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10 Bloggers, 200 Miles, and 25 Tubes of Nuun

The Tale of Our Journey from Mt. Hood to the Oregon Coast.

Part 1

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!

The Preparations

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.

Bloggers in Seattle.jpgAlma, Alyssa, Susan and I in front of the first Starbucks (shamelessly stolen off of Alyssa’s blog)

IMG_4665.JPGSusan, Emily and I chowing down on Greek wraps

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.

van 2 decorating

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.

Afternuun Delight_van2

Van 1 decorating

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.

The Start

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.

IMG_4708.JPG

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.

Van 1_Friday am

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),

Me too! RT @: hey @ I need to pee again. Ive been drinking too much #nuun on the way to the #htcrelay start line

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.

Mt Hood & transition

They don’t make those where I come from.

Mt Hood_2

All too soon, 12:30 arrived and it was time to start.

EH_LB_start.JPG

Alanna and Tricia took off down the mountain, and Hood to Coast had begun!

A&T_HTC start

A&T_HTC start 2

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:

Van 1: Alanna, Dorothy, Kimberly, Jocelyn, Emily, and I

Van 2: Jen, Carrie, Tall Mom Mel, Melody, Kelly, and Megan

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.

D_leg 1 finish

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.

IMG_4841.JPG

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.”

LB_leg 1

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.

LB_leg 1_water

Finally, the finish came into view. I was never so excited to make a hand off.

LB_finish_leg 1 htcJudging 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…)

LB_checkleg1_htc

Final stats:

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.

IMG_4879.JPG

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.

To be continued…

27 Responses to 10 Bloggers, 200 Miles, and 25 Tubes of Nuun

  1. Hey I was wondering what kind of marker or paint you used on your van? I heard that window paint markers aren’t good f for the truck paint how did out work for you? This was also my first time doing hood to coast and I loved it! Best thing I have wait ever done, I was leg seven. can’t wait to read part two!

    • I don’t actually remember! But we used window markers. I don’t think we were technically supposed to use them on the sides of the vans but it worked great. And it did come off….3 trips through the car wash later! If I find out what brand they were, I’ll let you know.

  2. Love the picture of you running in the skirt/sports bra obviously having a good time and the guy making weird faces! That pizza also looks awesome and I want it.

    Can’t wait to read the rest!
    Meggie´s last post ..Real Runners of Genius

  3. So fun! I am still obsessed with reading all of your HTC recaps. That photo of you and the guy next to you is priceless. Frame it. I hope he reads your blog.
    Ali´s last post ..Bloggers Are Better In Real Life

    • If only I had gotten his name….

      And yes, I’m thinking that picture should probably hang right over the couch. It’s just so beautiful.

  4. You ran 7 minute miles in 80 degree weather heat?? You are a machine, Lauren!! :)
    Brittany´s last post ..My sister visiting Sacramento! And TSwift

  5. This a tease. I would like more please. And you sell yourself short- I bet plenty of people besides me and your parents want to read a novel on your race experience!!! So share it up!!!!!

    Also, that picture of you is pretty amazing. Agree with Ali, total framer.
    LIZZY´s last post ..Vacation Week

  6. EEEEE! Your report is so fun! I like how you split this up; and I definitely love your light-hearted humor. Those first legs on that smelly pavement were so hard! It was easy to start thinking negatively & you totally pushed through!

    Great job on your first leg — I hope it had something to do with our delicious breakfast the day before! (By the way, I know I stole some, ermm most, of your pictures, so we’ll call this a fair trade. :)

    xoxo,
    A
    Alyssa´s last post ..Part 4 of ???: Hood to Coast Relay Recap — My Legs of the Relay

  7. Wow, Mt Hood is breathtaking! I think I would have teared up a bit at first sight of it.

    That pizza looked amazing. Oh, and your legs are SICK. Jealous of your speediness!
    Melissa´s last post ..Labor Day Weekend

  8. This looks awesome! I wish I hadn’t read it until it was complete, I can’t wait to read more. Netflix has made it difficult for me to be patient with “To Be Continued…” transitions in movies and stories.

    BTW…You look strong running the first leg!

  9. I love this recap! I can completely feel how excited you were the whole time! And I love the picture of you at the end of your leg, and the one with the pizza. You got some quality shots :)
    Jen´s last post ..Week 26 pregnancy update

  10. LOL… I went the ‘novel’ route :P How can you pare it down so concisely? Awesome recap! I love that pic of you passing the guy… priceless :)
    XLMIC´s last post ..{Bringing It Home} 2011 Hood to Coast Relay – Nuun-style: The Miniseries, Part 7

    • Well I definitely left a lot out. Which is easier to do when you wait until over a week out to recap your first leg…and I’ve had time to process/forget! When I write recaps the day after, I feel like I have to share every single detail.

  11. Ooo gosh. Lauren, you are an excellent writer!! I love reading your updates. Can’t wait for the next edition! Let me know if you end up in Boston this weekend. I am looking for running buddies for the weekend and would love to run with you all. and like i mentioned i have to go to providence sunday morning anyway, and can drop you if that is not weird and sort of blogger freaky? or just ignore me and be like this girl is massively strange (totally legit too haha). either way great entry.

  12. [...] but my own.But the truth isas I started off down the long stretch of highway, it was pretty easy Full news story This entry was posted in Top Adult News and tagged daddys doll leg long, dane leg sonia stocking, [...]

  13. The Nuun team has the best recaps and photos! So exciting. I hope to one day post a recap of running H2C!
    jill conyers´s last post ..Clean Eating Recipe || Lasagna Cups

  14. I love these recaps! You look like you had so much fun. And I am such a huge fan of the sparkle skirts. I would like one someday…
    Kelly´s last post ..The Week & Cookies

  15. Wow…you’re not wordy at all. I really enjoyed your recap. I’m glad I’m not the only one to suffer some negativity. You did a better job of kicking yourself out of it. I take lessons from you. Your smile was super infectious.

  16. Love the photo of you with the pizza! I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – HTC looked awesome! I want to do it some day, on my bucket list, no doubt. Also, I just tried Nuun for the first time – Susan shared some samples :)
    Megan (The Runner’s Kitchen)´s last post ..Lessons Learned (with a side of salad)

  17. Ahh, it’s all so exciting! I just love that you guys are doing this! Also, totally in love with that pizza at the end. ;)
    Rach´s last post ..A story about a chicken biscuit…

  18. I had the BEST time with you. You are an awesome runner and a great person. Can’t wait to hang out more in the future!!

  19. I guess your abs are okay…maybe you should do some more sit-ups. Just a thought. : )

    Best Pizza EVER!
    Jocelyn @ Enthusiastic Runner´s last post ..Re-Post: Timberman Half Ironman

  20. This is AMAZING!! Isn’t Mt. Hood unreal?! My best friend had her wedding in Hood River. I cannot believe you ran that. Crazy. Awesome. Congrats!! Can’t wait to hear more about it in person :)
    Erin @ Big Girl Feats´s last post ..Love List: Grad School Edition.

  21. Sooooo behind on updates! (And blogs, do you like the twelve comments in a row?) It was so fun to explore Seattle with you, and I think it’s hilarious that you guys were tweeting Mason while he was driving….ha. Soooo jealous that you guys got to go up to the top of Mount Hood…it looks AMAZING and I definitely would take any leg in van 1 to be able to head up there. You definitely rocked that sparkle skirt and I’m pretty sure everyone was jealous of the watermelon combo.

    Speaking of which, we should probably start planning our matchy-matchy Boston outfits.

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