Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hood To Coast Relay Race Report with Team Runners World - Part 2

Now, in Part 2, on to the running! LOL. Part 1 covered several semi-strangers shopping for a hodgepodge of relay groceries for our two team vans. I put this Hood To Coast Relay weekend adventure in multiple blog posts as I'm trying to catch up on journaling my running to relive it some day in the future.

So before I headed to Portland, I had posted my "oh my goodness, I'm running down the side of a mountain" post about the difficult Leg 1 that I actually CHOSE to run. Race morning, we prep the vans for a 6 am leave time for what will lead up to a 9 am team start i.e. my first leg at 9 am.

We had a little excitement as we were getting ready to go. Somewhere in the hotel a fire alarm went off - a few vanmates were temporarily stuck in the elevator (eek!) and the firefighters arrived in their fire truck to investigate. Hence the oddity of a firetruck in the background of the group pic here!

Our vans, our homes for the 36 hours, were the only 2 of their kind. Provided by a Hood To Coast sponsor, we had "Official Vehicles" decaled-out in our Nissan Quest minivans.

The cleanest Kristen and I would be for the next 30 hours of running ;-)
We stopped at a grocery store on the way east to Mount Hood. Then we started the climb that encompassed Legs 1 and 2 of this race - legs me and Molly were running. It was exciting and a little disconcerting to hear these faster runners squealing about the elevation as we climbed and climbed. I was generally feeling okay because I knew my advantage was that I'm able to run 70% and not feel pressure to come out from the start racing all-out on this 2000 foot drop. Then, Bart didn't make me feel better when he, a 14 year veteran of the race, said, "Leg 1 is a leg where even if you run it easy, you puke." Golly gee, thanks, Bart.

On Top of the Mountain

Mt. Hood, right before I ran 2000 feet down a mountain over 5.6 miles
We checked in at packet pickup. The lines took us a while, and it made everything very hurried for my 9 am start. We ran over to what Bart called "the rock", where it appears every team takes their picture, and snapped two pics.

Van 1

Goofy picture pose!

Right after these pictures, we're walking back toward the start. My nerves are appearing because we're really pushing our luck in terms of how close we are to our 9 am start. Then I hear Bart say, "Oh, they just called our team name." Oh no! I literally get to the start line within 10 seconds of the start of our wave of 15 or so teams. Everyone else looks at me like, "Guess who decided to join the party?" LOL.

In the gray shirt. Made it to the start in the nick of time!

Down and Down and Down

I'm having a blast on this leg. It's absolutely beautiful. Curvy highway, beautiful ancient evergreen trees, perfect blue sky, a breeze, and amazing views.

This race requires a fast average pace from all teams, so I was not surprised to quickly fall behind the others.
That's okay, more time to enjoy the view! :-P

There were even waterfalls RIGHT by the shoulder of the road.

No zoom necessary! Only a couple feet from me!
And can you believe how tall those pine trees are?!?

And look, the downhill never ends!
I come around a corner and our team's Van 2 is there waiting for me. They make me smile so much. It's such great energy to kick off the race, and I feel so blessed to be in the company of these strangers-turned-friends!

Look at the awesome Van 2 running with me!

Laura ran a little further with the sweetest sincere, "How ya doin'? You okay?" moment.
I'm not worrying about my pace, and I'm just trying to enjoy the view and remember to smile as often as possible at this experience of a lifetime.

Can't. Stop. Smiling.

About a half mile or less from the end of this 5.6 mile leg, I turn onto another road, and suddenly the downhill is over, and there is a momentary tenth-of-a-mile uphill. BAM! Legs turn into sludge, but I power past another runner, because I had thankfully conserved energy.

I can't help but start kicking it in on this flat last quarter mile. Finish strong.

Yay, I actually have leg muscles in this picture!

I prep my relay band (which is a like the 80s "slap bracelet" so I have to unfold it into a straight baton off of my wrist), and Molly and I execute the first handoff of the team seamlessly!

Afterward, someone captured my happiness, and relief, of finishing that first relay leg.

Me, happy with this amazing experience's kickoff!
Side note: We all had a big laugh that the company who does the portapotties calls them "Honeybuckets"

More in another day or so, as I show off pictures and thoughts about the team's downtime, and my legs 2 and 3!

1 comment:

  1. A friend of mine grew up with a guy who's family owned a Honey Bucket outfit in Coeur d'Alene. Apparently his dad would say "Smell that son? That's the smell of money!".