Two weekends ago I was invited by a friend of a friend to join a team of Iowans in a competitive running relay from San Francisco to Napa. Each member of our twelve-person squad was responsible for covering roughly 16 of the 200-ish miles between Ocean Beach and Wine Country. Although I didn’t know anyone before the race, spending 28 consecutive hours in a rental van whilst wearing sweat-soaked running clothes changed all that. By the time we hugged goodbye on Saturday afternoon, we were family.
On Wednesday of last week, four days after the race ended, I found myself back in Napa for a work retreat and the hotel that my company put me up in happened to be across the street from the stretch of highway on which I’d finished my third and final leg of the relay. Needless to say, the familiar surroundings socked me right in the gut parts, so I decided to stick those feels in an email to my running kin.
Dearest darlingest Van 2 mates,
I’ve been back to my normal life for the better part of a week now yet I can’t stop thinking about the special 28-hour journey the six of us shared last weekend.
Thank you for your warmth and your kindness and your humor and your support and for being so very generous in sharing the most wonderful parts of yourselves and for teaching me new things about myself and for making my first Ragnar relay an unforgettable experience.
There are moments, all magical in ways that my words won't do justice, from the back of the van and from grapevine-flanked checkpoints and from restaurants and starlit parking lots and the sides of busy highways that I very well may never travel again that I know will stay with me always, and it's for those moments, and more-so for each of you, that I will forever be grateful.
Thanks again, and keep on running.
P.S. Attached to this email is the picture I snapped as we parted ways on Saturday. Aside from my unfortunate facial hair situation which has since been remedied, I think it’s quite perfect.
P.P.S. Only a toilet is a toilet.