Back in the late winter/early spring of 2006 is when it all got started. For two months I had struggled along trying to run a little. I never had run at all except to play games. Why start now? It's not like you have to be able to run to get by in this world. One big reason was I wanted to be able to run with my boyfriend, Josh at t
he time, in a race someday. I didn’t tell anyone that was why, but it was the main reason I started to run every spring. But it never got very far with it. Most would think I was just trying to get in shape and loose weight like everyone else in this country. The other main reason that stirred in mind was just having the ability to be able to run if I wanted to and if I Needed to. It bothered me that it would be very difficult to run away from or chase something if I had to.
That year had been going good for a change. Josh showed me a great website that has training programs for all kinds of workouts from lifting to running. I started the beginners running plan. Exercise Presciption.com I did well following its training plan until I got sick. After I got better I started running again for a couple of days but crashed and burned on a frustrating Saturday run.
I didn't run at all that following week till Saturday. I threw the training plan out the window and just ran. I decided if I felt bad I would walk. At each quarter mile mark on my two mile loop I decided to push on and ended up running the whole two miles!
This may not seem like much at first. But this was the first time I ran two miles without stopping to walk! It wasn't untill a couple days later, when I had finished a one mile run, I realized this is the first time in my life that I could remember ever running a mile! I never ran in school or for fun when I was younger, except when playing games. I never rain the whole mile in gym class. I did cross country skiing for a year but even that did not involve much running. I had accomplished something!
Shortly after that I some how convinced myself to sign up for my first race… I bit off more then I should have. I signed up for a mini triathlon: 2 mile run, 5 mile paddle with a portage in the middle, and 14 mile bike. Josh kinda gave me a look like I was crazy but was eager to do the race himself.
Race day came quickly and I was not ready but was not going to back down and I was determined to stick threw it. It was early June, cool and pouring rain with no chance of letting up all day.
To me, this is where being part of Team Robert started. Our friend Rachel came along to help us out and take pictures. She did an awesome job sticking it out in the rain with us the whole day. She got great pre-race picture of Josh and I. Josh looks happy and excited and I look petrified.
The race started and we jogged off into the cool rain. We promptly slid to the back of the pack. Josh stayed with me trying to encourage me to go faster. I was trying! My chest felt tight and hard to breath. Nerves most likely. We got to the boats and into the water we went and began to paddle away. Josh was easily keeping just ahead of me in his canoe calling me on, to keep pushing. I struggled in my nice light kayak to keep up. My hands ached because of the cold and constant slipping grip since it was so wet. When we got to the portage Josh scurried across the road with the canoe on his back easily. I hoisted my kayak on my shoulder for a bit. Rachel was there to get a picture then she helped me carry the kayak across the road and back into the water.
At the ended of the kayak section we had to scramble out onto a steep bank into knee deep water. There were a lot of people on hand to help. Usually it is shallower but because of the rain the river was running high. As it was, the Army Corps of Engineers that controls the dam up river was already holding back the water so the race could happen that day.
Rachel was there again to help us transition from kayak to bikes. Josh and I were off onto the last section on mountain bikes, yes on a road course. We peddled and peddled some more. Josh always ahead calling and leading me on. What few racer that were left behind us soon passed us on their road bikes. It didn’t really bother me; I knew I was as good as finished. With about 3 miles from the finish I had to jump off my bike, briefly, to walk a bit of a hill because my legs felt so stiff and tired. Josh gave a yell back, No walking! You are almost there! Walking was not that much better. I hopped back on and slowly ground out the last few miles. Near the finish Rachel was there again soaking wet in the rain to get a picture.
We crossed the finish line and people were still out there to cheer us in. We got a congrat’s for Rachel and I got a hug from Josh. In a post race fog we loaded the bikes on the truck. We went in and changed in to dry clothes had some post race food as we milled around the crowd in the school. We saw some results on the way out. I finished 3rd in my category… so what if there was only 3 of us in it…
That was my first race. I didn’t race again until October…
That race engrained in me the first feelings of a running family, a team. Rachel, an accomplished utlra runner, had put aside her day and comfort to help and encourage us in the pouring rain. Josh had stuck with me at my slow pace to encourage me threw the whole race. He could have easily finished an hour ahead of me but instead unselfishly helped me. I saw the different types of racers that day to. I saw the elites out to win, but I also saw the families out there having fun with there kids, and even their dogs!Welcome to Team Robert, an Ultra Family!