Reflection: 200 miles on foot with my Chix

Ragnar Relay Chicago. Nearly 200 miles, on foot, traveling from Madison  to Chicago, via Milwaukee. It is insane. For the third year in a row, the Fit Chix with Quick Stix have run. I ran in 2011 and again this year. I hate running, but the meaningful friendships I have built in the process are priceless.

THE Fit Chix with Quick Stix

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We are women. Ages 30-5osomething. Mothers. Teachers. Business owners. Former military. Former athletes. Ironman finisher. Computer geeks. Analysts. Super Heroes. Friends. Cancer survivor. 100-pound loser. Prancers. Singers. Frolickers.

This year’s team consisted of women I have known for years – some just a few and one for 8 years. One I met Friday afternoon for the first time. Former coworkers. Former clients. My BLPE (best lifting partner ever – sorry everyone else). Woman I have no connection to other than the fact that we know the same person who invited her to run Ragnar.

The experience

The journey is indescribable. I cannot put it into words. Those who were there, know. The bonds you build while working as a team to run 200 miles is one that cannot be broken. While one person runs, the other 11 (or this year 10) sit in the vans – providing runner support, driving to the exchanges, and tormenting one another. We sing. Sometimes we cry (no criers in my van this year). We laugh. We reach delirium. We try to sleep. We eat, drink, and change clothes in the van. We support one another. We build one another up. It is a sort of therapy.

The growth

While you get to know your vanmates well along a 200-mile journey, you also get to know yourself. This event requires courage and heart. Varying degrees of fear are faced with determination while running alone in the middle of the night.

What is your physical endurance after being awake for 24+ hours?

Do you talk more or less when you are overtired?

How do you function when you are off your routine?

Do you place pressure on yourself to do well – even when the team is telling you this is all about fun?

How do you endure the annoyances of others when you are tired?

There are countless opportunities for personal growth. Personally, it is an opportunity for me to form intimate relationships – something that is VERY difficult for me. It is also as opportunity for me to grow physically, improving my endurance. 200 miles also requires a mental strength – requiring you to run when the last thing you want to do is run. For example, we discussed how sometimes when we are running we are tired and want to close our eyes – convinced we will feel better if we could just close them and rest for a bit.

There is no I in team

We had a few blips this year. The day before the race we had a medical emergency eliminate a runner. We sent her our love and prayers and the Chix stepped to the plate to cover the miles. When we heard – all the Chix volunteered to help with the miles. Switching legs, picking up miles – we would do what it took to get the job done.

Partway through, one of our Chix did not feel well – stuffed up, migraine. It looked like she might be out! We rearranged legs. We let her rest. She did come back to life – and she smashed her runs. She even prancersized into the exchange!

The bottomline

I do not have much to say. I am typing this as I ride a bus back to Minneapolis. I have met fellow Ragnarians – each of us with unique stories and experiences to share.

There are no words to describe the amazingness of the experience. I am proud of my self for completing the rewarding event and overcoming obstacles. I am proud of my Chix – each overcoming obstacles, trails, and tribulations of her own. And we have another experience of a lifetime to add to our memory banks!

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