Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Hood To Coast Experience! Time 'o life.

I've been TOTALLY procrastinating on this write up!  Probably because it was too intense of an experience to write quickly and I don't know what to leave in / leave out.  But...you've got a billion other (better) bloggers to read in HTC recaps, so I'm just gonna try mah best mmmm kay?   =)

I flew into Seattle Wednesday night to spend some time with Anthony pre-Hood To Coast.  It pretty much consisted of working even though I was on vacation and watching Game Of Thrones (new HBO series!) with him.  Thursday night, Nuun hosted a pre-race dinner. My heart went pitter-patter as I met so many bloggers that I knew only from internet pictures!

I have no idea what the appropriate way to meet new bloggers is.  I usually say "heeyyyy!  You're "X blogger!". And then I feel kinda awkward because clearly I've been stalking them online. But...usually they are nice and sometimes we even quickly hug!  Because...we kinda already know each other, right?

After dinner, we stole helped ourselves to a bunch of Nuun sitting on the shelves! Let's just say I will not be running out any time soon!


Van 1 of Nuun Platuun planned to roll out of the hotel and go to Mount Hood at 6:00 AM Friday.  We met in the lobby, took some pics, and got going!  My van was Alyssa, Lisa, Kerrie, Tricia, Caitlin (Nuun), and Alex (Nuun driver).  We also had a photographer with us some of the time.

We made our way to Mount Hood and after three hours of driving and getting to know each other better, we pull into this glorious place:

OMG Mt. Hood.  

Tricia was the first up to start the race, and she was definitely nervous!  As soon as the race started though, we tailed her in the van and she was kicking some booty down the mountain!  She finished her leg, and Alyssa took the "baton" (really a slap bracelet).  Unfortunately it was getting hotter and hotter.  After Caitlin and Kerrie finished their legs, it was time for this bunny to start running.

My First Leg
Let's just say it was hot and I was sweat-tay.  But my awesome van tailed me, pouring water on me as I ran by.  I was pretty physically uncomfortable, but the pure thought of running Hood To Coast made this leg awesome, despite the heat and hills.   My performance was nothing to write home about, something like 7:40 pace for 6.1 miles.

I handed the slap bracelet onto Lisa and she brought in Van 1, handing off to Jess in Van 2.  We met up with Van 2 in the Safeway parking lot and I drank copious amounts of milk to try to recover.

It was pretty cool to finally see Van 2 since we had been separated from them since the start.

I chatted with my awesome teammates and made weird arm movements as evident in the picture on the right.

Van 2 took off, and we went for some nice R&R at a pub in suburban Portland.  I had a delicious loaded baked potato.  Before we knew it, it was time to meet up in Portland to get going on our nighttime legs!


The next Van exchange was really in a strange part of Portland.  It appeared to be some sort of park next to a bunch of trains.  We got to hang out with the other teammates and the girls from AfterNuun Delight and also wear some really stylish night gear (head lamp and vest).

Tricia led off our awesome van again, but ended up getting stuck behind a train for like 15 minutes!  She decided to not try to climb over the moving train, but was still awesome.  Alyssa went off on her leg and went ridiculously under her predicted pace.  We were all starting to get tired by now (after having been awake 20 hours), but it was my turn to run again.  I took a caffeine enhanced Gu, and went for it.  

Leg 2
This was honestly one of the strangest running experiences of my life.  I was running somewhere in rural Oregon down a highway that was nearly pitch black.  The only things I could see were other runners in the distance (their flashing lights) and trucks along the side of the highway.  Occasionally, a truck would honk to "say hi", which was kind of fun.  I felt like I was on a weird infinite treadmill where I had no idea where I was or how fast I was going.  Good thing, because I wasn't going all that fast.  I think I averaged around 7:40 miles for the 7.1 miles.  This isn't great because the terrain was pretty easy and flat.  I'm gonna forgive myself though.  Extenuating circumstances!
I was both bored and excited at the same time, but before I knew it, I rolled into the next exchange point and handed off to Lisa.

