the adventure was exhilerating. This was one of the absolute coolest running experiences I have ever been a part of. I’m so proud of all my RagnaRockers, and I can’t wait to run another race with our team – preferably this time in a warmer climate and without injury.