September 1, 2015 at 11:17 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

This weekend I ran my first ever Hood to Coast relay – 198 miles in 31 hours! (I *only* ran 16 of them).

When Howard asked me I was slightly hesitant at first, since I had never ran that far in that period of time before, and because as great as this summer of traveling all over has been I was looking forward to one weekend where I wouldn’t have to be doing anything. At the end of the day, though, I can’t help but be a social butterfly, so I decided to take on the challenge. Worth it. Like any good adventure there were moments of pain and sleep deprivation where I wondered why in the hell I was doing this, but it’s always pleasing to set goals and attain them, and I was fortunate to have a great team to make the experience a lot of fun.

The most challenging part was my second leg, which involved running almost 6 miles at ~3am, up a mountain, in the dark, in the rain, and without any sleep. It was painful, but I was able to have a lot of fun with it because I managed my expectations well. I think that’s what it’s all about, and a life lesson that running has helped me with. You can know that a situation is going to be unpleasant, but unpleasantness mainly arises from what’s going on in our own heads, not from the situation itself. If I say to myself “I’m tired, this is awful, I’m upset” then I will be upset. If I say “I’m tired, this is awful, but I’m RUNNING UP A MOUNTAIN RIGHT NOW – LOOK AT THIS LIGHTNING, YOU CAN’T STOP ME MOTHER NATURE” all of a sudden I’m amped up and feeling good. Similarly, at any point in your life you can choose to change your perspective. Reality is what we make it. We all have the power to create a more positive existence for ourselves, if we want to.

I wouldn’t say that I LOVE running, but I definitely like it much more than when I first started. I really enjoy the challenge of competing against myself, and I have met a bunch of really great people doing it, so that’s a plus. I’ve had to change my mindset from one of a sprinter to longer distances – they require different strategies. I do sometimes hear Holman’s voice in my head from track practice, though, exhorting me to use my arms more. “Reach, Henslehh, REEEACH!” in his Nebraska drawl. Yes, coach.

Overall, I would love to do it again – especially if we can avoid insane weather and actually enjoy the party at the finish line. Now to make sure I keep my focus with running, have to sign up for a few more races. If you want to run with me, let me know! The more the merrier, always.

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