As my head hit the pillow on Sunday night after being awake for 40 hours, all I could see and FEEL in the darkness my eyelids created was the pitter patter of rain.
I guess my brain still thought I was surrounded by the total blackness and almost constant rain we experienced during the night of the Ragnar Relay White Cliffs – 177 miles run by 10 people taking turns.
It took me a while to fall asleep despite being so utterly exhausted. Extreme experiences do that for you, your body and mind are so wired and overstimulated that it’s hard to come back to the reality of a quiet bedroom, an actual bed and not being frozen to the bones.
All through the weekend I kept muttering under my breath through my blue lips ‘why do I do this to myself?’.
The understanding of the WHY only comes AFTER the hardship though.
Of course an overnight relay race is not true hardship by any measure. It’s something you’ve chosen to do for ‘fun’, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard.
Running uphill on slippery trails totally out in the open on a freaking cliff edge, with rain and wind pelting you in the face is very hard!
But once it’s done, once you’ve had a shower and some sleep, you feel so freaking alive. You realise that you are tougher than you often feel or think you are and that in a truly horrible, nasty, difficult situation (did I mention the f*ucking rain and WIND), it’s the people around you that will lift you up, make you smile, carry you through and get you to the finish line.
Once it’s done you feel so much love for your own body, for other humans (running a 177 mile relay race with 9 strangers cramped into 2 vans can go very wrong or very right!) and even for nature (even in being brutal, it’s beautiful).
I will write more in the days to come. That weekend is one I will not forget in a while!