Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hood to Coast 2010

This weekend was Hood to Coast 2010! This was my second year to run this 197-mile relay which starts at Mount Hood and ends at Seaside, OR.  This event is called "the mother of all relays" and sounds somewhat intimidating, but it is really so much fun!  My team, Equip Africa, was organized by John Garrick the founder of Eternal Impact.  John is a ball of energy to say the least, but has been sick with an intense sinus condition that will require surgery next month.  However, he pushed through his illness and weakness and ran as the 12th leg, the anchor, of our team.  John, you are amazing!

So here's a little overview of how the relay works: You have 12 team members who each run 3 legs of the 197 miles relay.  The team has two vans; Van 1 carries runners 1-6 and Van 2 carries runners 7-12.  Someone on your team is always running.  So Van 1 runs the first 6 legs then hands of to Van 2 who runs the next 6 legs.  We go back and forth like that until all 36 legs are finished.   Van 1 started at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood at 9:30am Friday morning.  My van took over in Sandy around 2:00pm that afternoon.

My first run was leg 7 which was 5.65 miles.  I ran it in 48:25 with an 8:24 min/mile pace.  My cousin Madison was nice enough to drive out to Sandy to cheer me on and even ran the first 4 miles of that leg with me!  Having someone run beside me and talk with me was so encouraging and made the run much easier and more enjoyable.  Thanks so much, Madison!

Our van finished our first legs under the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland where John handed the baton (which is actually a slap bracelet) off to Carly, Runner 1.  While Van 2 ran their second legs, we headed to a church where we were able to take showers, clean up and grab a Subway sandwich before heading to St Helens, OR to start our second legs.

My second run was leg 19 which was 5.89 miles and a little hilly.  I ran this leg around midnight and was a little delirious.  It was also surprisingly really cold.  The run was pretty much on a windy road through a forested area, so it was pitch black but we are required to wear a reflective running vest, head lamp and red blinking lights on our front and back.  Running in the middle of the night in the dark is totally mental.  You can't see your surroundings or where you're going, you have no idea where you really are, I couldn't just glance at my watch to see how far I had gone, and my body was wishing it was in a warm bed.  I ran that leg in 53:13 with an 8:51 pace.  After a little stretch, I headed to the back bench of the van and fell asleep while the other runners ran their second leg.  Last year I think I only got 30 mins of sleep during the whole H2C weekend - mainly because a fellow teammate snored pretty loud, not to mention any names (Ryan).  This year I bet I got abour 3-4 hours of sleep which really helped!

I ran my final run, leg 31, on Saturday morning around 9:00am.  This was a nice easy 4 mile run which I finished in 31:57 with a 7:59 pace - I was really pushing it on this one!  Both vans met up in Seaside to finish the final leg with John.  We crossed the finish line on the sand (that's right, they make you run the last bit of the race when you're sore and want to fall over in the sand - cruel) after running for 28hrs 30mins and 32secs.  We received our medals, took group pictures then headed back to those smelly vans to head home where we could take a shower and drop in our beds.  I went to sleep at 7:45pm last night and woke up at 7:45am this morning - a full 12 hours of sleep!

With 1,000 amazing teams, 12,000 crazy runners and 2,000 rediculously decorated vans, there is never a dull moment in the race.  I loved being able to spend time with everyone on my team, most of whom I didn't know at all or hadn't seen since last year's race.  I had a blast this weekend and can hardly wait to run Hood to Coast again next year! 

Van 1 getting ready to load the van and start the race...
no backing out now!

Madison and I about to run my first leg

John (in the sweaty blue shirt) finishing his first leg under the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland.
Yes, there was team from Texas here flying the UT flag. I stopped them, told them I was from Texas as well and talked to them for a while - we instantly bonded, even though they are Longhorns.

We spent way too much time in these this weekend.

Equip Africa team on the beach after crossing the finish line!

Thanks again to everyone who supported the Eternal Impact cause and who encouraged me along the way.  A good friend gave me a great challenge in order to raise money for Eternal Impact: he agreed to donate $5 for every second under 9 mins I kept my average running pace.  This really motivated me to kick it in gear and run as fast as possible.  I ended up with an 8:28 average pace and a $160 donation from this friend!
That leaves me only $160 from my $1,000 fundraising goal. I ran my heart out this weekend and now I'm giving my final fundraising push for Eternal Impact... click here to make it happen!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

10 days to go...

This weekend I had my final Hood to Coast meeting before the big race which starts on Friday, August 27th.  We discussed all of the details about what to expect during the race (being smelly and exhausted, but loving every minute of it) and revisited the reason we're running this intense 200-mile race from Mount Hood to the coast of Oregon in the first place... for Uganda!

Some of you may remember that I ran Hood to Coast last year, too.  I didn't realize until after signing on with my team that besides running this insane relay, we would also be raising money for a Ugandan organization called Eternal Impact. This was very exciting to me as I have such a love for the country and people of Uganda, and it gave me extra motivation to train for what's called "the mother of all relays".  I am running on the Eternal Impact team again this year and am just as exciting about the race (minus the no showers or sleep) as I am about supporting this wonderful organization.

