Posts Tagged by nuun

Friday Facts

{Some random ramblings for your Friday afternoon, such as: The Running Tight Boycott lives, exciting Nuun news, and initial thoughts about the Saucony Mirage 3s}

December 7th, 2012. Exactly one year ago today, I confessed my hatred of running tights and proudly proclaimed that I would not wear a single pair until the start of 2012. My legs have never run so free (or so cold, but…minor detail).

While I wish I could tell you that I kept strong for the entire year of 2012 and never once let my legs suffer the confinement of tights…that would be a lie. But thanks to a strangely warm winter, the occasions when I broke down and wore them were few and far between.

Today I’m proud to announce that the fall/early winter running tight boycott is back and going strong. I am still running in shorts and plan to do so at least until the start of 2013. This year, I’m even taking it up a notch and not allowing myself to run on the treadmill when it’s really cold. Outside and in shorts all the way. I’m sure you all are incredibly impressed by my stupidity hardcore-ness. But that’s what we do here at Health{ontherun}: inspire the masses every single day.

Running Tight Boycott 2012

This means that during tomorrow evening’s 5K (which starts at 4:40pm…i.e. in the dark) I will be the fool dressed in short-shorts and compression socks.

Luckily for me, these beauties arrived in the mail just in time.

Holiday Pro Compression.jpgPro Compression Marathon Holiday Socks – first compulsive holiday purchase of the season

They will be the only bit of “festive” gear I’ll have on tomorrow. Because when you have a penchant for racing in neon pink and green, it isn’t long before your entire wardrobe consists of nothing but those two colors. (Someone send me a red Saucony shirt, stat!)

Holiday Pro Compression_2.jpg

Speaking of which, tomorrow’s 5K is going to be a complete suffer-fest. There. I said it.


I know I told you all that I was doing this race purely “for fun” and I suppose that’s still true….insofar as to say that I’m not under any sort of delusions that I can PR. I don’t even have any pressure on myself to hit a specific time goal. However, when you’ve barely been running for weeks, a race of any distance starts to lose a little bit of its “fun” and just becomes incredibly painful. Saying you are going to have fun running a 5K implies you are in some sort of shape to begin with. Well, besides “cheese-belly round,” the hot new shape I’ve been rocking the past couple of weeks…

In case you missed the announcement on Twitter earlier this week, Nuun will soon be releasing three new flavors. Among them?

watermelon nuun_posterPhoto via runhydrated on Instagram

My #teamwatermelon pleas have finally been answered!!

An {ontherun} Application – 2012 Nuun Hood to Coast Team from Lauren Buckel on Vimeo.

I have been waiting-wishing-hoping that Nuun would create a watermelon flavor since August 2011. This past summer, all my Nuun-dreams came true when I was handed a sample tube of Watermelon to try during Hood to Coast weekend. I can honestly tell you that it did not disappoint! The flavor isn’t too sweet or overpowering. It’s just a light, refreshing watermelon taste that is now one of my absolute favorites. And I’m not just saying that because I’m biased…

These new flavors are due out sometime early next year. I am already counting down the days.

I’ve done two runs in the Saucony Mirage 3s and really like them so far. But they feel like a totally different shoe. The design is now more similar to the Kinvara – the upper has the same FlexFilm overlays and the heel/midfoot has more/deeper grooves than the previous version. I loved how the shoe hugged my foot and the way that the new design makes it feel even more responsive than the 2s. I want to wait until I’ve put more miles on them before I do a full review, but my initial verdict is that the upgrades are good ones.

Saucony Mirage 3_side

Related: I have run a whopping 13 miles this week. Which is a big improvement from the 0 I ran last week, I suppose. The goal here is to start building back up slowly for the rest of the month. Come January, I want to hit the ground hard. I plan to end the week around 25 miles — a nice, conservative start back into the land of running. I’ve also managed to work in two days of strength training, a habit I’m going to actually try to stick to throughout marathon training this time around. We’ll see how that goes…

Hood to Coast Relay: the Miles

So now that every other blogger has recapped their Hood to Coast race experience, I figured it’s time to add mine to the mix. You know, just when you were getting sick of hearing about it and saying secret little prayers that the madness was over…

But really, since there has been so much said already, I will try to stick to just talking about the race from my perspective. To read more about the overall Hood to Coast experience, Katie has been collecting posts here.

