Monday, September 19, 2011

Hood to Coast 2011

I had said that I wasn't going to write a Hood to Coast recap, but whatever, I changed my mind. My blog, my rules, right?  Oh, and this is really long, but it's a really long race so that's just how it goes...

Here's some highlights from this year's race and these awesome folks I got to run it with.  

The weather:
Hood to Coast start
A lot of the teams with later start times experienced super warm weather for the race this year - and our van 2 definitely bore the brunt of this weather on our team.  But as I explained in this post, we started our race with a much different scenario:  5:15am - thunder, lightning and, just as our race started, hail. Crazy start.  I put the pic on again just because it's so cool. 

My Legs:

Leg 1 done!

With my plantar fasciitis, I was VERY nervous about how my foot would hold up running 3 times in 24 hours.  I managed to get an 8 miler in before Hood to Coast, but other than that my training runs hadn't been very long and I definitely wasn't feeling as prepared as I would have liked to be.  I just taped up my foot, took advil and hoped for the best.  I was really relieved with how well everything went.

Here are my stats:
Leg 6 - 6.75 miles, rated Hard. 
Leg Description: Challenging uphills and gradual downhills along Highway 26 on paved shoulder.
I averaged 7:55 pace on this leg which I was THRILLED with.  My realistic goal was to run 8:30's - and my secret hope was 8:00 flat, so to come in sub-8 AND to feel really strong, was exciting.

Leg 18 - 5.23 miles, rated Hard.
LEG DESCRIPTION: Flat and gradual uphill terrain on hwy and paved back country roads.
I averaged 8:33 pace on this leg.  Typically, my night leg is my strongest.  I love running at night and usually love this particular leg because it gets off the highway and out into the country roads.  But I was sucking wind as the majority of it was all uphill and I had done NO hill work at all to prepare.  I just couldn't get into a groove.

Leg 30 - 5.35 miles, rated Moderate.
LEG DESCRIPTION: Gradual uphill and steep downhill on winding narrow back road with
minimum shoulder.
I averaged 7:31 pace on my final leg.  SUPER psyched about this.  What I wasn't psyched about was that I had to run 1.5 miles in front of our runner to beat him to the exchange just to START my leg because traffic was so backed up.

This leg started on a pretty significant uphill, but then ended on a lot of downhill so I totally pushed it and took advantage of the decline.  My foot held up GREAT and I was super happy that I was able to pull out some pretty decent paces on my legs!

My Van-Mates:

Van 1-ers: Brian, Holly, Been, Me, Margo and Jon

Travelling for 24+ hours crammed in a mini-van with 5 other people who are physically exhausted, sleep, food and coffee deprived, might be the recipe for a uncomfortably miserable situation.  But I loved running with my van-mates!  Everyone was so supportive and the vibe was mellow and positive for the entire race.  My team is completely non-competitive.  We are simply out there for the fun of the event, and every year we have such a great time together.

My dedicated hubby:

This is Brian after he finished his first leg.  Right after this picture was taken, he hopped in his car (which we had left at the end of his leg on our way up the mtn) and drove straight to his office in Portland so he could shower there and then go to a meeting with a client.  Then he came back to the house, packed and joined back up with us for leg 2.  Such dedication - maybe his boss reads this blog and he'll get a special HTC bonus.

Favorite moment:

For those familiar with Hood to Coast, you know that leg 29 is a B*!%H!  It is a 6 mile leg with 3.5 miles straight uphill and then 2.5 straight back downhill.  This is not a slight incline here - the elevation gain goes from 700ft to almost 1300ft in those 3.5 miles and then back down again.  And, as it comes as the 3rd run on already tired legs, this is particularly brutal. 

This picture is of my friend Jon who absolutely KILLED it on this leg.  Jon had called me in the weeks before Hood to Coast that his foot was hurting and he wasn't sure how everything would hold up for the race.   So for him to take on this leg and run it so well was really awesome. 

We waited at the top of the hill for him - even though we knew it would probably mean we would be stuck in traffic getting to the next leg - because c'mon, after running that hill?  You deserve some team love.  Seeing him crest the top of the hill was definitely one of my favorite moments of the race.

A few funny pictures:

 This is my friend Been (pronounced Bean).  Girl just couldn't keep her eyes open - probably because we had gotten up at 3:30am!

Is that a stick in your hand...?
I'm thinking our team needs to pony up for some better fitting reflective vests, yes?  We are so cheap.

Cutest Couple:
Love the team name:  Faster than a Speeding Mullet
Margo and her new love.  Who says you can't find romance on the road? 

Cutest Couple (for reals):

Tom and Sandy - how cute are they?  The only other couple on the team was Brian and I and I know we ain't this cute...

Our stylish finisher:

Tom was the only male in Van 2, but probably the most stylish of them all - love the shorts.  Brought it to the coast with flair...

Just cuz we're classy:
What would you do after you're done running, you've eaten breakfast, your room at the coast isn't ready yet and Van 2 hasn't come in?  If you say sit on the pavement and have a Bud Light in the parking lot, then you would fit in well with our team.  Keepin' it classy...

The Finish:

Sunshine, beer and friends - what more could you ask for?  I love the finish because you finally get a chance to relax and talk to friends in the other van.  With traffic being so bad (this year's race had 250 more teams than previous years, and boy was it noticeable!), we had even less of a chance between van exchanges to interact with each other because we were always worried about getting to the next spot on time. 

Thankful to Matt, Holly's husband for joining us on Leg 1 and experiencing the epic storm on the mountain.  So good to have you along for part of the journey.

I don't have a picture of him, but super thankful to our volunteer, Doug, who ran exchange point 4 from 12:45 to 11:15pm on Friday. Hood to Coast makes all local teams (within 100 miles) provide three volunteers to help run the race.  Doug has volunteered for us for the last 5 years or so and runs an entire exchange point which fulfills our volunteer requirement.  So grateful that he is willing to do this for us every year!

And finally, to my team.  So grateful for the experience of running with you all and another great year where everyone finished happy and healthy.  Also grateful for this:
Gift from my team for being the captain and putting up with all their requests to "get an easy set of legs this year" (I kid...I kid).  Seriously though, it was such a nice gift and I am so thankful to them for thinking of it.

Hood to Coast 2011 done!  Registration for 2012 opens (and closes because it will sell out the first day) on October 12, 2011.  Fingers crossed that the running gods smile on us again and we get a spot!


XLMIC said...

I'm kinda bummed we never met... but we were in all the right places at totally different times :P Looks like you all had as much fun as we did and were able to do it crammed into a much smaller space!

I love your recap! I hope I get to be a part of HTC again next year :)

Jessica (Pace of Me) said...

Oh my gosh, this looks like so much fun! I have to do this some day ... Between reading your recap, all of the Nuun bloggers' recaps and watching the HTC movie I am so totally hooked on experiencing this for myself. Thanks for sharing!!!

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