This past weekend I ran the Hood to Coast relay for the 3rd year in a row. I applied for a team earlier this year and we were miraculously selected to be one of 1,250 teams to participate. We started off as a team of MTI coworkers, but over the months people ended up dropping out and were replaced by friends of team members. So our team name fittingly became "Droppin' Like Flies". I was in Van 1 with my friends Megan and Michael and a few other new friends Justin, Trevor and Bobby plus our driver, Bill.
This year I ran Leg 2, which I really enjoyed despite the somewhat brutal first leg completely downhill from Mount Hood (a 1,500 ft elevation loss over 5.7 miles). I ran at quite a pace (7:15 min/mile) and killed my quads. My second leg was just outside of Portland along Hwy 30 past the St. John's bridge. It was a tough leg because it was really hot outside on Friday evening and I think I was pushing myself a little too hard. I kept a pretty good pace by tailing a woman in blue shorts for several miles. I passed her with about a mile to go and felt pretty good about taking the lead. However, she made a comeback in the last few hundred yards and we sprinted toward the exchange line as her team yelled, "Get her! Get her!" That was the most defeating feeling to hear people cheering those words and knowing that you are the person they're yelling about. So I pretty much ate that woman's dust as she crossed the exchange line before me and at that moment I realized my competitiveness as I walked off the steam. Oh well... she motivated me to run hard and brought my pace for that leg under 8:30. My final leg was at 5am on Saturday morning and was quite enjoyable as the weather was cool and the light of the sunrise was barely visable over the horizon. I finished up strong and was glad to be finished early.
After our van was done with our last legs and passed off to Van 2 to finish up the relay, we were able to take showers at Trevor's beach house and then head down to the beach at Seaside to wait for our final runner. Once we made it across the finish line, we were all anxious to get back in the van, head back to Portland, and crash in our own beds. I fell asleep at 6pm Saturday evening and woke up at 7am the next morning. I felt much better after a good night's sleep, but have never been so sore. I walked out of my room and stood at the top of the stairs for a good 10 seconds telling myself, "You can do this... you can make it down those stairs!" They were pretty freaking miserable, but walking became easier throughout the day.
I absolutely love running the Hood to Coast race and I've made it a new goal to eventually run each of the 12 legs. Our team this year was amazing... everyone ran hard and no one got injured. I hope we can all run it again next year!
Van 1 at the Starting Line at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood
Van 1 on the road waiting for Bobby to come in
Mary and Justin stretching on Hwy 26
the big exchange with Van 2 under the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland
my 2nd leg along Hwy 30