My American Odyssey Relay Experience

This post is nothing like I thought it would be.

I’ve actually been trying to sort out in my head for days as to what to write. This was a post that I had been formulating in my head since January, certain of the content. But then the unexpected happened –  an ankle injury – and it changed everything.

I had been training for the American Odyssey Relay since November (aka around the time when I needed a goal, something to train for, and a physical way to let my overflowing emotions get out). I’d been training harder and harder, trying to run faster and stronger.

I had the motivation behind me of 11 other amazing women. I was running for them in this incredible team relay. The relay starts in Gettysburg, PA and finishes in Washington, DC with 12 runners running three legs each beginning Friday morning until they finish on Saturday (yup even through the middle of the night). That is a 200 mile (!!) run….and I had 18.8 if those miles to do.

It was a totally doable goal, and I felt on fire with my training. I felt fast (for me) and strong. Until one day when I was only able to limp home from a training run two weeks out from the race.

I was frustrated, but two weeks seemed like a long enough time to recover. I rested and grew spiritually, knowing that this was the best training that I could be doing. I was expecting my ankle to be better and to have this spiritual story and strength behind my run.

Then a week passed, and I still could barely walk. Waves of discouragement, self-pity, and sadness overcame me. It may seem silly to you, to be so sad about not being able to run, but this was something I had fought so hard for, trained so much for, and something I felt could control (as opposed to other stuff going on in my life). But I guess lesson learned, right?

When the day came to drive up to meet up with my team, my goals had refocused. Since I could not run, this event was more about everyone else and not about my own personal goals. It was time for me to shake off these feelings of self-pity and sadness and be the best support I could be for the other runners.

Jessica from Pace of Me starting our team off strong!

A handoff between Sarah (The Thriftess) and Paula (Sweet Pea). Teamwork!

Did I accomplish that? Sometimes. Did I falter at times? Unfortunately yes. There were times when my frustration with my ability to even walk places made me lash out. When my 2.5 hours of sleep during the race made my grouchy, and when my “I need everything planned out and on schedule” nature made me crabby. To my 5 teammates in Van 2: I apologize for those moments and so appreciate every single one of you for your love, grace, and forgiveness.

Van 2 showing some love to the GMC that we called home for two days.

Van 2 at the start line. We didn’t start running until the afternoon after Van 1 finished their first leg with runners 1-6.

However, it is through all these times that I learned my lessons that I actually needed to take away from the race.

Feeling triumphant at the finish line!

I learned that I need more humility and patience in my life.

Van 2 on the second day after only a couple hours of sleep!

I also learned that I can sometimes function very well on 2.5 hours of sleep. (I don’t recommend it though).

Alexis from Flecks of Lex finishing her last leg.

I learned that a post I thought would be a moment of physical triumph and pride turned into a lesson of grace and humility. Yes, I’m sad I didn’t run but I now see I probably got the greatest lesson and inspiration I could out of this event. I grew as a person instead of just as a runner.

Sporting our awesome blue team shirts.

Now…all these moments and wonderful lessons would not have been possible without each of these amazing women and bloggers. I encourage you to visit them all and be inspired!

We did it!

Finishing strong as a team together! Running the last couple hundred feet in together (I did a funny little gallop thing but it got me across!)

Last, but certainly not least, our team was overwhelmed by the amazing brands that sponsored our team and made this race happen.

Kreg Tool
D Lawless Hardware
Design Your Wall
Sweet Clover
Milestone Pod
Southern Landscape Group
Modern Masters
Rehab Associates of Central Virgina
Annie Sloan Unfolded
Muscles and Lungs Crossfit Aruba
Bailey Sign
Health Warrior
Frog Tape

Now I’m going to rest up, heal, and devise a running plan so I can do the Virginia 10 Miler in September and the Richmond Half Marathon in November! Who’s ready to get outside and exercise this summer!

  • You were such an integral part of the whole experience. So glad to finally meet you in person!! Great recap!ReplyCancel

    • Aw, thank you Karah! I was so glad to meet you too after so many emails!ReplyCancel

  • and duh rest up so that you can tackle it next year! i think chaney and i are definitely in, and it sounds like several others, too!!!! let’s rock it again, and this time physical and emotional triumph!!!! loved getting to know you through this, and i love your openness and honesty.ReplyCancel

    • Haha. Yes, definitely next year! Can’t wait to gather a team or two! I loved getting to know you too! Let the running madness continue!ReplyCancel

  • I was so impressed with your positive attitude during the run. I know that it had to have been hard to keep a smile on your face after the disappointment of not being able to run after so many months of training. It was so nice of you to volunteer to drive for our van. Next year you will be back and running strong.ReplyCancel

    • Thank you so much, Paula! It was definitely a challenging weekend but I am so glad that I was able to be a part of it. I’m also so glad we were about to be in the same van! Can’t wait to actually run next year!ReplyCancel

  • Awesome job! Glad to participate!ReplyCancel