Monday, October 28, 2013

Stages of Ragnar

When I first heard about theTennessee Ragnar Relay relay I was listening to sweat-covered athletic adrenaline junkees tell me all about how great it would be.  “It’s freaking awesome!  You run all night, you don’t sleep.  It’s hills and people get on your nerves. It’s freaking awesome!”   Apparently I'm easy.
This was all the encouragement I needed.  Sounded great to me.  I signed up.

So I found myself in the Couples Therapy Van 2 Friday morning headed to meet Van 1 that started in Chatanooga where we would start our first legs of the relay.

 The late renowned psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about the stages of grief:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  Little did I know as we headed down the highway to start our run that I would soon start my own “Stages of Ragnar.” The following is an account of my transition through those phases:

Stage one:  pre race-9 p.m. Denial.  This is the stage where you tell yourself, “Hey!  This is going to be amazing!  In fact, this is going to be EASY--I mean, look at all these people that have done it.  Wait, is that a pregnant woman?  Yeah, it IS a pregnant woman.  See, I knew it was easy!  And look, they call that one leg suck creek mountain! How fun is that? This is going to be epic!! I especially cannot wait until those late night runs--that is so cool we get to run in the dark.  I mean, it might be a little freaky, but look at this cool new head lamp I bought! And I have new blinkie lights! Yay!  

You know what  else is going to be great--all these people I get to spend time with.  Isn’t it cool that we all have such different personalities?

Some of them are just so peppy and happy.! That sure is going to come in handy in the middle of the night! And the one, who looks a little grouchy already? Bet she is just a night person and will really pep it up later! Wasn't it a great idea to do this with my husband? What a memory we will make! 

And look at this van! 

  Isn’t it fun how we managed to pack all this gear into one small space? We are such fantastic packers.  It looks so organized and fun and look at all the bake cookies and trail mix and peanut m &ms and diet coke.  This is going to be like the best slumber party ever!”

Stage two:  8 p.m.-2 a.m.  Anger:  “Whose freaking stupid idea was this?   Why is it so freaking cold out here?  Who makes these freaking vans so uncomfortable?  Why does everyone have so much freaking crap?  What is wrong with all these freaking people in this van?  Why don’t they shut up? They want me to get out of the van and cheer? CHEER? I hate cheering.  I hate trail mix.  I freaking hate cookies.  Who is that man who keeps telling me to move my crap and why does he keep calling me honey? Wait, I invited my husband to do this thing? Why would I do that? Why am I here? What the crap was I thinking?”

Stage 3:  2 a.m. -6 a.m.  Bargaining:  

“Dear God, please, PLEASE just let me survive this run.  Just let me not get killed in the dark by a stabber guy.  Don’t let me trip and flip my body down this mountain. Don't let me get bit by a wolf or a dog.   If I do die God, don’t let me be wearing these tights Lord.  They are not all that comfortable and they make my butt look super big.    Dear God, if I do survive this run, I swear I will be kinder.  I will be nice to the people in this van.  I will be sweet to all the smug-faced runners that keep passing me and acting like they are sorry about it.   I will even be nice to the people who convinced me to do this race.  Just no stabber guys and no dead falls down this mountain and I will be a better person Lord.  I promise.”

Stage 4:  6 a.m. -3 p.m.  Depression:  I.AM.SO.TIRED.  So, so, so, so, so, so tired.  I am never going to finish, but that’s okay because if I stop I can lie down and just die here.  Right here.  I am going to just die in the middle of some random high school gym, while that big guy over there is snoring.  The good thing is that I am so cold that my body should be preserved for some time.

Stage 5:  3 p.m.-4:30:  Acceptance:  Last leg.  LAST leg!!!!!!    We are going to finish!!!  This is freaking awesome!  This is the most fun thing I have ever done in my life! 

 I am so lucky I got on this team with the funniest, sweetest, best people in the world!    Hard core runner people!   I can’t believe how fast we were.  Smokin fast! Wasn’t that brisk cold weather just so invigorating?  Best running weather ever and that clear cold just made the very few stars I could see just pop. It was just so peaceful out there running in the middle of the night!    By the way, pass me another no bake cookie and some trail mix--man this stuff is yummy.  I could chase it with a gu or a gatorade or something!  Running Ragnar was such a good call.  I was made for this stuff.  Wonder where our team could do our next Ragnar??  Maybe an ultra.