Friday, October 4, 2013

COLORADO: A different kind of ULTRA

Ragnar Colorado was an AMAZING experience, and one I won't forget! But for some reason it was different  {not better, not worse, just different} than Wasatch Back.  Yes, Colorado was hard, but so was Wasatch Back.  So what exactly was it that made the experience difference!? I did my best to put into words what made the it different for me.  {WOW, I just used the word different} a lot!


10,000 ft vs 6,000 ft is a BIG difference.  I don't recall the altitude effecting me all that much in Utah, but I felt it instantly in Colorado.  While I was anticipating it mainly effecting my breathing, I was shocked at how much it effected my entire body! My legs were like lead weights and I felt as if I had nothing in the tank. Ironically enough, I felt much worse than was reflected in my paces {thank goodness}. Not the mention, at 10,000 feet the sun rays are intense!! And as you know, its always sunny in Colorado.  With little shade along the runs, the altitude and sun really took a lot out of each of us.


I would say 90% of the legs were on bike paths...beautiful bike paths that stretched from Breckenridge to Aspen.  While it was so nice to run on the paths and not have to deal with cars etc., it meant minimal support from your team during the run itself. Without being able to get out & cheer, make power tunnels, and yell #getitgirl, the energy of the relay was definitely different than that of Wasatch Back.


Due to the nature of the course and several of the runs being on bike paths, resulting in minimal team support, it really forced me {and I think it is safe to say the rest of #highNUUN} to dig deep and push myself through the tough times.  One of my favorite aspects about running relays is the support and encouragement of my team, and other teams out of the course.  Crazy enough, despite not having them literally supporting and encouraging me during each run, I felt their support more than ever.  During each run, I KNEW that they were at the exchange, anxiously waiting for me to come in, cheering for me {from afar} the entire way.   With that being said, I was required to really personally dig deep, and I came home from Colorado a stronger runner,  both physically and mentally.


This race effected everyone in a different way, some more some than others. But no matter what each and every one of us was personally dealing with, we were still part of a team, and focused on the best interest of the team! Colorado threw more things at us, from stomach issues, to personal health issues, to exhaustion, to battling with mental obstacles resulting from the difficulty of the race; but no matter what the obstacle was, we rallied as a team to support and encourage one another, and we could not of done it without the determination, dedication, and heart of everyone on #highNUUN.


This is by no means different from any other relay, but the way it unfolds at each relay is unique and special.  After spending 30 hours in a van together, accomplishing something so amazing together as a team, pretty amazing friendships are formed.  Being that this was our second relay as a team, the friendships grew stronger.  Following the relay, during our celebratory dinner, Vieve and I were having a heart-to-heart conversation, which resulted in me getting emotional {I am sure the exhaustion of the relay followed by 2 beers definitely played a part}.  I was allowing myself to be vulnerable, which can be tough, but it was so nice to be able to be real with them.  I don't recall how the conversation started, but somehow it lead to me talking about how blessed I am and almost everything in my life is so wonderful, with the exception of a few things, including being single {talk about being vulnerable}, in Medford, OR {not a lot opportunities, with a small dating pool} This topic/conversation is always tough for me, and oddly enough, even more so when people respond with how wonderful of a person I am. I cried a few tears and it was time to head to the van and make our way back to Denver...
I am thankful to say I left Colorado with 5 stronger, even more amazing friendships.

Not sure what was so funny!?


Every relay provides the opportunity to make connections with strangers; and its neat to see everyone's "relay story" unfold.  As we were walking to parking garage we stopped for a few photos {of course!} and this wonderful couple stopped to ask us about the event, our team, etc. They own a condo in Vail, and were visiting from Texas. I honestly don't know how the conversation progressed to this, but somehow it came up that I was single and that they have two single, Christian sons {ironic following the conversation we had a dinner}. At this point I think the rest of my team was getting annoyed, so we exchanged numbers {in case I ever came back to Vail and wanted to rent their condo} and were on our way. No, he did not set me up with one of his sons, nor did I expect him to! BUT, what he did was far more meaningful.  After he text me information on his rental, and I thanked him and said it was nice to meet him and his wife, he sent me the nicest, most Christ centered text saying to keep the faith, and that he would be praying for me to find a Godly man to marry! I was blown away by the kindness of a complete stranger. What an amazing testimony of what it means to be a Christian and to love others with Christlike, AGAPE  love. I really hope people see a reflection of Christ's love in their interactions with me.

Ragnar Colorado....stronger runner, deeper friendships, defining what it means to be a team, and memories that will last a lifetime.

I'm ready for another relay! I think its time #highNUUN takes their show on the {international} road, eh!?


  1. I love this post. You put into words some things I have been feeling but have been blocked from writing. I hope to be on a team with you again. You ARE a wonderful person.

  2. Holly. I always love your posts!! Colorado was amazing!! I still can't get over how much you all did for me and how special you made me feel!! Our team is definitely like no other team around!! What a blessing you are!!