Temperature: variable (my coldest leg was 49 degrees and my hottest was 78 degrees)
Official Time: 28:17:58 (average pace of 8:29 per mile)
Place in Division: 2/28 (Womens Open)
Overall Place: 261/1070
I've been thinking (even prior to racing) about how I was going to summarize this experience. And what I keep coming back to is, I can't. There is nothing I can say that will accurately depict how amazing it is to run Hood to Coast with a group of like-minded running bloggers, supported and cared for by the amazing people at Nuun Hydration.
Plain and simple, there is nothing else like it.
If you are ever given the opportunity to experience it, I guarantee, it will change you in some way. I know that it changed me.
Nuun Hydration: Not that I expected anything less, but the people at Nuun were as amazing as always. In addition to sponsoring three teams (Team Morning, Team Noon and Team Night), they handled race logistics, pre-race activities, post-race festivities and everything in between. I cannot express how much I love these people. They welcomed us with open arms and we couldn't have asked for more.
The Mountain of SWAG: In addition to being sponsored by Nuun, we had numerous other companies supply us with gear, food and pretty much everything else you could possibly need during a relay. Talk about feeling like a kid on Christmas. I am extremely appreciative of their support and it would be totally worth your while to check these fine companies out.
- Team Sparkle
- KIND Snacks
- Road Noise Vests
- Sparkly Soul Headbands
- Aspaeris Compression Shorts
- Jamba Juice
- Tiger Tail
- Tough Chik
- Go Sport ID
- Endorphin Warrior
- Picky Bars
- Knuckle Lights
- Maui Jim Sunglasses
- Go Motion Gear
- Swiftwick Socks
|My favorite swag - Custom Tough Chik Arm Warmers|
The Course: I've said it before and I'll say it again - The views on this course are epically beautiful. Van 1 starts atop Mt. Hood while Van 2 starts roughly 40 miles down the road in Sandy, OR. Both vans make their way through the woods, down into the valley, back up over the mountains and to the sea. It's simply amazing.
My favorite part came a third of the way through my first leg. The sun was setting and I turned a corner and ran towards Mt. Hood in the distance. It was breathtaking.
|as the sunset during my first leg ...|
My Nuun-mates: These women (and men) are awesome. I love them to pieces and am so grateful to have them in my life.
|Post-race festivities ..|
|Reunited: 2011 Nuun Platuun Van 2|
|Love my van-mate, Kim|
|Ready to roll ...|
|Me and HLove ...|
|Team Noon, Van 2 ...|
Over the course of the two days prior to the race, we went to a Mariners game ...
had a scavenger hunt (my team won!),
|Ricole, Vanessa, Marjorie, Harmony, me and Stephanie|
and created a million memories and new friends that I will cherish forever.
My Legs (#7, #19, #31): I won't lie. Heading into the race this year, I was beyond terrified of my legs. I just remembered watching Jess run them last year and thinking how happy I was that I didn't have to climb those mountains.
As the race approached, I realized that I was less scared about the terrain of the course than I was of my ability to run them strong. At some point (probably about a mile into my first leg), I decided that the hills had nothing on me. I was just going to run to the best of my ability at that very moment.
And I did.
Yes, the climbs were challenging. And yes, I had moments where I longed for it to be over. But, I also tried to relish every single step I took and I tried to reclaim my run love with each stride. I finished feeling powerful and strong, something that has eluded me lately.
Our Van Song - If you want to get an idea of the feel of my van, then look no further than our official van song: "You Can Leave Your Hat On", by Tom Jones. If you haven't heard it before, you need to. Trust me, you're missing out.
Van Food: I think the thing that messes with you during a relay the most is the lack of real food. We ate lunch on the way to the first exchange on Friday afternoon and didn't have another real meal until after 8 p.m. on Saturday. The 30 hours in between were filled with trail mix, KIND Bars, Nuun, brownies, M&Ms, cheese stick, gummy bears and Chobani. And while it tasted good at the time, it was a digestive nightmare for me. It didn't take long for me to be carrying around a "food baby."
Late Start: All three of the Nuun teams started after 2 p.m. this year. While that made for a relaxed morning, it left us running on a rather empty race course. Road kills weren't nearly as prevalent as last year and we were often getting run down by the elite teams (think, Nike). The late start also meant that we finished late and arrived at the beach after much of the festivities had occurred.
The stench: From the 24th through the morning of the 27th, I took 1 shower and ran 16+ miles. Enough said ...