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Run in with an Odyssey

November 14, 2011

Take a look at this map.

I live about a mile from number 36.

Number 36 is the last leg in a 178 mile relay race. It’s possible, I suppose, that you have to live in Nevada (or somewhere else that has wide, wide open space) to understand the outrageous lunacy of a team of 12 people running a race that takes you from the heart of Reno, around Lake Tahoe, through Carson City and Virginia City, and back to Reno.

Reno is in the mountains, by the way. The Sierra Nevada mountains. Here. I’ll show you my mountains:

You have to get over the mountains to get, well, just about anywhere.

During the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey, teams of 12 people make their way around the course on the map above. Each person runs three legs, between four and six miles a piece. The rest of the team is divided between two vans, one holding runners 1-6 and the other runners 7-12. It takes up to 36 hours to complete the race, and you stay together as group, supporting your runners the entire time.

I’ve committed myself to being a part of a team running this race in June (I’m using the term “running” loosely here, at least as it pertains to myself). And I’m scared. It bumps up against all of the fears I have for myself when it comes to athleticism. What if I’m the slowest? What if I get hurt? What if I can’t actually complete three four- to six-mile segments over the span of 32-ish sleepless hours? What if I’m the fattest? What if…

What if I don’t do it?

The race starts and ends on my home turf, at the park where I often run. Today, I’m scared that I wouldn’t even be able to walk one of the legs, much less run three of them. But I refuse to let my fears keep me from being one of the 2,500 runners flooding my park, my town, my mountains, my lake on June 1 and 2.

This is by far the scariest thing I’ve ever done. When I’m done, I’ll know I can do just about anything I put my mind to. That’s an incredible lesson, right?

Turns out, when I put aside my fear, I think it’s pretty cool that I’ll be the fattest — at least on my team. In fact, I look forward to it. What better way to prove that fitness and health and endurance and athletic ability are not superglued to thinness?

I have about nine months to train. My goal is to be able to run at least three miles of each of my legs. You can read more about my training on my blog.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Fab@54 permalink
    November 14, 2011 10:14 am

    First, let me say, you live in one of the most Beautiful areas in the USA… Those vistas are stunning.
    Second, I can’t tell you how much I admire your guts n fortitude to run this relay!! I’ll be rootin’ for ya all the way!


  2. November 14, 2011 10:22 am

    Holy crap, consider me impressed. I wish someone would record your progress for a documentary. It would be fascinating to follow your preparations for such a daunting trial. I can’t wait to hear how it goes. Keep us posted!


  3. November 14, 2011 11:03 am

    Dear Shaunta,

    You CAN do it. I trained my big old fat body to complete a marathon and I DID. But you need to train super gradually to keep from getting hurt. I’d be happy to go over some tips with you and review your training regimen (for free) if you’d like some help. If not, I’ll gladly just cheer you on and say, GO you!

  4. November 14, 2011 11:12 am

    Holy snapper. Happy training and good luck! Your part of the USA is quite beautiful. Thank you for the pic of ‘your’ mountains. 😉

  5. November 14, 2011 2:45 pm

    Thanks guys! I’m pretty excited, and totally appreciate the cheering!

    Fatchicksings…I would love your pointers. Thank you! My email address is

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