And to see more from Team Night Van 1, check out the blogs of my vanmates. Many of them do a much better job of recapping the entire experience than I have (particularly this super long, super detail-oriented post from Robyn…I mean, she pretty much says it all right there…)

I had the pleasure of spending over 24 hours in a van with these ladies:

The Start

My van of 6 left Seattle around 8:00 am last Friday morning to make the long trek out to Oregon for the start. Ten bathroom stops, seven “Call Me Maybes,” and countless snacks later, we finally made it to the starting area at Timberline Lodge.

Team Night Van 1The ladies of Team Night Van 1 plus our fearless driver Mason

I feel a little bad that I lucky enough to get Van 1 again this year, only because the start of Hood to Coast is amazing. Seriously – it’s one of the best reasons for doing the race in the first place. The drive up to Mt. Hood is beautiful, the energy of the teams at the start area is infectious, and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, like starting a race with this beauty in the background.

HTC 2012 start

HTC start_jumping


After some team photos (where Jocelyn and I apparently couldn’t contain our love for each other) and some Nuun-tattoo applying, Team Night was ready to start.

HTC 2012 Van 1s startJocelyn and I look like we’re on a date…or maybe I was just holding on for dear life.

At 2:15 PST, Caroline led us down the mountain and the relay had begun!

HTC Caroline start

Leg 2 – 5.67 miles “Hard”  (Run #1)  3:15 pm

Going into HTC, my first leg was the one I dreaded the most. Even though it seems like nothing in comparison to the first leg of the race, it’s still rated hard for its steep descent. And the fact that my knee still isn’t the biggest fan of downhill running didn’t inspire all that much confidence going into this first run.

Fun with elevation charts. From my Garmin data:

Leg 1 Elevation

From HTC Relay:

IMG 1159Thankfully the hill was not QUITE as extreme as this makes it look. Otherwise I would’ve just rolled the whole way down.

It all depends on your scale…..

Anyway….I also knew that this leg boasted amazing views and that it was likely that I would never again have a run quite like it for the rest of my life. So right before Caroline came cruising into the exchange I made a vow to myself – fast or slow, I was going to soak up every second and just enjoy the ride.

HTC Runner 2 Leg 1 start

Not even half a mile in, I knew the run was going to be amazing. Months of not racing and 3 days of excitment leading up to Hood to Coast filled my legs with energy, and I took off. The first two miles clocked in at just over 6 minutes. I felt amazing! I had been waiting for months to feel this way about running again and I wanted it to last forever.

I have never had great leg speed. In high school, the fastest mile I ever ran was 5:59 — not exactly a stellar time for a varsity track athlete. Despite training times that indicated I could do it, I didn’t break the 20 minute barrier for a 5K until a year ago. Fast running and I just don’t understand each other. And so I find myself drawn to the longer distances simply because I can hold a decently quick pace for a long period of time.

But on that magical first leg of Hood to Coast, I finally experienced what it felt like to fly. I leaned into that downhill and I pushed forward, never allowing myself just to coast. As my pace dipped below 6:00 minutes at the start of the 3rd mile, I knew that it was on. I was running faster than I would’ve been if the leg had been flat, but I was also working. My lungs were heaving, my legs were churning, and it was all I could do to keep them turning over – faster, faster, faster.

I rounded a corner and was struck by the most beautiful views I had ever seen during a race (honestly the only time I’ve ever wished I was running with a camera). It sounds so cheesy, but at that moment I was filled with an overwhelming sense of joy. I forgot about my knee and just RAN. One sub-6 minute mile followed another as I cruised down that hill, faster than I’ve ever run in my life. I wished I could bottle that feeling up and hold onto it forever.

HTC Runner 2 Leg 1_runningshotI know it looks like I am in pain but I assure you this is my happy face

All too quickly, I cruised into the exchange. My face hurt from smiling so much.

Garmin stats: 5.4 miles in 31:57. Average pace of 5:55.

Hands down the best relay leg in the history of relay legs. Thank you, long downhill for giving me one for the record books.

