Our iPhone alarms went off simultaneously at 4 a.m. and by 4:45, I was riding shotgun as my friend Audrey careened our 12-passenger van around twists and turns up the mountain, Smuggler’s Notch.
The sun was just peeking out of the east when we parked on the grass at Trapp Family Lodge, where 160 teams were warming up for the start of the Vermont 100 on 100 Relay.
By 6 a.m., the second wave of runners (including our team’s endurance queen, Ashley) were off, headed for the trails.
We spent the next FIFTEEN hours running, driving, eating, drinking, cheering, ringing cow bells and duct taping our toes (best remedy for blisters ever).
Because runners are always intense about everything from their training schedule to the pre-race meal and color of their socks, there were outlandish van decorations…
…and crazy costumes.
I was runner #3 and my legs were 7, 3.5 and 4.5 miles for a total of 15. I was most nervous about the first, having spent long hours at the office leading up to the race, but, with my Katy Perry playlist blasting into my right-ear-only headphones, I felt great.
I’ve always felt in every workout that pushes me to my own personal limit, whether it’s a solo run, a spin class or a formal race, there’s a moment where I feel entirely in sync with myself and everything around me.
It happened during my third leg, a series of major downhills. I was at the top of a steep peak and found myself running what seemed to be almost parallel to the sun, nestling into the trees. “If So” by Atlas Genius was humming in my ear. I took a deep breath and charged the last few hundred yards toward the finish line.
It was pretty hardcore.
“50 Shades of Crazy” team photo at the finish (from left: me, Ashley, Audrey, David, Amy & Diane). We were exactly 100th place. You guys rock!