Hello, Team Challenge! (Day 1 in Virginia)

I survived the 4 1/2 hour drive up from Raleigh to Leesburg, VA, today! I think that’s the farthest I’ve ever driven by myself. And honestly, it wasn’t that bad. Jarrod and I got up early to get me over to the rental car company. (We realized it would actually be cheaper to rent a car with good gas mileage to drive than it would be to drive the Tahoe.) I set off at 7:20 a.m. and got here just before noon. It was an uneventful trip, which is always best.

leesburg virginia team challenge view scenic stephanie hughes stolen colon crohns ostomy blogI went immediately in search of food and stopped for a turkey sandwich and salad. I tried the hotel while over there and they told me that my room was already available even though check in wasn’t for another few hours. I went ahead and got settled into the room and made my way over to the race expo to get my race bib and sign in. I was pretty tired by this point and didn’t feel like doing much, so I watched a little TV and relaxed for a little bit. Then got up for a shower and made myself presentable right about the time everyone else was arriving.

We had a group meeting earlier and it was great to finally get to sit down with everyone who’s a part of this. A couple of people I had never even met. We went through all of the details we will need for the race tomorrow and made sure we all know where we’re supposed to be and when. The coach talked a lot about the weather for tomorrow and said that no one should be trying to PR tomorrow (race speak for setting your personal record.) This actually made me feel a little better. I was never going for my best time, but I still felt that I should be improving and not doing worse than my last race. Because of the heat, she said you should plan to add at least 10 or maybe 20 minutes onto your expected time. It could be a long day…

team challenge pasta party virginia spirit lineAnd I just got back from the day before the race pasta party. This part is, to me, the most important part of this whole thing. It’s where everyone comes together and cheers each other on and knows that we are all there for the same reason. The run is kind of secondary to that. It was a great night of hearing inspiring stories and learning that, as a group, the Virginia runners have raised over $950,000! That’s just amazing and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

But I need to sign off now. The race starts in less than 10 hours and I’ll be waking up in less than 7. I’ll be back after those 13.1 miles!

Sit down, stay a while. I'd love to hear from you.