2 WEEKS!

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2 weeks man.

2 weeks!!! HOLY COW!!!

When 2020 began, I was convinced it was going to be the best year. Not in some corny “best year eva!” way that you see some “influencers” throw things out so easily and frequently but truly. We’d just finished a nearly $7500 fundraising campaign for NeighborLink Fort Wayne in 2019. Momentum was hitting in all sorts of ways. To say we felt empowered was an understatement. Things were really feeling like we were going to hit another gear.

I didn’t realize we were downshifting.

Ragnar – CANCELED. Fundraiser – Started (BEST STARTING MONTH EVER!!!)….then CANCELED. Motivation – CRUSHED. Mental Health – CHALLENGED and APPRECIATED. Momentum – STOP DEAD IN ITS TRACKS.

There was so much about everything that happened in ’20 that was just a complete and total grind. And honestly, it was all running completely counter to what any of our expectations would be.

The team was supposed to break both fundraising and sponsorship records to bring in a net $10,000 in funds given to charity. This expectation has had to be throttled back considerably as both businesses and individuals have been more careful with where their money goes than at any time in our team’s history.

We were, despite slightly downsizing and changing races, going to field a team that may have been our fastest in years while also representing what Runners Doing Good aspires to be, as we always do. We got part of this goal right as we have great people. The running part? I’m only going to speak for myself but I’ve had to lose 15 lbs to finally get under the number that I usually start at when I begin Ragnar Training.

We were also going to sell wristbands to help fund future operations and costs. We’ve sold enough to cover the costs of the wristbands themselves but beyond that…not so much.

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For me personally, the worst part of 2020 was that the flow and cycle of all of this was interrupted. We really had it running like a well oiled machine for years and the point of the trail relay was to simplify the process while still increasing the quality of what we do for our runners. Having everyone together for the entirety of the race and being able to get better amounts of sleep would be huge plusses. We’d always gotten such solid support from our sponsors that paying the extra for the Glamping wouldn’t be an issue. All of it would add up to be less stressful for me and enable this thing that snowballed in ways I’d never imagined to keep rolling, keep growing, and keep improving.

Much of that concept for the prepwork and workload for me has rung true. I’ve not run the race yet but the simplicity of the preparation has been much appreciated. The last couple years have been an escalation of negotiations to get better pricing from van rental agencies, renting condos for after races that some folks didn’t stay for (ugh), and then ultimately getting one for during the race so that we could get better sleep, etc., etc. , etc. It was increasingly harder to overcome but we did. The idea to go this route has made this part infinitely better. I can see a return to road racing someday but we’ll approach it differently I’m sure.

The biggest casualty of the the cycle being broken was that as a runner, I lost motivation. I had all of this time and ability to run. I’d never been a high mileage runner. We’d never fully considered ourselves “runners” like you know, good ones who are out every day.

We really started off as a running team that did so to have fun and raise a bit of money for charity and are now at a place where we’re more of a fundraising team who uses an epic event like a Ragnar Relay as a tool or carrot to entice people to support us and the fun we have as a team is the cherry on top.

So I went from being a low annual mileage runner to a nearly no mileage runner in 2020. My weight tends to fluctuate and I’m blessed with a bit of a typical male metabolism where once I get the thing revved up, the weight will come off. If my metabolism was an vehicle, I put it in storage last year. I usually finish a Ragnar somewhere around 200 lbs and normally start at around 210-215. I realize that’s not exactly svelte for a runner but the last time I was around 200, I was running easily in the mid 9 minute mile range with the ability to string together some 8’s with quarter mile splits in the 7’s when I was really rolling.

At the beginning of my training this year, the only rolling going on was me as you’d have to roll me down the street. I was at my heaviest ever and pushing 230 before I finally got that vehicle out of storage and revving it up in my training this year. I’m finally down about 15 lbs and my runs are better but some nights, it’s a struggle to keep it under a 10 minute mile. I feel like I’ve started from scratch.

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So here we are:

In 2 weeks, we’ll hit Ragnar Trail Michigan. It will be our first trail Ragnar ever. We’re not sure if we’re completely ready. I’m confident that half of the team will be rock stars while the other half that includes me is going to have to get by a bit on guts.

The fundraiser? We’re sitting on nearly $3700. That’s not quite the $5,000 I was planning on but I have reasons to believe we’ll get there somehow. We’ve had so many new donors that have given and quite a few past donors that haven’t yet so there’s a good chance we boost this quickly by the time we draw it to a close.

Yes, this has been hard and we’ll overcome it because we’re not going to give up. Whether it gets easier in the next 2 weeks or we get tougher, two things are certain:

  1. We’re not done yet and we sure as heck are not giving up.
  2. I know we’ll appreciate this cycle when it’s over.

I say that about number 2 because it’s been so hard to get to this point and while it’s difficult not to find some angst in the struggle, it truly is wonderful that the ability to take part in events like this is possible but for many, the pandemic weighed so heavily that it has made getting here more difficult than normal. When it’s over though, I’m sure we’ll raise a beer and smile but for now….

YIKES IT’S ONLY 2 WEEKS!!!!

— Gabe

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