Totals - Distance: 147.92 miles; Time: 50h 32m 08s; Elevation: 4,577 ft
Inevitably, I will run out of space to say all the things I want to say.
I could talk about the physical challenge of covering almost 150 miles, of which 56 of them were forced to be hiked due to my gimpy knee (again), in just over 2 full days with around 4 hours total sleep.
Or the support plan that was still coming together at the last minute, weaving experience from Canal Corridor 100 mile Endurance Run while adjusting to the forecast, and how coordinating volunteers made me feel I was both RUNNING and DIRECTING a race at the same time.
Or the fluidity of self-identified goals, since, technically, I only completed part of what I set out to do, covering the distance but not in the intended time of 44 hours.
Mostly, though, I want to talk about people.
That may seem weird for something I’d billed as a solo run. I needed the mindset that if all else were stripped away, I could do this on my own, but I sacrificed my ego to give myself the best possible chance of success.
My call for volunteers was greeted with experienced ultrarunners and total novices alike, ready to wait in a van for me to arrive or jump in alongside me for excruciatingly slow miles in the early morning hours.
On the day, the numbers grew, as even more people wanted to participate. Friends I hadn’t seen in years came out to wish me luck. Previously unconnected folks were drawn into conversations and future friendships. One highlight was seeing my friend Tracy Hardes who drove all day from Nashville to cheer me!
At the end, when I showed up 6 hours later than intended, the AutismUp staff still came out to congratulate me. One of their sons was on hand to see me finish, and later told his mom that seeing me complete the challenge inspired him to become a runner himself. I can think of no higher praise than that!
Ultimately, the point of it all was community. I traveled tough miles with the best of friends, almost making me forget this was supposed to be hard! Every smile reminded me of how we are not alone; no matter our struggles, we are there for each other, we are strong, and we are family.
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