Open Space Park in Traverse City, despite it’s cold, was the most fun finisher we’ve ever had. * Spoiler Alert * 2015, our first team’s finish meant more, but this was easily the most fun. ’18’s team was just special in a lot of ways.
As close as other teams were, this team was new and fresh and we battled through a ton during that race. We’d been hit with HEAT 2 years prior and it sapped the energy and will out of you. The 40 degree temps with 15-20 mph wind overnight in Michigan? Combine it with the hills of Michigan and there was a spot where I nearly felt broken.
As much as I love Ragnar Relays, there’s always a time where I’m sitting there thinking to myself, “Why do I do this to myself?” There’s always a time that’s redeeming too. The finishline in Traverse City, when I came in, it was absolutely joyous.
I was tired and sore from my hip issues the night before and it was a slow but enjoyable run. I ran, power hiked some of the hills as everyone else was, and enjoyed some incredible downhills as I came into Traverse City. When we ran together at the finish line, we were a team and people seemed to truly enjoy each others’ company.
It was then that the showering of joy began. I’d always felt we never took enough time to enjoy what we accomplished and celebrate it. Everyone was so tired that we just rushed to get home and in our own bed before we fell asleep. If there was one thing missing those first few years, it was the celebration and acknowledgement of the accomplishment.
In ’18, we celebrated. Ragnar gave us 2 pizzas and we were all cold so having something warm hit the spot. Nearly immediately, I think, Chris handed me a beer and we had a toast. We all sat around some tables and just talked for probably 30-45 minutes and just shared our experiences together. It was, by far, one of my very favorite personal memories because of how I had felt that was missing. It was great to have that be a part of our team finally.