Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hood to Coast 2012

This is my favorite weekend of the year.  The weekend where 12,000 of us crazy runners throw all comfort out the window and pile into vans, forget about sleeping and run from Mount Hood to the Oregon coast on extreme adrenaline (and a little training, too).

Our team name was Return of the Flies - last year we were Droppin' Like Flies and next year we'll be Lord of the Flies.  The team included several coworkers, my roommates, guys from last year's team and a few other friends.  I was in Van 1 with our awesome driver Bruce who owns a 15 passenger van and has driven Hood to Coast for 15 years.  He was the best!  I ran Leg 6 with a total of 17.33 miles which I ran at an average pace of 8:15.

My first leg was 6.75 miles along Hwy 26 in Sandy.  It was a long and hot one on Friday afternoon.  My second leg was 5.23 miles along Hwy 30 in St Helens.  I ran this one at midnight and was grateful that I didn't fall asleep in the middle of it.  My third leg was 5.35 miles out in Astoria.  I ran this one at about 10am.  It included a lot of downhill which was good because I didn't have a ton of extra energy but it was pretty rough on my already sore and tight quads.  Our star runner this year was Justin who ran leg 5.  Not only is the the #1 ranked most difficult leg, this year there was a 2 mile detour added to one of his legs due to a fire out in St Helens.  He dominated and didn't complain once.  Seriously, way to go Justin!

I love the craziness of the weekend event that runs directly through Portland and the encouraging spirit of the 1,000 teams.  I love spending lots of time with the other people in the van (despite the lack of any personal space).  I love being surrounded by others who simply love running as well.  I love not taking showers, not sleeping, and using port-a-potties.  Just kidding - that is definitely not the highlight of the weekend.

Speaking of the highlight of the weekend... I don't know if any of you have seen the Hood to Coast documentary.  It's very well made a gives a good picture of what the weekend running weekend is all about.  The film was made 4 years ago and follows 4 different teams.  One of those teams is Dead Jocks in a Box.  In the words of one of the team members, "Being on Dead Jocks is kind of like being on a select but really irrelevant fraternity."  They are "over-the-hill" athletes.  I think the team is awesome and really hilarious.  Yesterday after I had finished my last leg and we were headed out to the Coast, we came across one of the Dead Jocks vans (literally right after we were talking about them and I said I was hoping we would see them on the course).  So we pulled up next to them, I rolled down my window and said, "Hey guys, I'm your biggest fan!"  They invited us to hang out and talk with them.  I got a picture with them, got an autographed coupon for a Dead Jocks massage (as well as a little shoulder massage right there on the spot) and even got sprayed by one of their infamous water guns.  They were as hilarious and crazy as I imagined them to be.  And I ran into the whole team at the coast and got to meet Larry, my favorite team member.  That was definitely the highlight of my weekend!

After partying at the beach for a while, I made it back to Portland and crashed.  Getting out of bed was difficult this morning - not only because I'm exhausted but because I'm so sore that my legs nearly gave out under me.  Going down stairs feels having small knives poking my quads.  But I'll take this soreness anyday (well at least once a year).  I've now completed my 4th Hood to Coast relay and hope that our team makes it in again next year!

the whole team at the coast

just hanging out with the Dead Jocks

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