Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Flashback: The Epic 2010 Hood to Coast Relay

Remember how last week I introduced a new staple: The Sunday Flashback?  I started with my very first big race: my first marathon in 2008.  I wanted to move all my old race reports from my mini-blog over to here to populate my new "Race Reports" page.  For posterity's sake, I'm keeping them EXACTLY as I wrote them.  Well I had intended to move linearly through time (makes sense, right?!) but given that Nuun  recently released their call for applications for the 2012 Nuun Hood to Coast team, and I am currently racking my brain for a creative method of application, I thought I'd recap my two Hood to Coast experiences during the next two Sunday Flashbacks.

Is that okay with you?  I hope so, because I LOVE Hood to Coast, and that's part of the reason why I am dying to be part of Nuun's team!  I'm sure you're already aware, but just in case, Hood to Coast is one of the biggest / most famous relay races around, and features a 12-person 200 mile race in Oregon from the top of Mt. Hood to Seaside.  So here it is,  the recap of August 2010's Hood to Coast experience.


Hood to Coast exceeded my expectations by far.  It was awesome.  Awesome awesome awesome.  There were ups and downs, but I LOVED IT!  Great team, great fun, great runs.  We started at 12:15pm at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood and ended 28.5 hours later at the beach in Seaside Oregon. 

We're off on our drive to Timberline Lodge!

I ran leg #2, which meant I had a 1,500 foot drop down Mt. Hood right off the bat.  Although I intended to force myself to not die by not doing less than 8 minute miles - you can see I didn't do that (as I feared!).  Although I am suffering now (my quads and hamstrings are tiiighhhhttt!), I was good for the whole time luckily and that part didn't ruin me for later.  

Leg #2 - 1:13pm on Friday - 5.67 miles - Total Time: 40:50 - Average Pace: 7:12

Splits: 7:25, 7:38, 7:23, 7:06, 6:57, 6:31

The first leg was great!  I was soooo pumped.  We had driven down to Portland late the night before and I woke up at 6:15am and couldn't go back to sleep I was so excited.  Picked everyone up, got the van decorated, and headed up to Mt. Hood. 

Laura started us off with the big 2,000 foot drop and then handed off to me.  It was a little scary with the curves and semis flying by.  A couple times (during each leg actually) I whispered a few prayers involving not getting run over.  I passed 3 people and got passed by 4, and certainly felt that pounding from the steep decline!  Although it was quite cold (40's) up on the mountain, it was beautiful weather coming down. And do you see those 6's up there?????  My first 6's EVER!!  Do I care it had a 1,500 foot drop? NOPE! :-)

Heel-strike much?  Whoops.

Leg #14 - 10:54pm on Friday - 5.49 miles - Total Time: 43:12 - Average Pace: 7:52

Splits: 8:13, 8:10, 7:53, 7:47, 7:33, 7:26

This leg was dark and on the side of the road of a highway. 

It's dark outside, see?!

It was pretty straight so I felt less like I was going to get hit by a car on this leg despite the darkness, and the LED lights helped a lot.  There was a pretty steady uphill incline on this hill that the elevation map lied about (it showed flat!).  But I powered up and passed 10 people!  I think I only got passed by 1 person.  I had forgotten my Garmin when I was waiting at the exchange so I ran back to the car to get it only to realize I didn't have the keys, to run back to get them to run back to the car and ended up having to sprint to beat Laura to the exchange.  But the last thing I wanted was to be out in the middle of nowhere in the darkness and not know how much time was left! 

Yes I made us those sweet t-shirts.  I am the iron-on queen!

After we all finished the night legs it was 3am and we had to drive an hour on the windiest road ever that was pitch black, in the middle of nowhere, and not another car on the road.  It was horrible and I thought we would never get there and I was so tired.  One of our teammates had been upset with herself and her knee hurt and had been crying in a port-a-potty, another was feeling horribly car-sick and was hanging her head out the window almost throwing-up, and I thought I was going to kill us all on this terrible road and just wanted to sleep.  This hour was definitely the low-point of the whole race!  Then we tried to sleep in a field and it was 37 degrees and so cold and I probably slept 30 minutes.  We felt pretty bad when we had to get moving again, which was a frantic race to move because they walkied us they were ready sooner than we thought!

Leg #26 - 8:00am on Saturday - 5.79 miles - Total Time: 44:53 - Average Pace: 7:49

Splits: 8:05, 7:52, 7:45, 7:44, 8:13 (giant hill), 7:00 (downhill!)

Although I had been feeling terribly tired and it was freezing outside (still 40) and I had forgotten my tights and we were all like "I don't want to run again I don't want to run again" once I started I felt sooo good.  My hamstrings were tight by now, but it was just SO GREAT.  This was my favorite leg.  The sun had just come up, the sky was perfect blue with no clouds, the moon was still up, I crossed over some rivers, I saw some horses and cows with calves, and there was just rolling countryside meadows that were so beautiful and I felt so thankful that I was out there.  After wanting to do H2C for years and not being able to do it last year because of my broken ankle I felt so thankful I was out there, had finished, and got to enjoy such a beautiful run.  

Then the hill came and my thankfulness passed. :-)  The hill was hard, pretty long and steep, but I powered up and passed 8 people on this leg.  I got passed by 2, one of which was on an elite team and just screamed by me, it was ridiculous how fast he was going!  Then when I reached the peak of the hill it was downhill to the exchange and it was my last run so I decided I might as well thrash my legs, and I screamed down the hill.  I tried to pass the last guy but he wouldn't let me and we both kept going faster and faster (my watch read 5:30 for the last quarter mile or so!) and we sprinted into the exchange, which was really fun. 

We ALL needed a ton of Advil after we were all done!

Then we went drove to Seaside, had some crappy pizza, and waited to run in the finish with the other van. 

So tired!  Waiting for Van #2 to show up in Seaside.

We were sooooo tired afterwards that we ended up driving back to Portland so we could sleep in real beds instead of staying.  I slept 11 hours last night and was pretty dead to the world!  My hamstrings and quads are pretty sore today so I will take it pretty easy this week. 

Final Thoughts: I LOVED HOOD TO COAST!  Such a great time with some of my best friends.  Although there were obviously a few low points and frustrations, I loved it.  I will definitely be submitting for a team for next year!  I'm also really happy with all of my legs.  I feel like I am definitely improving and my hard work is paying off.  I was really happy to see all of those 7's.  Perhaps I'm moving into 8's being my easier pace and 7's being my race paces?  That would be FANTASTIC! :-)  

Oh man, just reading this makes me love Hood to Coast even more.  Have you ever done Hood to Coast?  Or another relay?  Tell me about it!