This weekend I joined a team of 11 strangers to run in the 195.5 miles Ragnar Relay from Chattanooga to Nashville.
Long story short, someone I know through my job knew someone else looking for a team member. She knew I ran and thought of me. I initially had to say no, but then on Tuesday I found out I could have the day off work to do it.
Next thing I knew, I was packing all of this stuff to go do one of the coolest running things I've ever done.
On Thursday I left work early and headed to meet up with my team. I quickly met everyone and received hugs from many of them (they seemed VERY glad that I was on board), and then we were in the van and headed to Chattanooga. It's only about an hour and a half drive, so it wasn't long before we were checking into our hotel.
Our team had a hillbilly theme - Ridge Runners (basically, we were moonshiners, something that is very fitting for parts of TN). We took a photo of us in hillbilly gear as our "before" picture.
Here I am with Judy, the one who led our team and was my link to getting on the team.
We also took a photo of us in our running gear. This served as our "after" picture, the idea being that after running through the hills of Tennessee that we were fit and no longer lazy hillbillies/moonshiners.
It's funny. My best friend used to push me into people in the hallways in high school in an attempt to force me to talk to a stranger. I've come out of my shell in a lot of ways over the years, but going to something where I don't know a soul remains a bit out of my comfort zone.
Surprisingly, I never batted an eye at the idea of jumping into a team of people that all knew each other when I didn't know a soul. Other than a few conversations with Judy about what to pack and what leg I was running, I had no background on anyone.
By the time I went to bed, I was sure that these people would be like family before this was all said and done. I think this weekend is a good example of what I love about running - it didn't matter that no one knew me and I didn't know them. We're all runners. We're all crazy enough to run a relay. That was all we needed to know to become fast friends.
Stay tuned for the next post about my first leg of the race.