This year Reading Horizons assembled a team consisting of employees, spouses, and friends that ran the infamous Wasatch Back Ragnar. It’s a 200-mile, two-day and one-night relay race going from Logan (a city in Northern Utah) across the back of the Wasatch Mountains to Midway, Utah. Now, let me preface by saying that we are not “runners” per se, but we were excited to push ourselves and more importantly grow closer as a team and have fun together!
When I first found out that our company was participating in a Ragnar, I was excited but skeptical. My husband and I were getting ready to start our family, and we weren’t sure how running while pregnant would be. But once I got the go-ahead from my midwife, I was fully committed to participating.
My team didn’t know I was pregnant when I signed up for the race, but once I announced the pregnancy, they were really supportive and willing to do whatever it took to help me accomplish this goal. Some of the ways my team members offered to help me included: running some of my miles, making special food accommodations for me, and taking extra precautions to keep me cool and hydrated. It felt really great to know that I had the support of my teammates.
My first leg of the race was exhilarating! I had been training for months leading up to the race, and I really felt like all that training had paid off. My second leg, while beautiful, was progressively harder than the first. I had to run at 3:00 am and my legs were stiff from my last run only twelve hours before.
Finally it came time for my third and final leg. It was midafternoon; and even though the leg was only going to be 2.6 miles, I was exhausted and reluctant to run it. I almost didn’t take my water bottle because I figured there would be van support along the way. There had been van support on the prior two legs and plenty of opportunities to receive water. Luckily, my husband convinced me to bring my water bottle after all.
The beginning of the trail started off innocently enough as I ran through a prairie of wild flowers. I was only about a half mile into the journey when I realized that the trail continued up a mountain and that there would be no van support. I was going to have to scale a mountain with only the water in my water bottle to keep me hydrated.
I was discouraged. At this point we were approaching the heat of the day and the sun was unforgiving. Soon I could no longer run and had to walk. Around every bend in the trail I felt certain that I was at the top of the mountain, but time and time again, I wasn’t.
Finally, once I got to the top, I was looking forward to going downhill to take some pressure off of my legs. But once I got there, I found going downhill to be worse than going uphill. My leg muscles were so tired that I found it difficult to stop them from buckling under me.
At this point I was ready to give up and cry. I remember thinking, “What did I get myself into? I must be crazy for even trying to run a Ragnar while pregnant!” Luckily, in the nick of time, a fellow runner came up behind me and asked how I was holding up. I felt so low that I just let it all out. I whined about how I was hot, tired, and running out of water. He then gave me his water bottle and offered me some words of encouragement. I was touched. That was just the motivation I needed to continue down the mountain.
When I finally hobbled all the way down the other side of the mountain, the trail became flat again. I wanted to begin running again, but I was so exhausted that I continued to walk. As I approached a clearing through the trees, I heard my husband calling to me to cheer me on. “Go, honey! You can do it! You’re awesome!” He gave me the motivation I needed to keep going, and I did what had moments earlier seemed impossible. I began to run again. My husband met up with me for the last bit and ran with me to the finish line, and the rest of the team was there to cheer us on.
Coming away from this experience, I can honestly say that there isn’t another group of people that I would have rather done this with. You see, Reading Horizons attracts good, kind-hearted people with a passion for what they do. I consider the people I work with to be among my closest friends. And with your friends and people who care about you by your side, you are able to accomplish more than you ever imagined.
Click on the following links to learn more about Reading Horizons and the awesome people who work here, or even become part of the Reading Horizons team: