This morning the first runners took off to start a 178-mile relay race around Lake Tahoe, through Genoa and Virginia City and back to Reno. The Reno Tahoe Odyssey is unlike any other race and is far from a competition for most. Around 260 teams gather to support each other and have a great time as they run a beautiful historic and scenic course. Each runner averages three legs of the race and survives on little to no sleep. Thousands of people come together for one event with little competition and a ton of camaraderie.
To the runners:
Cheers to you! You said “Yes” to this crazy idea! Maybe you ran last year and maybe this is your 13th year running, and you came back and said “Yes” again. Committing to your team, training for your miles and preparing for the unexpected, this race is no easy feat. This is a true physical and mental challenge. The people who come back year after year and the ones who spontaneously agree to participate, these are all of the people who make this event so much fun. It is hard to commit to the unknown and it is also hard to commit to repeating something you know was extremely challenging that you have done before.
It is far from glamorous as you spend 26+ hours in a van with people running and sweating, and trying their best to sleep through adrenaline. You might be sleeping in a hotel at the lake, in the Walmart parking lot, or in your van. Here’s to you for stepping out of your comfort zones to be willing to push your limits and grow through discomfort.
Recognize your supporters. Every runner gets to do this kind of race that lasts two whole days because of someone else. Someone who supports what they are doing. They support the adventure and the challenge. Maybe they are watching your kids while you run, making meals for your team, or even just the one saying, “yeah, go for it!” when you presented this wild idea. These people are the balance that allows you to develop yourself and become resilient.
Once you finish the race you will be completely wiped out, but you and your team will be united and proud because you all did it. You will be stronger, more resilient, and more likely to do an adventurous challenge again. Nothing feels better than running to the finish line of your leg with your team cheering you on. Runners, get out there and cheer everyone on, push yourself, and have an amazing time! I will be running leg 12 so I hope to see you all at the finish line! Good luck to all of the teams!
It seems like every week there is a different running event going on in Reno. In April, there are going to be at least 9 different races, each with different themes and charities to benefit, and that is not even including the Tahoe area. The running community in Reno has exploded in the last 10 years. Participate in one 5k and it will all make sense why.
I grew up running in sports, but after high school it was harder to find the motivation without a coach telling you what to do and a team who you would let down if you slacked in your practice. I decided to run my first 5k when I was about 3 months pregnant with my first son. It was the Leprechaun Chase in downtown Reno and I felt confident because I had the best excuse ever if I needed to walk or was taking it slow. I was pretty intimidated and had no idea what to expect. What I found was that there were a lot of really fast runners, but also slow runners, walkers, parents pushing strollers, kids, and grandparents all running together. Families and friends cheered on strangers from the sidelines with motivational signs and chants. When I finished, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and I felt like part of this incredibly supportive community of people who were all doing this thing together.
Since then I have ran numerous races in Reno and Tahoe, and this will be my 5th year running the Reno Tahoe Odyssey, a 178 mile, 12 person relay race around the Reno/Tahoe area. Running has given me a sense of empowerment over my health, happiness and my ability to meet goals. I have learned to accept failures and to praise myself for my efforts. Overall I have become much more resilient, and that has given me confidence to take on other goals that I might have otherwise felt were out of my reach.
Here are just a few of the ways that running adds value to your personal development journey:
There are a lot of factors (technology, careers, families, busy lifestyles) that contribute to making it harder for us to find the time and confidence to connect with others. We naturally crave connections with others, and it is so important to invest your time into something where you feel a sense of belonging; where you are part of a tribe. They push you to be your best and elp lift you back up when you are at your worst. In a running community, everyone is at a different level and no one judges your speed or your process, but rather they praise you for just being there and giving your best. It is a great discipline to teach yourself strength, not only physically to push through when you feel weak, but also mentally to talk yourself through it and believe that you can succeed. Belonging to a group lets you see that people are not judging you, and that they value your presence, and helps you work on accepting others and letting go of your own judgments.
There are a lot of curve balls that life throws at us, but with running, you are in complete control. You set your goals, find motivation from within, and tell yourself when it is time to push harder, take it easy, or call it a day. Your performance is the outcome that comes solely from the motivation you give yourself and the actions you take. There’s no one else to blame if the outcome isn’t what you expected, and there is a lot of personal accountability that comes from that. There’s also a lot of personal gratification and there’s nothing like the feeling of running that last stretch to the finish line and knowing that all of your hard work has paid off. The best part; the only way to fail is to give up. You ran 5 miles yesterday and only a half mile today? Awesome! You got out there and did it. Small efforts still make a contribution to your goals; don’t give up.
Resilience and Confidence
Running isn’t easy, especially if you are just getting started. Every season when I start to train for the Odyssey, I am dying trying to run a few miles. It is something that you work on day after day and you can definitely set yourself up for failure if your goals aren’t realistic or if your negative self-talk is overpowering you. When you come across something that is physically and mentally difficult and you are able to push through that and keep going, that resiliency that you build up spreads to other aspects of your life. You start to see that you are strong and what you are capable of if you really apply yourself, and that is a powerful feeling.
If you live in Reno, check out a list of upcoming races here, and even more are listed at www.race178.com. Regardless of the level you are at now, I encourage you to sign up for a 5k in your city, even if you want to walk it. You might surprise yourself how much fun you have while setting goals for yourself, building strong transferrable skills and most likely benefitting some local charities too.