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Ready, Set, GO!

Ashley_blog

I can’t believe it’s Day 4 on the road and I haven’t even had time to update you since our Vegas tire, Haboob, fog storm delays as Aaron and I made our way to LA! What a hectic way to start the Relay. But really, it was unexpected so that’s what I should have expected. One of the reasons we wanted to get to LA for the afternoon was to set up the RV, have me get reacquainted with using everything, go grocery shopping, and to fix some odds and ends. Because of our delays all of that was left for me to sort out over the course of Chellie’s first week of running. I am just now starting to feel that we are where we should have been when we started on Day 1. But, all in all, I can’t complain!…

The start of the Relay was more than I could have asked for. As we set up the RV and car as our make-shift starting line I took a minute to reflect. Tears easily and suddenly came to eyes as I visually saw before me what I had dreamed about for 18 months. I knew in that moment that this Relay means more to me than my own run across the country in 2010. Maybe it’s the team spirit we’ve created among the runners, maybe it’s the support I feel from our sponsors, Montel, and the community, but I think I’m self aware enough to know that actually it’s the feeling that I’m not alone. If we want, as individuals we can make a decision, set a goal, and go achieve it on our own. But this goal is everything but individual. I needed runners to join me in a vision to help cure MS, and as I saw Chellie warming up, and Relay runners Lyndsey and Adam join her for the start, I felt a companionship in this mission.

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I have also had the unwavering support of Aaron throughout this effort. Though he won’t be joining me for the entire Relay because of work, he has helped piece this event together in more ways than most people know. As I doubted myself in the months leading up to the event, he never once entertained those doubts. As I hurried myself to get this done and that done, he planned small but significant contributions that would have a great impact on the feeling of the Relay. His help is more than I ever could have hoped for. (It doesn’t hurt that he’s detail oriented and I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl so it seems we work well together :)).

As the event got underway, time did not slow down. Chellie and the runners got lost a fair share of times getting out of Santa Monica, which only added stress and miles. Many roads were under construction which made running on the shoulder dangerous, and I was occupied driving the RV & car while trying to pull together the odds and ends that didn’t get accomplished the day before, while also trying to support Chellie on the road.

By the evening though, it was just me and Chellie as she went out late to finish the final 13-miles, completing her very first marathon distance (26.2 miles) ever! It was an emotional finish and one not accompanied by the accolades of a traditional marathon race with big crowds, a cheer section, and finish-line celebration after. Chellie’s finish consisted of her running her final miles solo through the mountainous Sierra region of Southern California into the arms of her lone present fan. After the excitement and joy of having completed such a big accomplishment set in, an even greater reality took place; that she would go to bed, wake up early, and run the same exact distance all over again. And again. And again for 6 consecutive days.

At the moment we’re into the morning run of Chellie’s 4th day of running a marathon. Day two was an emotional battle of having to simply run the distance. With the starting line crowds gone and the weight of the miles all her own the distance can seem greater than one can comprehend at the time. Stomach issues early on didn’t help but I pushed her to run 14.5-mies in the morning so that she would have a shorter 11.5-mile run in the evening. At the time she hated me for pushing her, and I couldn’t blame her; I would have felt the same way. But as she breezed through her 11.5-mile run through a cool California canyon she grasped just how much of a difference it makes to do big miles early. She ran very strong yesterday (Day three), but woke this morning to a very tender shin/ankle muscle, so right now she’s running slow and steady, which I feel will be the rhythm that takes her all the way to Barstow, CA, her finish.

It’s less than 50-miles to Chellie’s finish on Saturday, and when she gets there she will have run more than 135-miles in 6 days for MS. I can’t say enough about how much I respect and admire her. She took this challenge as one hell of a way to run her first marathon, but as she has said to me many times, “My goal of running a marathon was a long time coming…”. I can’t fully grasp everything that she is going through to accomplish this distance, but I do know it says A LOT about who she is as a person, and her character, commitment, and drive to do something great in this world.

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  • by ashleyk
  • posted at 2:48 PM
  • April 18, 2013