Reach the Beach – 208 Miles. 12 runners. 24-36 hours long (depending on how fast your team is). 2 vans. Lots of Lessons Learned with #TeamPumpedUpKicks
The last time I did Reach the Beach I was worried about everything Crohns related. While I am in no way adverse to Porta Potties, a girl has her limits … and I can say that I have successfully made it through 2 relay races without too much Crohns-y drama.
This time I almost forgot about anything Crohns and was focused on the thought of managing myself post appendectomy. It was just shy of 4 weeks after my surgery … and although I wasn’t 100% better, I was running 3 miles comfortably and figured I could pull it off (I know, I KNOW, insert obvious medical advisement here. I don’t always make smart decisions)
I was also well supported by the New Balance folks and some great friends who assured me that they would run if I needed them to. And so I went … and I am beyond happy that I did. Yes it was hard, and yes I felt pretty gross after that long without a shower, but I needed this. After a year like I’ve had, I needed to fight through a challenge like this and win.
My take away is best put in these 5 lessons:
1. The meaning of Teamwork.
The 5 other girls in my van rallied to help me at every single step of this race. From switch legs and running farther than they had to, to driving when they shouldn’t have had to, to letting me lay down when I needed they were truly there for me at every single minute. And they made me happy the whole way. Sisters in Sport.
(Missing Christine here – who was running! BTW love that appendix clutch … totally normal, eek …)
2. A baby wipe shower is an amazing thing.
Im pretty high maintenance with the shower thing, many days I shower more than once a day … so 3 runs, no showers and being in and around porta potties is a real challenge.
As a qualified clean freak, I am here to tell you that baby wipes and face wipes are the best thing that ever happened. And you can actually feel quite clean after a complete wipe down. #winning
3. Running in the dark is 3 things – exhilarating, frightening and emotional.
When I say dark, I mean dark. I mean New Hampshire backwoods, not lit, no street lamps dark. Good news is that the run flies by because you are thinking about the dark, not the run. Bad news is that its kinda scary. Headlamps and reflective gear help, but there is no getting around the fact that the dark is sometimes scary. With the fear comes emotions … I cried, a good cry, a wow I am pretty overwhelmed with exhaustion and I can’t believe I am doing this cry.
Tip: Stay close to your runner during these runs, even if they have a short leg. My van got a little lost and I barely saw them … which added to the emotional drama. We also did this to another one of the runners. It happens and its understandable, but try your best to stay close to your runner when its dark or you may have an emotional runner on your hands at transition!
4. If there was such a thing as a good porta potty, a Green Porta Potties would be it. (promise, last porta potty reference!)
Major points to the Reach the Beach organizers for using certified green portable toilets supplied by Dave’s Septic. All of the units use non-toxic chemicals and recycled paper and I swear they were not as gross as a porta potty usually is. There was plentiful Purel in each one. I really appreciate that RTB. Thank you!
5. Sleep is something that we can sometimes do without.
Sometimes I wake up early in the morning to go for a run and I don’t end up going because I am “too tired” … well that excuse will no longer be working. I was tired on some of my legs, but I ran anyway and you now what … it was actually a great way to energize. Im amazed at how much I was able to accomplish on very little sleep.
I will caveat that by saying that I was exhausted when it was over. But I found my ability to push through again and that is a beautiful thing.
Thank you so much to the generous people at New Balance for sending me on this trip, for supporting a mildly injured runner and for reinvigorating my running.