There’s nothing like crossing the finish line after months (or, maybe for some of us, a few panicked weeks) of training, looking back at all you’ve accomplished, and thinking, “I can’t believe we just did that…” Well, friend, you did. And you did it rain or shine, ready or not, sometimes in questionable attire. Now that it’s over, your perspective on a few things has probably shifted. Give yourself a solid 24 and one deep sleep, and you’ll see what we mean:
That first hot shower
It doesn’t matter if you ran Ragnar in the searing heat and have the sunburn to prove it. That first hot, steamy shower post-relay will have you thanking the water-gods for your indoor plumbing. You’ll use the good conditioner. You’ll rinse and repeat. In fact, you’ll begin to appreciate just how immensely fortunate you are to have the luxury of clean drinking water at the turn of the tap. You may begin to turn it off when you brush your teeth. You might consider being more careful and less wasteful. Suddenly, you’ll start thinking about sustainability—all in the time it takes to enjoy those well earned suds.
Left turn, right turn, the coveted, “One Mile To Go,” sign. Sure, it’s not always perfect. But you begin to think about them the next time you’re out. You might be looking for your car in the lot or trying to find your way through the airport when you’ll catch yourself looking for the next directional marker. The comfort of knowing someone is expecting you at the next exchange; the idea that you’re simply on the right path. If only life had visual cues to let you know that, yes, you’re on an uphill climb on a really tough red loop right now. But, hang in there…you’ve only got one more mile until things get easy again.
Somehow, in all of your adulthood, you’d forgotten what it was like to stay up all night and watch the sun rise in the morning. How it feels waiting to see the sun so you no longer have to rely on the light you’re carrying with you. The weight that’s lifted off your shoulders when—at last—it rises and brings with it immense warmth and comfort. It’s almost easier to catch that nap now, knowing your fellow runners are at ease, the dark has receded, and the finish line is in sight.
Your silly luck
In some great cosmic twist of fate, you had the fantastic luck to wind up in this corner of the universe—right here, right now—to run on a tiny blue and green planet. Seriously. Your legs are sore and you may have blisters from the long weekend. However, it’s a weekend where, right now, in the milky way, close enough to a small dwarf star (not too close and not too far away) you exist at a point in history where you and your friends get to argue over team names and spend two days and one night acting silly and exploring the wilderness. It’s like a lottery ticket you didn’t even realize you had in your pocket.
You ran the race with your friends. Maybe you made new ones. But, what you begin to notice now are the multitudes of people who “made” it for you. And when we say that, we mean that one guy who gave you a random high-five when you were struggling. The volunteer who had water ready when you needed it. The runner who shared their light when your battery failed. The local business who stayed open late to feed you when you really needed a burger. That other team who kept leapfrogging you and ended up cheering you into the finish line. Suddenly, you’re noticing that you can be the difference in a completely random stranger’s day. It can be a waive, it could be holding the door open. You could pick up coffee for a stranger behind you in line, or simply remind someone at work they’re really important. Suddenly, all the people who aren’t on your team—are.
Perspective shifts have the ability to make you feel light-headed, euphoric, and a little nervous. That’s a good thing. It’s a sign that you’re present. It’s contagious. What have you noticed now that you didn’t before? What do you appreciate the day after a Ragnar?