“resilience in the face of adversity
Never heard of the Ragnar Relay? Let me try to describe it for you. It is a trail run relay that consists of three loops. The green loop a 4.1 mile trail fairly flat with a few rolling hills overlooking beautiful river views. A yellow loop 4.5 miles through rolling hills, deep woods, a few creek crossings and a 1 mile climb up a steep hill to finish the course. The last trail loop was a 7.3 mile loop. This was my favorite loop even though it was the longest. The terrain was mostly flat and spent 2-3 miles running along side a scenic river that seemed to make the time go by quickly until 5 mile where they through in a nice 1 mile climb before cruising into the finish line.
You have two relay options a 4-person team that runs each loop twice and an 8-person team that runs each loop once. CFSS had teams representing both types of teams. Our gym sent 12 brave soles out this event. Did I mention this race never stops and runs for 36 hours? So some of those miles were ran in pitch black in the wee hours of the night with only a headlamp on lighting the path! So each member of the team takes turns running each of these trails if you were lucky enough to be on a four person team you got to do each trail twice. So for the people on the 8 person team each member ran about 15.9 miles and 31.8 miles for the 4 person team.
We all arrived to the Otter Creek State park around 11:30 to a windy water soaked camp site. It was muddy, cold and windy from the start. Both teams from the gym had a 1:30 start time. This gave us time to set up camp, pick up our registration packets, and watch the safety video( yes a safety video this should have been a sign).
As a gym we have barely been open a year and this was the first big event we have went out as a group to attack. Most people had never done a trail race. The majority had never run over a 5k. We used a 12 week interval training plan building volume with strength training as our base. Yes STRENGTH training; besides being harder to kill, strong people recover much faster. Strength is also very important for trail running because the terrain is unforgiving, athleticism is important.
This weekend was everything I LOVE about what I do all wrapped up into one. I love to see people get outside of there comfort zone. I think it is liberating. I watched personal growth happen right before my eyes. It was cold, muddy windy and none of that mattered. We sat around our camp told stories, laughed and nearly shed a few tears. We supported each other through the elements on very little sleep and no running water. When you start talking about how nice the port-a-potties are that gives you some level of understanding.
As a Trainer, I am extremely proud of what we are doing at CFSS. This weekend was just further proof. In an environment that is designed to test you all along the way. Our 8 person team thrived. Each runner was pushing the pace running much harder than they ever expected and thriving. What more can you ask for? They put in the training and went out and excelled.
I was a part of the 4 person ultra team. All I can really say it was the hardest endurance event I have ever done and I have a few under my belt. I wanted to quit too many times to name. I, now share a bond with each of my team members I will never forget.
I think I can speak for everyone who participated in thanking SB Parido for being a such great team mom and support system for all of us your positive attitude was infectious.
You might ask why would anyone want to do something like this? I think the idea of committing to something training and accomplishing it is pretty special. It shows dedication. These are the kind of people I want to surround myself with. The dedicated ones. Did I mention I feel bullet proof today. That was the hardest thing I have ever done, I survived, besides a few sore muscles we are all better for it. We ditch the comfort of our homes and put ourselves out there. I find a tremendous amount of value in that.