Complete Confusion

I'm not really good with not sleeping.  I can do it, I just start going insane.  This didn't bode well for the nighttime hours of HTC.

We pulled into a sleeping area around 2:30 AM.  I was completely disoriented, and went to go lay on the grass by myself and thought it was a great idea to not tell anyone.  After 45 minutes into my adventure, I decided to start walking around like a zombie.

I ran into Alex, our van driver.  He told me the whole van was looking for me.  I then bit him and we all turned into zombies.

uhhh..just kidding about that last part.

Anyways, we all piled into the van to try to get to the next exchange point.  Traffic was horrible. We were seriously going about 1 mile/hr and runners were passing us on the side.   There actually was a guy walking around outside that looked like a Zombie. All of this would have been fine, though.
Except for the fact, that I had recovered from my run #2 by drinking a ton of milk.  And I had to pee like a racehorse.

For about 30 minutes I tried to hold it, knowing that going in the woods is well...not allowed in HTC.  Finally, I couldn't take it anymore.  At 4:30 AM, I sprinted out of the van into the unknown foggy Oregon countryside.  And behind an old abandoned house, I did what I had to do.  Rules be damned, I tried to hold it and failed.

According to my teammates, my sprinting into the fog with a roll of toilet paper was quite a sight to behold.

Sweet Sleep

We finally pulled up into the lot around 5:00 AM, and poor Alex had been driving for about 24 hours.  We put down a tarp, and got a glorious 60 minutes of sleep.  When I woke up it was light out.  The night before felt like some weird nightmare, and now that it was light, everything was ok again.

Go Time Again.  Beautiful.  

After a little getting ready and trying to be lucid, it was time for Tricia to lead us off again.  She had an adorable Camo dress (skirt shirt combo) and got ready to rumble.  We started driving into the hills in Astoria, Oregon.  Maybe it was the lack of sleep, but there was something breathtaking about the morning.

There was fog everywhere, and it was cool.  The land was green and hilly, and we all just had one more run to go to bring in Hood To Coast.

Even though everyone was doing a great job on their legs, I was very nervous about mine.  My last leg was a straight 3.5 mile climb and I wasn't sure if I'd be ok doing it.  I took plenty of Pepto swigs to try to be ready.

Finally, it was my turn.  And dude..it was GLORIOUS!

Handing Off to Lisa
It is hard for me to describe how beautiful the area was, or how many cheers I got running up that mountain.  The support, the scenery, and knowing I was on my last leg, made this an indescribable experience.

When I got to the top of the mountainn, I knew it was time to let it all go.  2.5 miles down, time to let it all out.  I went up the mountain at 9 minute miles, but I came down at 6:30 pace.
Every leg I ran was beautiful, but leg 29 (my third) is a reason to be the number 5 runner on its own.  Took my breath away.

The Finish
After Van 1 finished, we drove through Oregon to Seaside in a ton of traffic.  We kept getting updates about our teammates.  How Susan ran an amazing final leg.  How XLMIC, our last runner, was getting ready to run.

We made it to the finish in our van, and waited to see XLMIC bring it in.  And she finished the whole HTC under 28 hours, in 27:59.   When she finished, I told her that it is crazy to see how much she gives to each leg.  She said "I don't know any other way to run".  Amazing quote!!

I spent my time after the race primarily with Anthony as we drove to Portland.  I was pretty freaking disoriented and had to wake up in the middle of the night to throw up.  I'm telling you this not to gross you out (ok..maybe a little bit), but to say "HOLY CRAP WE PUSHED OURSELVES TO THE LIMIT!"

Now, a couple days later, I feel more recovered.
I know I will never forget this crazy weekend.  It was so cool, beautiful, challenging, and fun.

