12 People. 2 Minivans.
Start: 6:30 a.m. on September 24th in Cumberland, MD
End: around 4 p.m. on September 25th at National Harbor in D.C.
Each person ran 3 legs varying in length and difficulty.
I was in van 2, runner 8. Which means I ran my first leg (5.6 miles) in the heat of the day (97 degrees) up a mountainside. Have you ever run uphill and finally see, in the distance, the top of the mountain? You feel such relief as you reach the peak, about to cruise downhill. Except, when you get there, you see that it's just a hairpin turn and what lies in front of you is not a glorious downhill slope, but more mountain as far as the eye can see. If you haven't, let me tell you it's devastating. If I had not sweat away any trace of fluid in my body, I would have cried. It was bad.
Just standing around being kind of a big deal.
My second leg (5 miles) was around midnight. It was fantastic, which was a huge surprise for me. I didn't feel ready for it. I didn't think my legs would even function after that first experience. But the weather was cool and the course was mostly a gradual downhill slope. It was me, the moon, some old country roads, a few cows and I enjoyed every second of it.
A bunch of the team sporting the required night gear.
My final leg (6.1 miles) was the next day around noon. It was hot. Again. I followed the Rock Creek/Capital Crescent Trail near D.C. I was officially spent. Having a difficult time putting one foot in front of the other. I reached the top of a small hill and look up to see the spires of the D.C. Temple above the trees. I felt rejuvenated, if only for a few minutes. It was incredible. Blah, blah, blah more running and feeling miserable and then... I finished. I was done. It was over for me. I may have shed a tear or two brought on by a complex combination of exhaustion, joy, pain, pride, etc...
Van 2 peeps.
The team met at the finish and waited for the text from Dan, our last runner. He let us know when he was about a mile and a half out, so that we could meet him and cross the finish together. I believe his text said something about his legs being mush and he felt like he was dying. Maybe. I can't remember exactly. He rocked it, like the rockstar he is, and we all ran with him for the last 100 yards or so. And it was done. We had cumulatively run nearly 200 miles on little to no sleep, cramped inside two minivans and all we could talk about at the finish was doing it again next year.
The boys. Staying classy.
This experience was unforgettable and I had some pretty amazing company.
Team We're Kind of a Big Deal sporting our medals, which were kind of a big deal.