This past weekend I participated for my 5th year in the Mother of All Relays: Hood to Coast. I just love this weekend of running and I look forward to it every year. Sadly, the team that we've had for the past two years was not accepted again this year (I was depressed for several weeks when I received that rejection letter last fall), but thankfully I was able to join my friend Scott's team.
A couple of months ago I decided to sign myself up for Leg 9 (the second hardest leg in the race) because I figured I would probably be in the best running shape of my life this year. Well, it turns out that getting back into training mode after my marathon in April was more difficult than I expected and I wasn't quite up for such a difficult HTC leg. So I handed Leg 9 off to Drew, who joined the team a bit last minute. Thanks, Drew! I took Leg 8 (the second easiest leg in the race) and felt pretty good about the low mileage I had to run in the relay.
My first leg was an easy 4.55 miles east of Portland through Sandy, OR on Friday afternoon. I was able to keep a nice 8 min/mile pace - I think I was just excited that the race weekend was finally underway! I ran my second leg a little after 1:00am and it was rated "very hard". It was 5.75 miles uphill on a gravel road. So not only were my calves working extra hard because I was running on my toes uphill, but my quads were quite tight due to lack of traction on the gravel road. I have no idea what my pace was on that leg (I think I was a bit too delirious to keep track of time at that hour), but I'm sure it was a bit slower than the first leg. As soon as I got back into the van and changed into clean clothes, I passed out and actually slept for a good 4.5 hours. I ran my final leg around 9am on Saturday. It was a medium-difficulty 4.09 miles in the rolling hills of the Oregon Coastal range and I was able to keep right under an 8.5 min/mile pace to finish up. Overall, I felt pretty good about my legs and wasn't even too sore at the end!
I was in Van 2 which somehow ended up being me and 5 dudes. I knew three of the guys (one of them being Drew, one who was a former coworker, and the other is a former coworker's husband) and I got to know the other two pretty well by the end of our 30 hours in a van together. My coworker Bill let us borrow his awesome 1989 StarCraft van that had a queen-size bed in the back (hence the good sleep I got on Friday night). There's not much privacy when you're stuck in a van with five other people for two days - any modesty you started out with quickly goes out the window. Going into the weekend, I figured there would be lots of potty humor and talk about sports in a van with a bunch of dudes. I was right.
But it was an amazingly fun weekend as always and everyone on the team ran well and had a great time. Fingers crossed for being accepted for a team again next year!
Van 2: Scott, Drew, Mary, Scotty, Charlie, Ryan
handoff to Drew after my first run
Drew staying hydrated and loving the port-a-potties
final leg - ready to be done!
sweet bed in the back of the van
there were several Texas teams participating in the relay
apparently our van messes with Texas