Accepting a Physical Challenge
This one is the one that makes my heart pound and sends a few fear goose bumps down my spine. I get scared thinking, what if I am running at night? Not to mention, I am not sure I can even run that far. If you read my article last month you know I accepted the challenge to run the Ragnar overnight relay race with a team of twelve women in February.
As a recap for new readers…this is a two day event where we take turns running anywhere from 2 to 11 miles at a time, we run day to night and night to day until we make it from Miami all the way down US 1 (aka The Overseas Highway) to Key West.
We all joined the team not knowing what distances we would be asked to run. Recently, our team captain assigned our runner numbers. I am runner #3. This means I know the actual three legs I’ll be running.
My schedule has me starting with an ‘easy’ 2.4 miles in the streets of Miami. Easy is subjective right? The Ragnar organizers label each leg with a ‘difficulty level’ based on length, road conditions & accessibility to support vehicles.
Leg #1 seems do-able seeing I am able to run about 3.5 miles comfortably.
Leg #2 is what they label a ‘very hard’ 8.2 miles through the edge of the everglades over Card Sound Road and ends in Key Largo. This one is the one that makes my heart pound and sends a few fear goose bumps down my spine. I get scared thinking, what if I am running at night? Not to mention, I am not sure I can even run that far.
Leg #3, my last leg, is the icing on the cake. This is a ‘moderate’ 4.8 miles from the end of the Seven Mile Bridge to Old Bahia Honda Bridge. This is a stunning section of US1. The shallow sandy bottom and clear turquoise waters mark some of the most picturesque channels in The Keys. I get to run over five bridges here ending at an area known as The Horseshoe.
Though the race is not over at this point and there is 35 miles to go for my team, I see The Old Bahia Honda Bridge soon becoming a symbol of my courage and strength in overcoming my fear of running.
I still have 12 weeks to go. I had a minor setback with my knee about four weeks ago and had to stop my training to focus on strength & stretching for my legs. A condition called tendinitis seems to be something that many runners get; mine was caused from a slight misalignment in my kneecap. Good old fashion leg lifts and resistance work with rubber bands has helped me get back to my running.
I face fears weekly. The 8-mile run still scares me. But I have this drive and energy that keeps me going. Not sure if that energy within me is courage or just some blind faith but I’d like to think this is my courage that is pushing me forward.
Click here to read more from my I Am a Runner journey.