The American Odyssey
Last month I found myself lost in the middle of the night while running through Antietam Battlefield. It was my third run since lunch and I couldn’t see a thing. The wind kept blowing my headlamp cap off so I had to run with my head down to keep it on. In doing so I missed the directional signs. I was halfway through the American Odyssey race and my team of 6 was determined to win the Ultra category of the 200 mile race and hopefully place high against the other 12 person teams. The race started in Gettysburg and finished in downtown DC. We were running very well as a team and I was so mad that I had once again found myself turned around while we were leading the race. I spotted a vehicle when I got back on track and thankfully it was my team with a flashlight for me. With my new light and back headed the right direction I found myself as happy as I could remember in a long time. The peacefulness of being totally alone in the darkness plus the spirit of the location made it one of the most enjoyable experiences of my running life.
I am so grateful to my Gettysburg friends for inviting me on their team despite my poor sense of direction. Being on a team gave me so much joy and it made me miss and appreciate the years of high school and college racing. I also was so happy to experience a new race that required a different set of running and pacing then I had done before. It was a good reminder of how fun running can be when you get out of your comfort zone and try a new distance, workout, or race. The idea of being stuck in one vehicle with a group of stinky runners while trying to navigate in the dark is not something that would ever occur to me on my own. Now I want to go get lost in the woods on a run and try out some longer distance races. Thank you Matt and Megan for letting me join this wonderful team. Also, thank you both for stepping up and picking up extra miles when one of our team fell and couldn’t continue. Turning a tough 33 mile journey into 41 miles so soon after your Boston Marathon performance was incredible and totally inspiring! Oh and we did end up winning the ultra division, covering the entire course with a 7:29 per mile average!