Viva Las Vegas….Ragnar That Is!

Well another Ragnar in the books, another two medals on my wall.   It was an awesomely, tired, and fun filled weekend.  Laura, Holly, and I decided to make a road trip out of it.  12 hours how bad can it be?  We left Wednesday night late and drove through the night, which in part was nice because there was zero traffic!! By the time we reached Vegas, we were all beyond exhausted.  We needed to prepare for what was about to come, a 200 mile relay!  Yes, I am crazy enough to sign up for more than one of these.   This was my fourth this year.  However, this one was in Las Vegas.

This time was however a little bit different, I would be in van 2, which I have never been the second van.  To put the cherry on top I was the last runner, I would be bringing in everyone at the end.  This would weigh heavy on me knowing that everyone was waiting on me at the end.

Nighttime hours in Vegas are slightly different they start at 3:35pm, which meant leg 1 would be ran in night gear.  I was prepared and ready to go, however, being my clumsy self I didn’t judge the height of the curb and fell flat on my knees and hands right there in front of everyone.  To say the least I was embarassed about what had happened.  I fell in front a lot of people.  I didn’t want anyone to check on me so I jumped back up and started my run, heck it was just a scrape and a bruise.  However, everyone on that leg was asking me if I was ok, which was super nice.  However, I wanted to forget it and move on.   This leg some skaters decided to move one of the signs, this got fixed, but we ran past where I was supposed to turn and ran a wee bit of extra.  Besides my extra running I maintained a fantastic pace.  A 9:30 pace is something I haven’t seen in quite some time and I felt great.  It was an amazing feeling to be able to run that much and not hurt.  Chronic pain is a b**** and it wasn’t there.  I finished that leg feeling strong and great.

Leg 2 was completely at night.   A nice breeze and approximately 50 degree temperatures welcomed me.  I was able to just wear a t-shirt and compression sleeves for my run.  This one would be my longest run.  8 miles to complete.   A steady uphill run.  This would be a true testament if my recovery has paid off.   I started off nice and easy knowing that I didn’t need to win a speed race and I wasn’t in it for time.  I was in it to not walk and just run.  The view of Vegas while you are running on the out skirts of town are amazing.  You are running through parks and along one of the major high ways.  Its a completely different perspective.  I had a lot of time to think during this leg.   I have recently met a lot of women who had recently been diagnosed with lupus, who needed the support I love to provide.   I was thinking of them and how they have been in pain recently.  How I needed to provide them the strength they needed in their life right now.  You see it’s not always easy for lupie to have someone understand their pain unless someone has been there and done that.   God gave only his strongest individuals to go through this hell, knowing we will make it through and be able to live another day.  Yes, we may not be able to understand the reasons why at the given point in time, but there is a reason, and my reason is to inspire and help others.

Leg 3 was going to be the final leg for the team.  That’s right I got to bring it home for everyone.   That’s pretty darn exciting if I may say so, and also so damn nerve wrecking.  Why?   Ohhhhhhhh because EVERYONE is waiting for you.  Minor detail right? The last leg was very toasty, and by that I mean I was roasting like a chicken outside.   I never show off my stomach when I run, I am not comfortable with that by any means by I had to this run, because it was so hot.   I had to keep running, I had an amazing van that supported me along the way which allowed me to keep running uphill for 7 miles.   I was able to finish this 7 miles and when I reached the last water station I knew I only had one more mile to go and I could hear the cheers of the finish line not too far away.   I turned the corner and saw my team waiting for me, I had a little bit left in me and had to sprint to the finish line.   I did it, it may not have been the fastest but I did it.   I didn’t quit.  I didn’t let my lupus beat me, I didn’t let the disease win.

Recently I entered a contest to win a Ragnar race.   I met a gentleman whose daughter was recently diagnosed with Lupus.  After crossing the finish line he walked up to me and introduced himself.   Told me who he was and how much my story met to him and his daughter.  That alone, that single person, made my running worth it.   You see up until that point I didn’t know him.  I didn’t realize that sharing my story of overcoming a daunting and crappy disease could reach other people.  When I was diagnosed, I was embarrassed and wanted to hide.  I didn’t want people to know I had it.

My perspective however has now changed.  I am sharing and inspiring and that makes me so happy that I am able to help others. After the race I had posted a picture on Instagram, I don’t even remember what the picture was, the woman had commented on the picture and said “My dad saw your story on Facebook, and told me about it.  I had previously signed up for a marathon with him.  I am still doing the marathon mostly because of you.  You are my inspiration and truly a badass! Get it girl!” I broke down in tears, not just because of a lack of sleep, I know that had a lot to do with it, but it touched me.  The fact that sharing my story, a simple story could touch someone so much truly moved me deeply.

I realized that are my race my story does make a difference.  Even if it is one person at a time, its making a difference.  I know I may not win the Ragnar contest and for me I really don’t care, I don’t need to win a race to be happy.  I want  to be able to touch people’s lives and share my story.

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