It’s dark and I’m running on the side of a New Hampshire freeway chasing a blurry blinking dot a half mile in the distance. The wind whispers rumors of a hurricane as I crest a hill and start down the other side, slowly closing the gap on that dancing light.
The kill will come soon. All those runs up and down Indian Hill are going to pay off. I will conquer the light. I will swallow it whole and eat its glowing heart. I will show no mercy. Just a curt nod and wave and a slight acceleration. I will skip any pleasantries if the person is in costume.
I pick up the pace as I visualize marking up the van window with another blue tally mark. This is the moment when the little sprites leap out of the darkness and attack my hips and knees with their tiny, sharp Ginsu knives.
I am halfway through my second relay leg.
This is when Ragnar gets real…this is when I ask myself why the f*ck am I doing this?
There was a moment during my third Ragnar leg that the pain faded away. My quads stopped hurting, my knee wasn’t barking, and I no longer felt my sweat-soaked singlet chafing my pink parts. I was consumed, utterly and completely, with doing some furious calculus. There was still almost three miles to go and my stomach was giving off dire warnings.
Neither Isaac Newton nor Bill Rodgers could make this math work. I wasn’t going to make it. Not even close.
When you tell people you are going to do an overnight 200-mile relay race that involves traveling in a van with 6 other people for 36 hours, getting little sleep, running at 2 am, all while paying for the privilege, you are going to get one of two reactions: some will get a recognizable gleam in their eye and ask if there are still any open spots in the van. The others will openly question your sanity. One of the many joys of belonging to a local running club is that I saw much more of the former than the latter.