Ragnar, oh how I love thee…

1) Meeting my van mates for the first time.  Not the scary airport meeting of my team – because that reception line (being the 11th team member to arrive) was awkward.  But the hysterical chit chat as we drove north to our hotel – the rambunctious mascot hatching plans that bonded us immediately.

2) The actual chicken napping & the “ransom” photos we sent along to van one. Also, covertly tagging other vans brought much joy & laughter.

3) Exchanges 6-12: Brandy who we almost missed midway through leg 6 because she was extra speedy.  Donald with his Hulk hands (even if it was a bad idea to run in them).  Lucy with the biggest smile in the world while she ran.  Handing off the slap bracelet to Thomas who picked up 15 road kills (I’ll take the assist on one or two of those).  And John with a 10.8 mile leg and ran it like he was taking a leisurely stroll.  I don’t know how I feel about leg 10 (my leg) because I felt like I was running faster than normal because I thought it would be the only leg I was going to run well.  Except I didn’t run it faster than normal.

4) Getting to change out of my sweaty clothes at exchange 12 and attempt to sleep.  Futile effort.

5) Fell in love with my ear plugs & my eye mask.  Godsend.  (Also, totally helpful with the early morning sunrises in the Pacific Northwest, especially if you like to sleep in.)

6) Leg 22.  4.8 miles starting in Anacortes (where my family’s sailboat was docked) at 3 a.m. in the morning.  And feeling so energized & alive as I ran in the dark.  The red blinking lights of runners ahead, sometimes forming a line of fireflies in the distance.

7) Running in the dark.  Period.  End of story.  On my list of all time favorites.  Not being able to see but a few feet in front of you.  Sometimes, seeing the tall pine trees lit up as a van passes.  And then total darkness.  Nothing but my own feet & the steps directly in front of me.

8) Crossing Deception Pass in darkness & remembering what its like to sail below it.

9) One point five hours of sleep.  In a noisy cafeteria.  (Thank you earplugs!)  Surrounded by leagues of sleeping bags & running shoes.

10) Running my last leg.  (But not the heat.  Or the hills.)  Seeing my teammates 4.2 miles into it with cheers & water.

11) Running down hill into my last exchange knowing I’d just accomplished a pretty amazing feat.  13.7 miles on 1.5 hours of sleep.

12) All the “way to go’s” and “keep it ups” I received from runners.  (Okay, so it was as they passed me – I was an easy road kill mark.)

13) Sitting in the van knowing I had no more legs to run.  Waiting for our last runner to meet our team at the finish line & running across as one big team.

14) Dinner in Seattle with my favorite Canadians who reminded me we’re all on a running journey.

15) My love for running (and my confidence in running) was restored.