“We believe that being a Ragnarian is about more than being a runner; that misery loves company and happiness is “only real when it’s shared”; that there is a badass inside all of us; that everyone deserves to be cheered at the finish line … that adventure can only be found if you are looking for it; and that a little sleep deprivation is a small price to pay to watch the sun rise with friends. Together we ran 200-ish miles. Together we can accomplish anything.”
This is what our medals say when you put all 12 of them together from our team in the Ragnar Adirondack race. I was definitely afraid to run this race. We had 36 hours to run 200 miles. I thought everyone would be an ultra marathoner training at altitude. I don’t necessarily do well in cold or without sleep. And yet. It was 43 F when I ran up the mountain at 3:30a without having slept much the night before. That was my 8.3 mile run. Earlier in the day I had done the 4.8 mile run. I had to save my energy for the last 5 mile leg too. I followed the blinking lights of runners in front of me in the distance. I even passed a couple of people giving them a thumbs up as I went by. I stepped on a dead possum as I gaped at the shadows of the Adirondack pines around me, illuminated by my headlamp and the moon, their scent filling my lungs. I may have screamed. I could feel the cold as much as I could smell it.
What I will remember though, is the moonlight reflecting over Lake Champlain. The stars low in the sky, the big dipper holding court just to the north of Orion, his season debut. It was early enough to see the Six Sisters faintly resembling a martini glass waiting for me at the end of the universe. The fog settled in between the hills and the cold and wet that came with it. The thought that what I’m doing is crazy. The feeling of loneliness, then strength, fear, awe and accomplishment. I’ll remember the stranger who passed me up the last and steepest hill telling me to keep it up. I’ll remember crossing the finish line on the last 4.8 mile run to Whiteface Mountain with the college kid who had a concussion from a car accident and told me that this was his first few months out of bed and so he asked me to run with him for the last two miles keeping an 8 minute mile pace. I’ll remember greeting my brother as he handed off the baton to our team and running through the finish line together, exhausted and energized. And I’ll remember the amazing women on my team who persevered through the mountains to run this race. They weren’t ultra-marathoners. They were regular people with jobs, most of them moms, some not.
Apparently, I really like running. I’ll be tackling my first half marathon on Sunday. I’ve never run 13.1 miles straight, but in preparing for this race I have no doubt I can do it at tempo. What is driving this new passion? I can think of a few specific reasons, like wanting support my brother’s new running habit, or an active way to deal with the powerlessness I feel about our friend’s passing from heart disease. I carried him in my own heart on that overnight leg, my backlight beating out a Morse code of hello to him, but ultimately I think I’m doing it because of an innate drive to discover my limits, to escape some of the trappings of modern living, to seek adventure over security when our lives are built for the exact opposite and to see if I have the mettle necessary to push a little bit, to rely on myself and take a blind leap of faith into the unknown–something we do in so many life decisions. With running I experience all of this on a micro level. I don’t know if I’ll keep doing this regularly, but a door has opened and it will remain open whenever I need to walk through it. And that is huge.
I had all intentions to bake you a little something with my gluten free flour mix because it’s amazing, and also to show you the beetroot burgers I’ve been making on the regular that have flavor that will make you rethink burgers, but work is on the precipice of sending me back to Mexico City and I spent the week leading up to the race at a family destination wedding in Cape Cod. So I’m juggling the flaming hoops once again. I had to pop in and share with you this huge meaningful thing though and so I’m bringing you my breakfast, snack and dessert of choice, the avocado smoothie!
I used to be all about frozen yogurt, but since I’ve cut back on dairy and own a blender now, I’ve been making this RIDICULOUSLY good and healthy smoothie. I alternate between two main smoothies, but this one is sooooo good I craved it for 36 hours straight of the race. It requires one avocado, one banana, 1/2 and apple, almond milk and ice. Blend and savor. I also throw in a mix of super seeds like hemp seeds, chia and sprouted buckwheat, millet, flax, quinoa and amaranth (Trader Joe’s has a great mix). This keeps me satiated all morning and has me looking forward to coming home.
I hope you’re all doing well! Keep hustling. Have a wonderful weekend.
AVOCADO BANANA ENERGY SMOOTHIE
- 1 avocado
- 1 banana
- 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (see recipe)
- 1/2 medium apple
- 12 ice cubes
- 2 teaspoons super seed and ancient grain blend (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender. Blend for about 2 minutes on high. Serve cold. Sprinkle with additional grains and seeds if desired.