by Jenn Abbenhaus
No matter where you are on your health journey now, simply take the next step and who knows where you can be a year from now.
At 7 AM, September 6th, myself and 11 others will begin trekking from Copper mountain to Snowmass, CO with our little running shoes. Starting at an elevation of 9,712 ft and finishing at an elevation in Snowmass of 8,104 ft… we will run (not simply drive) over the mountains of Breckinridge, Vail and Aspen/Snowmass – peaking at over 10,000 feet. This 192 mile race in Colorado is known as one of the Ragnar’s highest relay races with a course designed to allow runners to take it all in (except oxygen – haha).
So, here’s the first thing I’ve come to realize – every physical challenge here in the great state of Colorado is considered the toughest, the highest, the baddest “_____” of all. There you have it folks – Colorado is badass! Or maybe we’re just really crazy for continuing to subject ourselves to such torturous adventures?! And, yet, we develop an utter love of the thrill which keeps us coming back time and again.
This is my first Ragnar.. possibly my last.. though I said that about the Tough Mudder and I’ve had to eat those words already. The bottom line is – I have absolutely NO idea what to expect. This race is to be done overnight without stopping – cue the band please… NO SLEEP TIL ASPEN!
So what do you do to prepare for the unknown?
prep·a·ra·tion: ‘the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration’.
I ask again: How the heck do you get ready for a 192 mile race through the Rocky Mountains that you’ll be running with 11 other runners who are mostly strangers and two drivers you may or may not know?! And, maybe the better question is, why would you even want to?! Well – I can definitely tell you the answer to question two – BECAUSE I CAN!
See, just a few short years ago I couldn’t jog a mile without feeling like I was dying! (You can check out my story with before and after pictures here.) People would say I was in shape, that I looked good, but in reality, I was gasping for air and felt like a beached whale during most workouts. You know that the journey of a 1000 miles starts with the first step and that’s what I did – one step at a time until I find myself today doing these crazy obstacle-relay-who knows what’s next kind of events. And I do them BECAUSE I CAN.
I may not be the best, the fastest or the strongest but I will still finish and I will feel good about it. So the answer to the first question – you do everything you know how to do – it’s a running race, so run; it’s a physical challenge that tests the body, so eat well; it’s about recovery so consume high-quality products; find someone who’s done it already and ask lots (I mean LOTS) of questions (I wasn’t very good at this one this time – oops). Expect the best, prepare for the worst and you’ll find yourself somewhere in between. Truthfully – I won’t know if my preparation was enough or if I slacked off until after the race.
Why do I share this with you? Is there something that you’ve always wanted in life? A trip? A particular way you’ve always wanted to feel? What about the person you’ve always wanted to become? There are 3 things you have to do if you really want it to happen:
- Say Yes! You can’t get anywhere saying no to an opportunity that’s knocking on your door. Dragging your feet takes too long. So just say “YES” and watch as magic unfolds.
- Be open minded! The magic is in the journey, in discovering what lies ahead…
- Stay focused! The road will be scattered with obstacles like injuries, doubts, and nay-sayers; helpful comrades like your team mates, biggest supporters and the best cheerleaders; finally the finish line – that moment when you realize you accomplished your goal! The culmination of all your hard work, swatting away the nay-sayers, blood, sweat and tears. The moment when preparation meets success!
I have no idea what’s going to happen over the next 20+ plus hours but rest assured, we’re all along for the ride.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Ragnar Recap – the Untold Stories of Running Through the Mountains…