I am going to have to find a pretty amazing run to compare to my latest race. I cannot WAIT to tell you about my latest adventure: Ragnar Trail Northwoods-WI
Ragnar Northwoods was held last weekend at Nine Mile Forest in Wisconsin. The race consists of teams of 8 people who take turns running for 36 hours through a series of loops though the woods. It was WILD! I probably should mention that there are also teams of 4 crazy-athletic people who run the same distance.
I swear one of these running ninjas jumped OVER me during my 3:30 am night run.. although it could have been an extremely nimble bear…
Anyway, during the run there was a lot of time for reflection and I realized that many of the lessons I learned from Ragnar apply to everyday life! So here you go…
Lessons From Ragnar Trail Run: Northwoods
Lesson from Ragnar #1: Time with friends is never wasted.
Spend your precious time with people who love you for YOU! Don’t allow your time to be taken by superficial people or people who don’t accept the amazing person you are. Personally, I feel that spending time with good friends in the middle of the forest is a GREAT idea. It forces you to unplug and helps you re-learn social skills that we have been neglecting thanks to modern technology. It is also refreshing to spend time with people you actually LIKE and who accept you for who you are… despite your crazy hair, smelly feet, and bad breath.
Lesson from Ragnar #2: Keep moving forward even during the sucky times.
Life, like the dreaded Red Loop, can feel like an endless myriad of obstacles and booby-traps. Some days/weeks/months feel as if you just can’t make any headway. It is during these difficult times that it is most important to keep moving forward. Pause if you need to, take a short breather, but don’t give up! Difficult times (and trails) end. Trust me, they do.
Lesson from Ragnar #3: Ask for help when you need it
Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness; it is actually a sign of strength. Tuning into our bodies isn’t something that many of us do on a regular basis. We tend to ignore the warning signs our bodies give us such as pain/hunger/thirst/stress ….. you get the picture. Why do we do this??? We do this because tuning into our bodies can be UNPLEASANT! Think of the last time you were hangry or hadn’t slept well.
It is more difficult to be self-aware and attentive to our inner experiences than it is to ignore our needs
and relentlessly pursue our immediate goal (Don’t believe me? Just think of the last time you skipped lunch at work because you didn’t notice you were hungry because you were “too busy”). However, when we are mindful of our experiences, we can get back up after we fall down even if it is difficult. It also becomes obvious when we need to STAY DOWN and ask for help to stay safe.
Asking for help means you are a Self-Awareness Badass. Let’s make that a cool thing to be. I’ll make a badge for it, K?
Lesson from Ragnar #4: Learn to squish those negative thoughts
Most people have an occasional tiny nagging brat on their shoulder who looooooooves to whisper mean thoughts into their ear. Because I have anxiety, mine little brat is always there and that little sucker is LOUD.
These intrusive thoughts POP into my brain without warning. Some days I’m better at managing these sudden intruding thoughts (or maybe those are the days the little shit is tired from keeping me up until 3:00 am). I don’t know. Most often the content is about not being good enough or the horrible thing that might happen some day in the distant future (PSA: In case no one has explained it to you, anxiety really really really really sucks.); however, when you are running alone in the woods with only a headlight, you really get to practice gagging that nagging brat!
For instance, this fun thought popped into my brain during my night run: “I wonder how long would it take for someone to find my body if I were mauled by a bear?” This thought was quickly followed up with “It would probably drag me off the trail before it tore me to shreds.”
Anyway, learning a few skills to squish those negative thoughts (or that little brat) is an incredibly important and useful skill to have in life and on the trail!
Lesson from Ragnar #5: Acknowledge your awesomeness
We humans are so focused on the future that we don’t take the time to (1) enjoy the journey or (2) look back at how far we have come! This is an important lesson in life even more so than in Ragnar. When you don’t take the time to enjoy the moments and successes in your life, it feels like an endless struggle to “make it” or “be happy.” So enjoy the journey and look back at how far you have come. Touch a tree, smell the forest, hear the sound of the squirrels in the trees at night. Then pass your bib to the next runner and take time to appreciate how freaking awesome you are!
There you have it! Five lessons from Ragnar! If you enjoyed my blog, please consider sharing it below!