The kind of motivation that works around here

by Katie on March 22, 2011

Almost a month ago, I was tricked recruited into participating in this crazy little running event on a 12-person team that took me 197 miles through the edge of mountains in the desert, overnight. I was given four days to prepare for this, after not even running to the end of my driveway in more than a month. And the real kicker:  never in my life running with any elevation. That’s what happens when you grow up in a flatland swamp, and live in a flatland desert valley.

I was to have three legs in this thing:  6.8 miles in the afternoon, 6.9 miles in the middle of night (I think I officially started around 11:50) and 4.5 miles early the next morning.

I survived the first one okay, but clearly noticing the slightly thinner air and difficulty of all the ups and downs and steady elevation climb.

Sometime after dark, I began gearing up for my midnight run, and took a glance at the course map for this particular leg. And found out my run had me making a 378 foot total elevation gain, through a series of climbing up, going back down some, then climbing more…over the course of seven miles. I immediately felt sick to my stomach. I mean, the only thing that could even constitute as a “hill” that I had ever ran up or down was man-made. Seriously. Our high school practice football field had a man-made hill for conditioning, and that’s where coaches liked to torture us after we missed too many free throws or let the ball hit the ground on the volleyball court.

Needless to say, this running-through-mountains thing was not something I was prepared for, and quite intimidating.

Right after I saw that, I sent Brandon a text with the news:  “My next run has me climbing 378 feet. Didn’t even know that was possible in 7 miles.” Which shows how clueless I am when it comes to mountains in general. This was followed very shortly with a more concise description of how I was feeling about this run:  “I might die.”

Several minutes later, while I was playing out all the scenarios in my head of passing out on the roadway as I neared the summit of my last giant almost-mountain hill, Brandon sent this motivating text:

“You can do it. You’re the toughest girl I know. Just pretend you’re chasing a big ol giant buck up the next hill.”

And you better believe I did.

He was bigger than anything hanging on our wall, that’s for sure.


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