Inside all of us is someone else just dying to make an entrance. As mommies, we wear many hats. We’re doctors when our child is sick, magicians when we know the perfect trick to get our baby to stop crying, and heroes when a lost toy is found. But, what happens when you take your “mommy hat” off? Who are you then?
This weekend I found out. Apparently, I’m an athlete. Inside of me is a woman who runs, a woman who sweats, a woman who does not quit. Inside of me is a woman so determined to see what the view looks like from the top of a mountain that she will literally drag her tired legs up it. That woman ran the Blue Ridge Relay, and lived to tell about it.
For those of your who aren’t familiar with The Blue Ridge Relay it is nothing short of insanity. You start by compiling a group of 12 close and/or random acquaintances. Then prepare for continuous running, day and night, for a cumulative total of around 18 miles each, completed relay-style through 208 miles of the most scenic yet volatile terrain Virginia and North Carolina has to offer. What a way to spend a weekend?
Several months ago in a “sleep-deprived-I’ve-just-had-twins-leave-me-alone-state”, I agreed to join a team (Desperate Housewives, the irony is rich, I know) and run the relay. Why? I’m still not sure. I believe it had something to do with proving a point. If I could run this ridiculous race within the same year I had twins, couldn’t I do anything? So, totally out of shape and unaware of what I was getting myself into, I said yes. Little did I know I’d be joining a fearsome group of women who are runners, athletes, and all around tremendous individuals. I expected sleeplessness. I expected tired legs. I expected sore muscles. What I didn’t expect was getting a piece of me, just me, back.
The memories we created on those windy mountain roads will last forever. I’m not even sure where to start? Pre-race pasta dinners ending in tears of laughter. Teammates screaming into bullhorns cheering on runners. Tears shed with my closest friend when I crossed the exchange zone and the unspoken memory it represented. The fear of the unknown. The anxiety of running completely alone in the mountains in the middle of the night. The joy you feel when you know you’ve made it. The ferocious tenacity that builds inside your soul when you accomplish something few would even dream of tackling. The focus inside your heart when you are tired, sick, and sore, yet you keep running because letting your team down isn’t an option. I did that, all of it.
I’m eternally grateful for the gift my team gave me. I formed friendships with 11 fantastic women who charged me to accomplish what I never thought I could. I left the relay believing that nothing is impossible, goals are meant to be reached, and that inspiration comes from within.
Find your inner voice. Challenge yourself beyond carpool. Believe you can. I ran an endurance race that is tough, no hold that, brutal. I finally know what happens when my mommy hat is removed, even for a weekend. I’m an athlete. Who are you?
Oh and the view from the top of the mountain? It is breathtaking . . .