A special thank you to the companies that made this possible and so much more awesome for us: 
Nuun  (of course!)
And also....
Tommie Copper  (I am wearing your calf sleeves right now) 
Moving Comfort  (wore the Sports Bra earlier today!) 
Road ID
Flashbrite (reflective paws)
Buildasign (van magnets)
Jamba Juice
Jenny Craig


  1. What an epic race! Holy cow, nice job. Congrats on soldiering through. It will make for many years of good story telling.

  2. That. Sounds. Awesome! What an amazing running event! I might have to look into one of these in the future...

  3. Great job, girl! Don't you love those flying-down-a-mountain legs???? 6:30 pace--awesome. And that's some good schwag you got too.

    Future relay tip: go with people who rent a condo in the mountains for the sleep part (especially if it's already paid for--ha). Nothing like a shower and sheets between legs 2 and 3 to refresh the mind and body. :^)

  4. Ahh, I love the pictures. Great job!

  5. Wow, wow, wow!! What an experience. Mt. Hood looks beautiful!! Girl, holding a 7:40 pace is AWESOME! And busting out a 6:30 downhill on no sleep?!?!?! Are you kidding me? ROCKSTAR!

    It sounds like you all had an amazing time!!

  6. Your recap is perfect. Love it! Relays really are so hard but so rewarding.

  7. Is it weird I consider this like the non-mom's child birth recap? So little sleep, pain, puking - but an amazing outcome and a story to remember forever??

    I promise not to be so weird or talk about imaginary childbirth at Ragnar.

  8. Your zombie comment is cracking me up! Kerrie told me they couldn't find you Bunny!!

    You killed your legs. So thankful to meet you!!

  9. Amazing recap. Such an incredible experience for you all!

  10. Killer quote.

    I need to comment more later. This is a great recap. I love you. I am so glad that my inability to close a water bottle isn't a friendship deal breaker :)

  11. few things

    1. you're amazing
    2. watching you run is an experience in itself, you're a machine
    3. yes, I was terrified but somehow forgot about that part until I just read this recap ha!
    4. so thankful to have shared this with you

  12. haha! I heard all about how you went missing in the middle of the night (side note: we had no idea!! I feel so bad that we left your team searching for you after they helped us look for the key!). Glad everything worked out in the end. :)

    It was SO good meeting you this past weekend! You are an awesome person and runner! I only wish we could've spent more time together. Next time...!

  13. Wow what an experience! Congrats!

  14. Great race report! I loved your love for leg 29...and the sleeping bags picture is awesome.
    I love the quote from XLMIC!! I saw her come in at the end of leg 12 and you could just tell she had given it her very ALL!!!

  15. Awesome recap! Love the XLMIC quote, loved your sleeping (or not sleeping) stories. So fun to read! Congrats on finishing what is now a life-changing event!

  16. One hour - that's about what I got during Ragnar.

    Dude, I don't know why you are apologetic about your leg times - they are fast! I know the legs are short, but the reality is that it's pretty hard to get to 10K race pace in these relays. I learned that in my first leg when the heat knocked me on my ass at mile 2.

    I need to go read your other post before this one. That total time is awesome - you guys must have won your division!

  17. holy cow...ur play by plays are the best! CONGRATS to all u guys...u feaking rocked, barfing, u need no greater proof. ;)

  18. holy cow...ur play by plays are the best! CONGRATS to all u guys...u freaking rocked, barfing, u need no greater proof. ;)

  19. @Cait the Arty Runnerchick
    crap, where did the little trash can delete go?!?! i'm sorry, the first comment posted before i could fix my spelling error so i tried to repost the right way and intended to delete the messed up first one, and now i can't...wow, do i feel lame...sorry. :/

  20. You are a rockstar. This sounds like it was so awesome and definitely something to tell the grand kids some day! I can't even imagine what it was like running on such a lack of sleep and KILLING IT, that's so hardcore. Congrats!

  21. I loved this race report!! I can't even get one leg into a single post (can you say WORDY?). You are succinct yet conveyed the experience better than I ever could.

    I laughed out loud at the zombie comment.

    I loved being in your van! Can we do it again??