10 Bloggers, 200 Miles, and 25 Tubes of Nuun
|September 7, 2011||Posted by Lauren under Running|
The Tale of Our Journey from Mt. Hood to the Oregon Coast.
I know I’ve kept you all on the edge of your seats, waiting for more details about my experience running the Hood to Coast relay. Beyond my obvious love for my team and Nuun, I’m sure you’ve been dying to know what it was really like to run HTC, and what my splits were. No….just Lizzy? Well, that’s okay because I’m going to tell you anyway.
I tried to keep this as short as you can possibly keep a race recap that covers over 24 hours of running and cheering. But if you know me and my penchant for wordiness, you’ll know that that’s pretty impossible. So to prevent it from turning into a novel that no one but my parents would ever read, I decided to split this up into 2 posts. Come back tomorrow if you want to read it all together!
I arrived in Seattle late on Wednesday night before the relay. After a restful sleep in a beautiful 5-star hotel The Red Roof Inn, Susan and I met up with Alyssa to enjoy breakfast at an amazing local diner. Okay, so we ate at Denny’s. But it was near the airport, cheap, and we were starving. It’s all in the name of carbo-loading, right?
We spent that day exploring Seattle, meeting up with bloggers (including Alma, who took us on a little tour), and of course, eating more food.
Then it was time to decorate the vans. I’ve talked before about how crucial a well-decorated van is to a successful relay and this one topped them all.
Thanks to some very creative women on our team, and the generosity of Build-a-Sign to donate awesome car magnets with our logo, head shots, and blog addresses printed on them, I can safely say that this was the most decked out van I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding in. We were flashy, and I loved it.
Once the decorations were finished, we headed up to the Nuun offices to eat pizza, go over last minute details, and grab a few last-minute samples of nuun to take home with us. Then it was time for a restless night of sleep.
I probably slept for about 2 hours that night. Even though I have run relays before, Hood to Coast was a whole new ball game. I was so anxious and excited that I sprung out of bed at 4:30 in the morning, ready to hit the road. We loaded up our very full van (containing 5 bloggers, 2 nuun staff, and one videographer who apparently needed the entire back seat
to sleep for his work), made a pit stop for the essentials (read: bagels and coffee) and were on our way to Mount Hood.
This was at 6am on Friday morning. We were going to be in that van for the next 30 hours – and I’d be awake for 29 of them.
After a very long trip that included multiple Tweet-requests to @RunHydrated for pit stops (yes, it is appropriate to Tweet the president of a company when you are sitting 10 feet away from him in a van),
Mount Hood finally came into view. And I will tell you – nothing prepared me for that first, breath-taking glimpse of the mountain. Seeing Mt. Hood on a movie screen does not even compare to seeing it in real life.
They don’t make those where I come from.
All too soon, 12:30 arrived and it was time to start.
Quick note: I’m not going to talk in depth about any of the legs but my own. If you want to read about how amazing the rest of my team and the Nuun Platuun runners all did, you should visit each of their blogs.
Team AfterNUUN Delight:
The First Legs
In past relays, I’m usually pretty early in the rotation – like runner Number 2 or 3. This time, I was bringing up the rear. As Runner #6 in Van 1, I had to wait almost as long as the girls in Van 2 did to run. Only difference is – I was watching everyone else run as I waited. I spent that whole first afternoon just itching to get started.
Finally, at about 4:30 on Friday afternoon, Emily came racing down Highway 26 with the snap bracelet and it was my time to go.
6.75 miles – rated Hard
If I had to use only 3 words to describe my first leg, they’d be: hot, sun, and highway.
The leg ran along the shoulder of Highway 26. Not particularly scenic and not the least bit shady. At this point, the temperature was somewhere in the mid/high 80s, and the pavement had been baking in the sun all day long. You’d think that since I had been waiting so long to get my chance to run, I would have been ecstatic by the time I took off on that leg. But the truth is – as I started off down the long stretch of highway, it was pretty easy for my thoughts to turn negative. It was so incredibly hot, the route wasn’t pretty, and my Team Sparkle skirt kept bouncing around everywhere, twisting and getting in my way (I had second-guessed my own measurements and ordered a size too big). Every time a big car or truck passed by, the skirt flew up. Our van wasn’t the only flashy thing on that leg.
But all I had to do when I found my thoughts start to run down that negative track was to give myself a little perspective. Over and over in my head, I repeated “You are running the effing Hood to Coast Relay! You are in Oregon! This is amazing.”
You’d be surprised what a little time spent yelling at yourself can do for your attitude. I can’t pretend like I felt the happiest I ever had running during that leg, but the constant reminder of what I was doing was all it took to make it bearable. Well, that, and getting water dumped on me twice during the run – once by my teammates about halfway through the leg, and again around mile 6 by some kind guy at a gas station. Water had never felt so good.
Finally, the finish came into view. I was never so excited to make a hand off.
Judging by this guy’s face, whatever I am doing in this picture is apparently pretty disturbing.
Van 1 passed off to the girls in Van 2, and we were done!! (for a few hours, anyway…)
6.71 miles in 47:05 (7:00/mile)
6:48, 6:44, 7:06, 7:18, 7:03, 7:13, 4:51 (6:48 pace)
With about 4 hours or so until we got the baton again, it was time for Van 1 to get some food. We headed to Pizzicato in Portland, a cute little pizza place that had a wide variety of pizzas to choose from. Mason, Emily, Alanna, and I split 2 large pizzas. We may have over-estimated our hunger level just a bit.
We finished up dinner and drove to the next Van Exchange just as darkness was falling. Suddenly, all the nervous energy and excitement that had been building up all day began to fade. And the 17 slices of pizza I had eaten at dinner began to kick in. I was ready to curl up in a ball in the back of the van and sleep.
But, alas… I still had miles to go.