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!!


  1. Way to go, Mary!!!! I bet you're exhausted!

  2. Now on to the Portland Marathon! You go, girl!
    Maybe next year the family will all come to watch you run?

  3. It actually says "Honey Bucket" on the port-o-potties? That's hilarious!

  4. So proud of you Mary! Looks like you have a fun team.