Ragnar Trail Michigan Thoughts

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“Gratitude Makes Sense of Our Past, Brings Peace For Today, and Creates a Vision for Tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

Wow. I saw this and I couldn’t agree with it more and had to share. I will do a full recap of Ragnar Relay Trail Michigan sometime this week that will detail the ins and outs of this event but for now, I wanted to convey more the feeling I have sitting here. The recap will give operational information. This comes from a well earned recovery nap that’s keeping me up later than I would rather be as it’s 10:35 on a Sunday night.

I’ve only been home barely 25 hours from Ragnar Trail Michigan but the part of the race that always impacts me and is currently doing the same, are my people, my team, my friends, my little Ragnar family.

You know you’re in the presence of good people when you spend nearly every moment of the day with them, minus the time you’re running and sleeping, from Thursday at 5:30 pre-race till almost 9 p.m. on the following Saturday when the last 3 hopped in their car to go get their kids and you could probably sit and talk with them for hours longer if given the opportunity.

There were a lot of reasons to try Trail Michigan but my biggest worry had always been upsetting folks because it cut the roster from 12 to 8. I’ve been blessed to have so many people that have taken up the Runnin’ Not Walken and now Runners Doing Good mantle and run to make their miles count for something bigger than themselves. All said though, to go from 12 to 8 would mean that some runners wouldn’t have a spot unless others gave up theirs.

Good, bad, or otherwise, I was loyal to my original core runners. I knew that didn’t necessarily make our team faster, too. It was a tough choice but no matter what anyone says, this team isn’t about finishing first. I’ll almost guarantee that we’ll not finish last but winning isn’t something at the top of our list. I know that probably sounds like the worst bit of coaching and team building possible but we’re in a different place than where we started in 2015.

We were a running team that fundraised a little back then. Today, we’re more of a fundraising team that happens to do epic running stuff. And when you’re going into a race you’ve never competed in before and don’t know a ton of what to expect and how you’ll react to it, you still with your core. When you’ve got decades of experience, decades of friendship, decades of love, decades of laughter, and decades of history with people, despite the difficulty of saying goodbye to some folks and knowing that on the running side you might not be as deep, it makes it easy to jump into something unexpected when the folks you’re jumping with know you so personally and will do anything for you.

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So tonight, as I wrap this up, it is with great gratitude I say thank you to anyone who has ever run for us in the past. You’ve paved this path with us and someday, I hope this develops into something that if the opportunity and want for you to join us returns, we’ll have an opportunity to add you to the team.

For the present place I am, it is with great peace that I lay my head down this evening. The decision was right from day one, especially in light of the turbulence of this past 12+ months. I am so appreciative of these wonderful people: Courtney, Chris, Melissa, Andrew, Kati, Michael, and Jenn. Each in their own ways make me smile and go out of their way to make the others around them comfortable, smile, and enjoy each others time together. It’s not a big production time of thing either, it’s a very relaxed and subdued way they do it and it makes just picking back up after all of this time so much easier.

As far as a vision for the future, I’ll be honest, there were times in 2020 and definitely here in 2021 where I had my doubts that I should be doing this anymore. Everything was so difficult and part of that was my fault. I said yes to a few different things. I said yes to head coaching my son. I said yes to leading the alumni of my grade school and in many ways, the parish, to a degree. Both things have been incredibly rewarding as I thought they might but inside this training window, man did it make it challenging. I really didn’t think I’d be able to pull off the running. It had been a true challenge to get any consistent pain free mileage and it wasn’t until the last week prior to the race that I got new shoes and because my feet were now pain free, I was able to train harder and guess what? My legs hurt because they were sore and not hurt because my shoes were shot. It’s a big difference but there wasn’t a ton of time to get as strong as I’d hoped. As you’ll find out in my recap to come, it worked out ok.

As of right now, with the fundraiser but a week or so from ending, we’re $400 from our goal. That goal, I didn’t think we’d get close to just a couple of weeks ago. We’ve put a considerable push towards it and have had people respond wonderfully and generously and it gives me optimism that we’ll scratch across the finish line here.

But back to the future, I feel positive for what’s to come. It’s been good for my soul to be back in this routine. It’s been good to bring people together to rally around NeighborLink Fort Wayne and raise money and awareness for them. They are such a wonderful and worthy group to partner with who ultimately makes it so easy for us to be us and do things like this.

Overall, this whole experience with this team this year has been so good and so positive, I feel at peace with a future that includes Runners Doing Good in it. I wasn’t completely sure of it all at one point but here I am, exhausted both physically and mentally to varying degrees but overcome with a feeling of satisfaction and comfort with where we are. It’s pretty cool and when I have a more concrete idea of what that future holds, I will share it but for now, know that a vision is forming and Runners Doing Good will be back sometime in the not so distant future.

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