Team Challenge Flashback

Alright, maybe I’m a dork, but I thought I would take a moment to remember a rather large accomplishment I completed this day last year…

First of all, let me say that I’m not a huge go-getter type of gal.  But after a difficult 2008/2009 with my Crohn’s, I had been contemplating getting off my lazy butt and participating in one of the gazillions of charity walks hosted by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) each year.  And shortly after having this initial delusion, I received a timely flyer from the CCFA recruiting victims, I mean, participants for their Team Challenge Half Marathon.  In Las Vegas.

So, the hubs and I figured, what the hell…?  We’ll check it out.  No harm in seeing what this is all about.  It’s not like we had to commit right that second.

But once we were at the informational meeting is was as contagious as a high school pep rally.  Well, maybe that’s not the best example, but you know what I’m getting at.  So, within an hour, two people that had never even participated in a fun run, let alone a half marathon, committed to raising $2600 for the battle against Crohn’s and Colitis.

The next day I woke up in a panic.  What had I done?  How in the world could I raise that much money?  And walking a half marathon less than six months post-op?  CRAZY!

But the support I found within this group was amazing.  And although my husband didn’t end up going to Vegas with me, I know that I would’ve never had the moxy to take on this challenge without his encouragement.  It was a defining moment for me and definitely the biggest accomplishment in my life, short of creating a human being.

So, again, I want to thank everyone that played a role in my success.  I raised $2700 for the fight against Crohn’s and Colitis, but more than that, I learned a lot about myself and made some incredible friends along the way. 

For those of you out there reading, I want to encourage you to embark on a remarkable journey.  Win or lose, you’ll never regret trying.

Oh, and if you try to complete a half marathon…  Make sure you train sufficiently.  Just a little advice.

Race Day

Alarm goes off. Why did we need to get down to the start line so early? Fortunately, I had the foresight to go to bed early the night before. I guess it wasn’t as much foresight as I was about to collapse from a long day of flying, walking, and pre-race events.

Meet Team Challenge in the lobby for team picture. It’s funny to see people just heading up to their rooms as we are heading out. Definitely not looking forward to the 1/2 mile walk to Mandalay Bay in 33 degree weather. We attempt to walk to the start line together but get separated when a few of us get the fantastic idea to travel through the casinos. It has become clear why we left so early. 26,000+ people all walking towards the same place.

Gather courage to brave the cold and leave Mandalay Bay to find our corral. We walk outside to find ourselves by corral 7. We are in corral 26. Stuck in the worst pedestrian traffic jam known to man. Finally decide that corral 19 is close enough.

Gun fires! (Fireworks actually.) And we stand there. Then we walk 10 steps. And we wait. 10 more steps. See where this is going?

Finally reach the start line. Amidst a sea of corral 19 runners, we start to jog to avoid being run over. Still getting passed by everyone. Figure we might as well just start walking.

Mile 1
Music is pumping. The crowd is contagious. Keeping a good speed. Turn the corner on Las Vegas Blvd. We can see the strip ahead!

Mile 2
Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas! We cross our starting point on the eastbound lanes and see people running on the westbound side. Seriously? People are done? This must be a joke… But no, the winner has just crossed the finish line in 1 hour 5 minutes.

Mile 3
My hands are numb. Snot is frozen to my face. But I push on. I still have 10 miles to go. We’re finally not getting constantly passed by runners. However, we’ve been passed by a few walkers. Better pick up the pace…

Mile 4
I knew I shouldn’t have drank that much water. Port-o-potty lines are long. My legs are sore. Much better with an empty bladder and stretched limbs.

Mile 5
I can see the Stratosphere! The turn-around must be close! Good thing because our pace is beginning to slow. We were just passed by a little old lady in a blue nylon jogging suit.

Mile 6
Wait… We aren’t turning around… And our cheerleading crowd is thinning… Are we going the right way? They wouldn’t really set the course next to strip clubs and sex shops… Would they?

Mile 7
Thanks, Dude! Our one lonely cheerleader is giving us hope that the turn around is only a 1/4 mile away!

Mile 8
No December marathon would be complete without strolling around downtown Las Vegas looking at Christmas decorations, right? Hey, Mr. Police Officer, wanna give me a lift back to civilization?

Mile 9
Finally. Back on the strip. I feel a little energy flowing back into my frozen hands with the beat of the music. More angels in orange cheering us forward. What a wonderful sight!

Mile 10
Secretly I think of stopping. But just then our coach shows up pushing us on. Her tips help with some of the pain in my legs and her motivation renews my commitment.

Mile 11
It’s really a shame that the Belagio’s fountains don’t start until 11am. A distraction would be nice. The street has been scarred with millions of GU packets. My shoes stick to the pavement.

Mile 12
Our hotel is right there… I dream of a comfy bed and room service. But the finish line is just up ahead… Or so they say.

Mile 13
How cruel! They moved the finish line off the road into the parking lot. As we turn the corner, we find another turn, and then finally, like a beacon of hope, the finish line. We stop to take pictures of our accomplishment. A bunch of people pass us. Then we step over the white line. 4 hours 14 seconds. We should’ve waited to take pictures after. Oh well. It’s over. We made it. Now to collapse.

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One Response to Team Challenge Flashback

  1. […] said “HELL NO!” without a second thought.  But I am so proud that I was a part of Team Challenge, raised thousands of dollars for the CCFA, met some amazing people, and WALKED 13.1 […]