Friday, August 29, 2008

Relay Update

Our relay team has grown! Joining us on our 208 mile trek through the Blue Ridge Mountains are David Ploskonka from Baltimore, MD and Eric Charette from Huntsville, AL, and we are glad to have them! Instead of 4 people running 50+ miles each, we have a wider range of distances, starting from 44.5 to 28.5, all hitting difficult levels of elevation gain and loss.

For me, this is good news. The challenge of 4 runners tackling 208 miles was exciting…and daunting. The idea of having 5 was much better, giving us all 43-44 miles, and in our search for another runner, we found two, making the race and a good time two things that could more easily go hand in hand.

We will now have two support vehicles. Van one will drive Kristi, Kandi, and David. Van two will drive Jason, Eric, and myself (Jane). Van one will run legs 1-3 and van two will run legs 4-6, continuing this rotation throughout the race.

I am thrilled with our new team and more excited now than I was before. The pressure of making the cut-off time and the fear of overdoing it are issues of the past. That doesn’t mean that we won’t experience fatigue and a strong desire to shut our eyes when we must open them and run, but it means we can give a little more and push a little harder on our respective legs that are now fewer in number.

As I write, our adventure begins in less than a week. I have trained hard and I feel ready. I’m ready for the challenge, ready for the experience, ready for the beauty of unseen mountains, and ready to spend this time with my husband and our good friends.

This time last year I was getting ready to get married. I married my husband, Jason Reneau, on Sept 3, 2007, which was Memorial Day. I can’t help but think it is fitting for the two of us as runners to begin our second year of marriage this way. Maybe it will be a new tradition – to try something new together each new year.

To me, this relay is a bit like marriage. It is longer than most races and certainly not the easiest one to choose. There are moments of joy, moments of hardship, moments of rest, and moments where one has to ignore how they feel and give it all they’ve got to succeed. In a relay, just like in marriage, one doesn’t run only for himself, but for another. It is a team effort, requiring all participants to work hard to obtain the goal.

So while this relay will most certainly be an amazing personal accomplishment, I don’t run it only for myself. I run to support my team, to give my all, and to celebrate another year of life with a beloved teammate.

This has been your Cheesy Moment with Jane Tortoise (and knowing me, there are probably more to come).

- Jane Reneau Tortoise

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