I am so grateful to have been able to be a small part of this amazing adventure. You can see all our social media and press coverage here: http://runnowrelaylive.com/ and just some of the clips are below, including me running in slow motion (which really doesn’t look much different than how I normally look running) somewhere in New Jersey, and me on Good Morning America after no shower and no sleep- exactly how you want to appear on national television!
Good Morning America
News 12 in New Jersey
Times Free Press in Chattanooga
The whole thing was a whirlwind, but let’s starts at the beginning.
Like most of my endeavors, I said yes to this with little understanding of what I was agreeing to (kind of like when I asked my recruiter after I signed my commitment papers for the Navy, how long the commitment is for. His reply began with laughter.) One of the main organizers of the relay - Matt R. - happens to be the father of my college roommates’ children (and, conveniently, also her husband) and he reached out to me in July of last year about potentially joining the team. Below is the timeline of events that ensued:
7/19/13, nearly a year before the run-Matt: "...would you be at all interested in participating (flying back to Cleveland and running the entire route with us)?"
I reply that I'm waiting to see if I got in the Navy and not sure where my life would be come April 2014. We agree that I'll meet up with the team in DC if nothing else. We keep talking for several months and I start to plan a DC run and media presence for the mid-point of the journey. I let him know that I'm up for running half the journey, if they could use me from DC to Boston.
1/17/14, three months before the run -Matt: "Dana, Talked to the planning team at lunch today...and I made a bold proposal of bringing you "officially" on the team...so, if you are interested, keep reading....Now the Dana I know would NEVER pass up this type of "challenge", but maybe you've grown soft, maybe D.C. has made you a little wimpy . . . OR maybe you'll jump in, pony up ...and help us do some good stuff and run to Boston . . . what do you think . . . the challenge is yours . . . this message will self-destruct in 10 seconds..."
(He had me at "challenge"…)
1/23/14: I discreetly leave my desk to take a "professional" selfie in the bathroom for the Run Now website.
I am now committed.
And thus began a tornado of group emails, texts, requests, media inquiries, solicitations, preparations and out of office requests to my clients that simply said "Dana Out: Running from here to Boston."
But I still didn't know many details. So I proceeded to try to walk the line of "being cool" and being a Type-A personality who ALWAYS NEEDS TO MAKE PLANS, DANG IT!! …I was partially successful.
2/4/14, two months before run -Me: "Hey Matt! I just realized I never asked how long my legs will be, I just blindly said yes haha. Do you know when I'll be running each day? No worries if not..."
2/4/14 -Matt: "Dana, Yes, you should have probably asked. We have you down for 25 per day."
Heh, heh. Good thing he's kidding! …Right?….
2/22/14: I’m able to attend one meeting in Tennessee, during which the discussion, at one point, turns to whether or not we can pack firearms on the trip. I picture us all getting thrown in jail before I even leave D.C.…
Time marches on and there’s repeated talk of this “being an adventure" and how we all “need to be flexible"… I keep flashing back to my Ragnar relay where all of our vehicles broke down and we were quickly reduced to disoriented shells of ourselves, eating cattle at two in the morning, because we weren't sure what time it was or when we could eat again…
I like adventure. I like adventure. I like adventure……
The team gets their "flight" assignments the week before the run. Each vehicle in the convoy of runners was called a flight. We had 5 total, each needed to collectively run 30 miles a leg. The legs were continuous -, day and night, rain or shine, on flat ground and hills, from Tennessee to Boston - so you may have a leg that starts at 1am then another one that starts at 8pm that night. It might be through a cornfield in West Virginia, or through downtown Manhattan. Since I no longer live in Tennessee, I missed the meeting where flights were assigned. Thus, right before the run started, I still didn't know what flight I was on or where/when/how far I'd be running and whether or not I should pack Kevlar...
4/9/14, one week out- Me, still trying to sound nonchalant: "....I'd love to see what my legs are if you have a chance to send...."
I know he and the other organizers must be losing their mind by this point trying to coordinate everything. But I can't help myself:
4/14/14, two days before I jump in one of the race vehicles: "...Can you send me my leg info?..."
I never did find out. But it didn't matter, because finally I discovered I was in Matt's flight -- which also happened to hold: The Race Horse.
More on that in the next post.