It's done! We started out at 8 pm Friday and made it to Peoria around 5 pm Saturday. In the spirit of being positive, I'll start with the good parts!
We raised a TON of money! I worked really hard finding creative ways to raise money without mass emails or letter writing and I managed to raise $437.77. Our team as a whole raised over $30,000, their largest contribution to date!
The running was awesome. I felt well-rested between each leg and never had any issues with my hip. It was really great to set a goal (10 miles) and meet it.
We had perfect weather. At night it got downright chilly! And during the day, it could have been MUCH worse then it was.
I saw a couple of people I knew, including the person I did my internship under in 2003. Her whole family was running with our team, this was her 5th year!
And now for the bad parts.
The waiting was exhausting. When you're not running, you ride ahead to the point where the runners will stop and you sit and wait for them. There are segments where you drive behind the runners too and that is exhausting because you are driving 5 miles per hour for miles on end.
Little sleep combined with a wide array of people/personalities can lead to irritation. I won't go into specifics but this combined with the long stretches of waiting were infuriating, at times nearly tear-inducing.
When we got to Peoria, I took a shower (Awesome! I had worried that there would be long lines and I wouldn't get one.) but all I wanted to do was to eat and rest and then drive home. We get in line for food and there is NO VEGETARIAN OPTION!!!! It was spaghetti with the meat sauce already mixed in!!! I wanted to cry so bad. How hard would it have been to have ONE station with non-meat sauce???
In the end, when I asked myself why I signed up, it was because I wanted a challenge. And it certainly was a challenge. It was a physical challenge, but that was really the least of it. It was an emotional challenge, trying to draw inspiration from within when the people around you were not being the most supportive group. It was a challenge for Mike and I to ride in that van for hours and hours and try and keep our tempers in check. It was a challenge to stay positive and I really tried not to bring anyone else down even though there were times I felt like I should have just mailed my check and not even done the run. Most people had told me the experience is so inspiring and amazing and supportive. And so I struggled with the thought that maybe I was just not making it what it should be, maybe I was somehow creating this mood myself. So I dug down deep and tried to find bright spots, and I found quite a few. Most observers were awesome, clapping, honking and donating money. Most of the runners were great and offered kind words and encouragement to all. The coordinators did a good job planning and food/drinks/sunscreen/bugspray/etc. were all provided and readily available. But it was quite a challenge, that is for sure.