I had been nursing and rehabilitating a hamstring so my goal was to get to relay weekend with the ability to finish my three legs. Everything was going well in my recovery and the weather forecast was looking great. Perfect early autumn running.
Then Hurricane Matthew decided to make an appearance and also decide to slide up the coast.
This Ragnar was in South Carolina, just south of Charlotte, NC, and when H. Matthew decided to swing our way, the forecast changed to where we would be right on the outer extent of the swirling mess of wind and rain.
The Thursday prior to the race was a whirlwind of its own as I flew into Charlotte to meet up with Brian and Kirsten from Nuun HQ, helped pick out our weekend's snacks for the two teams we would be fielding, picked up others from the airport, and went to the Ragnar village area to get the Nuun Tent set up and to pick out and setup our Team Nuun campsite/compound.
Once we had all arrived, as usual, I was proud to be a member of the two teams that were chock full of wonderful people. Here are the two teams together after some pizza on Thursday night.
|My Nuun HQ and Team Nuun teammates|
We were camping out Thursday and Friday at Ragnar Village and we had picked out a great place for our Nuun Compound, as it came to be known. We got on higher ground in anticipation of rain and by Friday, we had assembled a rather large, plastic encased area of dryness. This was the key to the whole weekend as we had a nice place to hang, to rest, and to visit that was out of the rain and the mud.
So for the rest of our time at Ragnar village and on the trails, the goals were trying to stay somewhat dry, somewhat clean from the mud, and taking care of ourselves and the Nuun tent we were manning. The trails were bad, I mean really bad, by the time I got to run. I didn't run until the 6th runner on my team and by that point, it had been raining for a while and the trails were getting really muddy and slippery. I fell in the first half mile of my first leg, and to be honest, this changed my whole viewpoint for the rest of my time there. Until that point, I was still thinking I could run decently and was still somewhat serious about how I was going to run. When I was hopping from one track to another, my leg shot out from underneath me in the sloppy, slick red clay mud, and I went down on my right side in the ankle deep mud and tall grass and then slid on my right side for what seemed like 5 yards. I let out a loud laugh. It was as if all of the seriousness that I had when I started that run was laughed away and became mired in the mud. I stood up, still slipping mind you, with a big old goofy grin on my face, and took off down the trail. However, this time, the serious runner was gone and had been replaced by a carefree, mud and water stomping idiot who figured he was going to be wet and muddy the rest of the weekend, so why not indulge himself in some true and utter fun with 15 other friends.
From that point forward, I just concentrated on living in the moment, relaxing with my Nuun friends, playing in the mud, and doing everything I could to make the weekend more enjoyable and more fun for my teammates and the rest running in the Hurricane. I know I had fun and I hope that I brought some enjoyment to the rest of my teammates.
By the way, have I mentioned that the Nuun HQ peeps and my Team Nuun peeps are some of the best folks around. Never once during the weekend did I hear any of them complain or whine. We just had fun. Thanks to my teammates and to Hurricane Matthew for teaching me that it is okay to just let go, not be so serious, and just play; play like that kid that I can barely remember who would run outside in the middle of the rain and stomp in puddles and mud.
Some random photos from the weekend (props to my teammates for some of these pics). Did I mention that these peeps that I hung with are now a part of the Alabama Clemens Family if they weren't already?