Home » Running » Hood to Coast Week! (what a difference a year makes)

Hood to Coast Week! (what a difference a year makes)

The crazy thing about having a blog is that it allows you to look back and see precisely where you were at this time a year (or two) ago. But despite the months of archives I’ve built up, I actually don’t really think about this all that much, since I don’t blog every day and when I do, it’s never a full account of what is going on in my life.

When I think back on this past year, however, I see a year that has been one of the craziest and most life-altering years of my life (so far). So much has happened in the past 12 months that when a big (repeat) event like Hood to Coast is right around the corner, it’s hard not to compare where I was last year and where I am today.

It seems like just yesterday that I was at Mt Hood for the first time, excited to take part in the “Mother of All Relays.” The second I finished that relay, I started thinking about ways to get myself back to the PNW, vowing that I would return an even stronger, faster, and better runner.

Well, we all know that life never works out exactly how we had planned. And what I didn’t account for in my grand plan a year ago was taking 3 long months off of running completely…or spending the majority of the year focusing on other priorities. I’m excited for the chance to face Mt Hood again, but I can’t help but think about the differences between last time I was in Seattle, and today.

One year ago…

I was in great shape. I had already run one marathon and was in training for another. 2011 was the year of fun races, and HTC was my third relay of the summer. I had been steadily building up my mileage all summer and had gotten up to 20 miles before the relay. All factors that left me feeling pretty confident that I could handle the legs that I was assigned.

hood to coast_checking legs


Not so much. It’s been almost an entire year since I’ve set foot in a relay van. My longest run to date is 14 miles, my weekly mileage is nothing impressive, and running 5 days a week is still a pretty big deal. I spent last weekend celebrating instead of running (but the marriage of my {ontherun} girl is a pretty good reason to celebrate) and may just be carrying a few extra pounds with me to the West coast.

ontherun wedding.jpg

I’m still pretty sure I can complete the legs I’ve been assigned, but I can make no promises about how fast they will be.

One year ago…

My absolute favorite leg of the race was a steep decline with amazing views. I felt like I was on top of the world as I ran down that mountain. My legs may have been torn up for a full week after that run, but it was so worth it.


I am dreading the one steep downhill leg of the relay that I have to run. This time it comes at the very beginning and the descent is even steeper – down the bottom section of Mt Hood. As much as I want to be able to open up and just let myself fly, my knee still protests on long downhills. I’m secretly afraid this one leg is going to mess me up for the entire weekend.

{But} One year ago…

I was actually struggling. Feeling burned out by running and tired from slogging through the humid summer, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the relay. I was training, but my heart wasn’t in it. So I went into Hood to Coast hoping it would do something to rekindle the love for running I had once felt.


Running and I are tighter than ever. That’s what a three month hiatus will do to you, I guess. I may not be as fast or as strong a runner as I was last year, but I’m definitely a more passionate one. And that’s got to count for something.

One year ago…

I was living in Rhode Island in an area that I didn’t love, sick of the city and sick of my government job.


I have fled to the country and have loved every single day of living in the Green Mountain State. The air is fresher, my runs are more scenic (and hillier!), and life is way less stressful. I may be a lot poorer than I used to be, but I sure am a lot more content.

grafton ponds

And one year ago…

I was just a little old single gal. In the legal sense anyway. EC and I had been together for a few years, but I had no idea that a ring was right around the corner.


I return to Hood to Coast a maried woman! Which obviously makes me so much wiser and more mature…or something like that. And that will clearly make up for all the running I haven’t been doing lately…

Lauren evan grafton inn vermont wedding 7859

Here goes nothing! To follow along with the Nuun Hood to Coast teams this weekend, look for the #nuunHTC hashtag on Twitter.

10 Responses to Hood to Coast Week! (what a difference a year makes)

  1. This was a great post! I`m sure that you will enjoy the whole relay and it will be a lot of fun! Especially, since you get to do it together in an awesome team and that will give you that extra boost of strength for the downhill or the other legs, if you should need it!
    Most of all: enjoy it!
    Anna´s last post ..I Speak Running

  2. Good luck on the relay! Wonder where you’ll be next year at this time?
    Shannon´s last post ..My First KAL (Knit-A-Long)!

  3. Good luck and have fun! It really is crazy how much things can change in a year… but hopefully always for the best!
    Lizzie´s last post ..Royal Polka

  4. Good luck, Lauren!
    Evan Thomas´s last post ..Salt Roasted Beets

  5. You look so happy in that picture! I can’t believe you live in an area that is so green! Totally breathtaking!

  6. This is a lovely post. It’s always good to look back. We have lived in the States for 2 years now and one of the nicest things is to do the same events a second and soon a third time, to remember how we felt a year ago and to see how much has changed and how far we’ve come.

    You make me want to move to the East Coast too..,I haven’t seen such greenness since we left the UK!

    Good luck at HTC…have a wonderful time and just be grateful for every run, as I’m sure you will be. Speed is always less important than enjoying these kind of occasions. (Remjnd me of that in Oct when I’m trying for my sub two half marathon)!!
    Cathryn@My Heart’s Content´s last post ..On heroines.

  7. Looks like it has been a great year for you!

    Does this mean I could be married in a year 😉 ha! This time next year I will be an intern though (with my MD) – CRAZY!

    Have fun this weekend!
    Meggie´s last post ..Pretty Sure It’s Karma

  8. Cute post, Lauren! Good luck :)
    Jen´s last post ..Baby’s diagnosis

  9. Can’t wait to read your update about this year’s race!!! :-)
    Christina´s last post ..She has Arrived!

  10. I love this post! I read it right after the relay and saved it so I could come back. I love how you can look back and see how much has changed in one year. I also find it really ironic that, in 2011, when you felt like you were in fantastic running shape, you weren’t really EXCITED about running. But this year, when you were still building back up…all you wanted to do was get out and run! It’s funny how much we appreciate all we can do, once we experience a time where we can’t. I loved, loved meeting you and I can’t wait to read more about you experience in the relay (AND I can’t wait to hang out in NYC!!!!)
    Corey´s last post ..Weekly Recap: The Aftermath

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


CommentLuv badge