For me...passion is when you are bubbling over with indescribable emotion...it seems impossible to put it into "perfect" words and to even try would take away from the amazing way it feels to just sit with that passion.
Passion, to me, is when you face something and it can produce opposing thoughts/feelings all at once, but within you, it all makes complete sense.
When I faced this past weekend...my first Ultra Ragnar Relay...knowing that I had 41.5 miles with little sleep, abnormal eating strategies, and awkward run times---all while spending 30 hours in a 15 passenger van---ahead of me, I was terrified. Literally afraid. I had no idea if I could do it but I was confident I would make it to the finish...all at the same time. It made no sense to feel both ways but made complete sense all at the same time. I was scared. But confident. Anxious but unbelievably excited.
As I waited to begin each leg. I sat in anxiety. The anxiety would build as runner by runner we would inch closer to my turn to hit the roads. As Jill (the runner before me) approached in each leg...the anxiety would build to what seemed to be a point that it would overtake me. Then, just in time, the bracelet would be slapped on my wrist, signaling my turn to run. I would turn. Face the road ahead. A calm focus and determination spreading through me.
One mile at a time. One step at a time. I made it through the gorgeous areas of Washington...17.6 miles at 6pm. 15.4 miles at 3:30am. And lastly...8.5 miles at 2pm into the finish line where I met my team and we raised our arms in celebration of a 30 hr (3rd place in women's ultra division!) finish!
It wasn't until I hit the "one mile to go" sign of my last leg that I let it finally sink in what I...what WE...had accomplished. I finally felt SURE I would finish. I thought back over my life and wondered if I ever imagined my body would allow me to do something and be a part of something so incredible. So tough. So challenging. But so exhilarating and so rewarding all at the same time. I realized that I could have never imagined this. I never knew I could be so strong. As a child I was so shy, so unsure of myself, afraid to fail, afraid to try, scared to disappoint, not sure I was good enough.
But in that moment I felt none of those things. I felt at peace with the person/woman/friend/athlete/individual I have become and I looked forward to the future ahead. I was overcome with pride. Maybe the most pride I have ever felt in my entire life. As soon as my toes crossed the finish line. I burst into uncontrollable tears. I realized...THIS was what it was like to be full of passion and pride. I couldn't put words to the tears...I was happy to have conquered this challenge, sad it was over, proud to feel so strong, I was just everything I could possibly feel. It really is difficult to put perfectly into words. But its a feeling that enveloped me in warmth, peace, and gratitude.
|Rainy start line in Blaine...near the Canadian Border!|
|Strong finish after my first leg!|
|Finishing Leg 2 with the sunrise!|
|Tired...but fighting through the final leg!|
|Jill, Rachelle, Me, Lisa, Ashley, Katy|
Running has brought more into my life than I could have ever imagined. It makes me feel strong, full of life and has instilled in me more confidence, pride and passion than I have ever felt. In turn, all of these things carry over into my daily life...and that may make me even more grateful.
Running has brought me some of my closest friends. The ladies I ran this Ragnar with are incredible. Each one of them has so much fight, determination and talent. It was an honor to share this experience with them!