203 mi suddenly stands between my team of 12. 203 mi from start to finish. 203 mi from the mountains of Cumberland, MD to the lights of Washington, D.C.'s National Harbor. This time tomorrow night, I'll be piled into a Suburban pointed toward Cumberland, MD and counting down the hours until the gun goes off for the Washington, D.C. Ragnar Relay.
Somehow, my friend Sarah and I wrangled 10 others to join us on this overnight odyssey. Our crew, a.k.a. team Got the Runs, is comprised of friends, co-workers, and two brave souls we picked up on Craig's List (who aren't creepy as far as we can tell). We come from various running backgrounds, from past-marathoners, marathoners-in-training, serious runners, casual runners, floor hockey players up for a new adventure, and so on. We're all relatively close in our own various degrees of friendship...but sure to be even closer by the end. I mean, if you're single, it's like having three dates -- three progressively smellier and sweatier dates.
Here's how it works. We have two Suburbans; six people per car; each runner runs three times over the course of 203 mi until we reach National Harbor; the distances vary, so one runner may run 15.6 total miles while another runs 22.5; we leapfrog each other until it's over...that means running through the night, sleeping at some point, and eating whatever we can get our hands on...a potluck on wheels if you will.
This I feel begs the hygiene/comfort question. As runners, I believe us to be a relatively open group where cordiality is left at the trailhead and is rapidly replaced by snot rockets, farting, and spitting. Call it a special form of social lubrication. As I said, we all know each other relatively well, but I see this rapidly devolving into a sweaty, pungent mess...particularly when food becomes fuel (lots of PB, coldcuts, granola, and beef jerky). All we're missing is the campfire. I pity the folks at Avis who will greet us Saturday morning.
When I've told people about where I'll be this weekend, what I'm doing, it's met with a quizzical look, a narrowing of the eyes, as if to say, "Whaaaa? Why would you do that?" And the, oh so clever, "I wouldn't even drive that far, heh heh," wink wink, nudge nudge.
And so in the immortal words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, "We are about to embark upon the great adventure toward which we have striven for many months..."
I invite you to come along with us for the ride. I'll be tweeting along the road and you can follow me at www.twitter.com/onthebusrunning.
Track our progress, leave us comments, check out photos, videos, and see if indeed we live up to our team name.