“Nothing to it but to do it”.
Those were the last words I chirped to my sweet sleepy husband as I left our warm bed this morning at 5:30am in exchange for some cold foggy mountain roads.
And do it, I did indeed. Myself and around 300 other insane individuals traded in our snuggly covers before sun up for spandex, gortex and under armor. We strapped on helmets and gloves. We smartly donned knee and arm warmers. We sipped on warm Gatorade and lamented the fact that we could indeed in fact see our breath. It was quite chilly up in them thar hills, lemme tell you. It was also absolutely breathtaking. East Tennessee is gorgeous terrain, but there’s something really magical about that time of the morning. The rolling clouds and fog over the hills, the way the mountains almost appear to be blue in color, and the dew sparkling and glistening as the sun slowly catches up with us.
My pal Renee and I wove through the hills together – sometimes laughing, sometimes cursing (well, mostly me anyway) and sometimes struggling. Other times we sailed downhill at reckless speeds only to realize our fingers were numb and we might not be able to stop even if we had to. The rest stops and support staff were stellar and so encouraging. We devoured some fantastic pumpkin bread homemade by some lovely Christian women. I also *may* have devoured two chocolate cupcakes and a double chocolate chunk brownie. And some peanut M&M’s. Oh, and some crunchy peanut butter atop a green apple. And possibly a few bananas. Don’t you judge me.
The last ten miles tested our spirits and our resolve. For the record, I didn’t weep but at times my emotions were pretty damn close to the surface. My legs ached and my toes burned. My sweaty hair itched and my right knee throbbed. Every turn seemed to reveal another ball-busting climb. This ride was wearing me quite thin and I became pretty fucking bitter.
My friend Renee? Well, she is just made of awesome. Her sunny disposition and sense of humor might have pissed me off if it didn’t make me laugh and realize just how lucky I am to have a friend that’s just as delusional about these types of crazy-ass activities as I am. She signed up for this ride at the last minute and boy, am I glad she did. I’m pretty sure I would’ve been roadkill by mile 40 had it not been for her. So, here’s to Team RenJen. Huzzah!
We crossed the finish line, and high fived. We ate a sandwich. And then? And then I came home to a surprise party. This *almost* made those 62 miles worthwhile. I may have the best family and friends around. Just sayin’.
Guess what else?
And you know what? I totally deserve it.
I’m proud of myself, thankful for my supportive family, and grateful for my friend, Renee. I know I’ll sleep soundly tonight…and with a cheesy grin upon my face.
I’m a lucky, lucky girl.*
* with a really, really, sore ass.