So apparently you're a faithful blog reader - thank you!  I can't tell you how much I appreciate your interest in and support of my everyday life, no matter how close or far you may be.  So now I'm asking you to support and encourage me in this race by helping me reach my $1,000 fundraising goal for Eternal Impact.  Don't shy away from me now!  Seriously, every little bit makes a difference - $5, $15, $50 - it all adds up and can make an incredible impact on those served in Uganda.

So log onto the Eternal Impact donation page and give whatever it is your big heart can give. (Make sure to designate funds for Hood 2 Coast Team, then Mary Carter.)  Thanks to those who have already given -- Mom and Dad, Granddaddy, Uncles Les, Uncle Bob and Aunt Judy, Kaitlyn, Laura, Hannah, Liesl, Alyssa, Anne, Kate.  I appreciate it more than you know!

One Mile at a Time
This year I am running a total of 15.45 miles over 3 legs.  My fundraising goal is $1,000.  That comes out to just under $65 per mile.  Here's my promise: if you sponsor a whole mile, then I will run that mile however you want me to run it... listening to your favorite band, wearing certain clothing, doing cartwheels (well maybe not since I'm trying to make a certain time).  This could get interesting!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mount Adams

This was an epic weekend... Drew, Josh, Madison, Mollie and I climbed Mount Adams and made it to the top!  Mount Adams, which is part of the Cascade Range, is the 2nd highest mountain in Washington with an elevation of 12,227 ft. I have to admit I was a little nervous about this weekend's climb, but it went smoothly and was a blast!

Our group drove out to the mountain near Trout Lake in South Central Washington on Saturday evening. We set up camp near the trailhead, ate a pasta dinner, then headed of to bed (actually sleeping bag) around 8:00pm. When climbing in snow, you want to start your climb very early in the morning when the snow is frozen and packed as opposed to slushy in the afternoon. So the plan was to get 4 hours of sleep, wake up at midnight, and start climbing around 1:00am.  But I didn't sleep a wink - I wasn't tired, I wasn't too comfortable and I was anxious to get on the mountain.  So after laying awake for 4 hours, it was time to get up, get ready and begin the climb.

It was pitch dark so we used head lamps to light our way up the South Spur Route which starts at 5,600 ft and gains nearly 7,000 ft of elevation over 5.7 miles.  A few hours in, right before we got to the "Lunch Counter", I felt something dragging on my boot.  Surely I didn't step in gum on a snowy mountain!  I looked down to see what was hanging off the bottom of my boot... and it was the sole of my boot!  I'd rented these boots from an outdoor store that I have used before, but these boots had definitely seen better days.  Thankfully Mollie had some duct tape in her bag (you're a lifesaver, Mollie!) so Drew and Josh mended my boot with athletic tape and duct tape and we kept climbing.  Problem solved.  Or so we thought.  Throughout the climb, my shoes continued to fall apart.  Not only did we have to keep mending the right shoe, but on the descent the entire sole of my left shoe came off in my crampon (those spikey boot attachments that provide traction in ice and snow).  By the end of the day, after at least half a dozen repairs with tape, string and rope, I just ripped the soles completely off of the boots - so frustrating, but at least it didn't completely ruin the trip.  Thanks for taking care of me, Big D!

Besides that, everything else was great.  The weather was perfect: sunny and clear skies with just a little wind.  The views were incredible: from the top of Adams you could see Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson and Mount St Helens.  And being on the mountain as the sun was rising was breathtaking.  And the company was the best: I loved getting to spend quality time with each person while on the mountain.  Being out in nature with no distractons and nothing but time is a great way to build relationships with those around you.

I'm so thankful to Drew and Josh for guiding us up Mount Adams.  What a great weekend - one of the best I've had up here in the Great Northwest.  I can't wait for the next big adventure!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer Reading

Remember when summertime used to mean three-month long sabbaticals, relaxing vacations, daily adventures, and a much-needed break from the norm?  Well those days are long gone and my summertime adventures are cut down to two-day weekends and books that help me escape in my mind.  In the past few months, I've rediscovered my love for reading and have figuratively been on many amazing adventures.  I have:

- traveled to Pakistan to help build schools for young boys who otherwise might fall under the power of the Taliban and young girls who otherwise might never receive an education that empowers them with confidence and self-worth

- followed my dreams across Egypt in search of treasures - a journey that lead to faith and wisdom

- been confined to a hospital bed due to "locked-in syndrome" with my memory and imagination as the only escape

- lived in Brooklyn in the early 1900s and overcome the hardships of poverty and family tribulations

- and most recently, hitch-hiked across America reaching the final destination of the Alaskan wilderness

I highly recommend each of these books.  This was my 3rd time to read the Alchemist (my all-time favorite book), my 2nd time to read Three Cups of Tea (my 2nd favorite book), and my first time to read Into the Wild (which has quickly become my 3rd favorite).

What books would you recommend?

Favorite Book Quotes
“When you want something with all your heart, that’s when you are closest to the Soul of the World. It’s always a positive force.”
- Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

"If we try to resolve terrorism with military might and nothing else, then we will be no safer than we were before 9/11. If we truly want a legacy of peace for our children, we need to understand that this is a war that will ultimately be won with books, not with bombs."
- Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea

"The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun."
- Chris McCandless, Into the Wild