“It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done.”Nelson Mandela
Starting today, through the end of the running campaign, I’ll begin introducing our runners. I think the last several years, I’ve started with Jenn. She’s where days begin for me and really this whole running and fundraising adventure began as well.
Without her, this wouldn’t have happened. In 2015, I decided to embark on this and timing probably wasn’t the best. Our youngest was born in December and we had a run just 5 months later. With children 0, 2, and 4, she probably should have said no or I shouldn’t have started it in the first place….probably the latter.
But here we are. She’s allowed this craziness to take root. She’s supported it and continually asked, “What can I do to help?” It is remarkable and in the end, there was no way it wasn’t going to happen but she got sucked into it herself.
The picture above is from 2016 when I asked her to be part of our support staff by helping drive and do what was necessary to help the team. Van 2 didn’t really have any drivers because they wanted more space. Van 1, opted for two. We had Adam (Big Wheels) and then Jenn (Hot Wheels) joined us. Adam did all of the driving and Jenn kept us alive.
I don’t mean to make anyone in Van 2 sound bad. That’s not the point here but Ragnar Chicago 2016 saw temps hit 90+ and I am beyond convinced that our van was, overall, stronger because of her. She made sure we were hydrating ourselves prior to each run, stopping to support the runners during their runs, and handing them a water or Gatorade immediately after they finished so they could get something in them. She handled the van’s hydration and nutritional needs. It was still incredibly difficult to navigate and there were still bumps in the road.
I, personally had to pull up with a couple miles to go on my last run because I was cramping up and overwhelmed by the heat on crushed rock trail that had zero shade. I essentially wilted massively. Without her though, it would have happened far earlier and many of the others would have probably experienced that as well.
In 2017, she was drafted into service. With 4 weeks to go, Ryan (above right), got sick. I didn’t know where to turn initially but within 10 minutes, I looked over at her and said, what do you think? This is where I was amazed by her even more. She barely hesitated and said ok.
Having not run consistently in nearly 10 years because of life and having babies, she accepted the challenge of a sun-up to sundown and back up again running adventure on the same path that she saw everyone battle the previous year. We gave her the “easiest” set of legs and part way through, I realized it was a mistake. She should have taken on something harder because in 4 weeks of training, she did something that I struggle to do in my runs….she didn’t stop.
We pride ourselves on being a group of Average Joes who do their best and she will downplay herself every step of the way but the level of determination she displays is often amazing to me. She just. doesn’t. stop.
In fact, she hasn’t stopped running for us ever since her last minute addition to the team there in 2017. Each year, she’s laced ’em up and given us her very best despite her insistence that it isn’t much. She has become an integral part of this team and one who brings the “it” factor to the team.
She looks after everyone. She roots for each team member and makes sure we’re all doing well. And she does it with a smile that makes everyone around her feel comfortable and assured that we’ll all get through this together.
Her determination has led her to the point that on our mileage chart, she is now sitting firmly in 4th place of most miles run by any of our runners. There have been some pretty serious runners that have run with us. Most of those are 30-40 miles behind her on the list.
She admits that she doesn’t do this because she loves running. There’s a part of it that I think she does because it’s a good time out. It’s a time of reflection and introspection but she always says that she’d not do this if it weren’t for the causes we’ve chosen to run for and this year is no different.
Running to support the Dee’s is near and dear to her heart as they’re friends and overall around good people. For causes like that, she’s more than willing to get out of her comfort zone and that’s what this is all about and she embodies that.
If you know her, you know that’s the truth and I’d ask you to support her by supporting our fundraiser this year. Visit the GoFundMe link below to donate but make sure you drop her a note to cheer her on. She’s pretty good at doing that for others, let’s return the favor.