(Side note: the official mileage of this leg is listed as 5.67 miles. Since Garmins are never completely accurate, on a regular run, I’m sure they’re even more off on one with such a significant elevation loss. So can we just go with the HTC mileage? (Also 5.67 miles in 31:57 means a 5:38 average pace, so there’s that…)

Leg 1 done

Fueling Up

After Robyn brought it in for our team and Sweaty Em took over for Van 2, we hung around the exchange with the other teams for awhile. Since we had started before anyone else, our team didn’t actually get to hang out with the other vans like Team Morning and Team Noon did. So it was good to see everyone again at the major exchange.

Unfortunately, whether it was because I waited too long to eat between legs or because nerves about how my legs were going to hold up during the next one were settling in, it was at this point that my stomach/intestines started to revolt. We already had 2 girls down with stomach issues, and I was afraid I’d be the next.

To calm my nervous stomach and fuel up for Leg #2, Van 1 rolled in to a fancy, beautiful pizza place in the middle of the cutest little town.

On our way to dinner, @ : "oh this is where people get shot!" Sounds promising #nuunhtc

….or not. But they had carbs and could get them to me fast. Which, as we were quickly moving within the 3-hours-before-my–next-run mark, was pretty much my only requirement.

After filling up on mainly plain breadsticks (fuel of champions), we were off in search of coffee. Five minutes later, I heard the most depressing news of the trip so far – Starbucks was out of coffee.

Starbucks is out of coffee. Should've stuck to espresso soup cc @ #htcflashbacks #HTCRelay #nuunhtc

Flashbacks of my frantic search for caffeine around a closed-down Portland last year were running through my mind. As much as I love caffeine, espresso soup was a little too potent for my stomach (see story here). Fortunately, the baristas took pity on our group of tired, smelly HTC runners and brewed us a fresh pot. Crisis averted.

Leg 14 – 6.08 miles “Medium”  (Run #2)  12:16 am

My second run was theoretically my easiest: 6.08 relatively flat miles through a relatively boring area. Despite the easier rating and a fresh dose of caffeine, I just didn’t have it in me for this one. I don’t know if my problem was mental or my lack of training/endurance was just starting to show, but the leg just felt hard. I tried to pump myself up with all sorts of positive thoughts: “But this is Hood to Coast! It’s exciting!!” and “At least there aren’t any big uphills and the temperature is nice!” but it wasn’t working.

Leg 2 ElevationAn unremarkable elevation profile for an equally unremarkable run

All I could focus on was the annoying beeping coming from my nearly-dead Garmin, my tired legs, and the noxious smell of a skunk that seemed to linger over the entire 6 miles. 43 loooooong minutes later, and it was finally my turn to hand off the slap bracelet again.

Strong winds. Dead Garmin. Tight legs. Skunk-scented. Just a few of the many joys of Leg 2 #nuunhtc #HTCRelay

That about sums it up

Garmin stats: 6.09 miles in 43:15 (7:06 average*)

*Looking back, my time wasn’t really all that bad. I just felt like I was crawling. Although I would’ve loved to complete that leg with sub-7 minute miles, the reality is that I was still running faster than I had any business to.

{Side note: I did not know this before taking off, but Caroline had a very bad experience on her night leg. I am both grateful that she is okay and also relieved that I actually didn’t know about it before I ran. With the exception of a few runners I passed early on, I was alone the entire time – I’m sure I would have been very nervous. I typically love the night relay legs because of how peaceful they are, but I do really hope that HTC Management increases the security through this area of Portland.}


RecoveryRelay recovery

Leg 26 – 5.96 miles “Hard”  (Run #3)  10:02 am

After another long wait at the van transition spot and what seemed like an endless drive to the next major exchange area (complete with some awful HTC traffic — apparently the whole thing about it being a one-time-only disaster last year was a lie), we finally reached the next transition — in time for about 45 minutes of sleep.

After somehow peeling myself out of the van, I tried to walk around and stretch out my legs a bit. I choked down a few sips of the most awful coffee I’ve ever tasted, gave up, and devoured a Smooth Caffeinator Picky Bar instead (first time trying it and I was a huge fan!).  Word of warning to all future HTC-er’s: the coffee at Exchange #24 (in Mist, Oregon) tastes like poison. Save yourself and just donate a couple of dollars instead. You’ll thank me later.

team night power arch_caroline.jpegPower arch for Caroline’s last leg! (Please excuse my indecency)

At this point, my legs were so cramped from being curled up in the front seat of the van after running nearly 13 miles that I swore my hamstrings were about to snap in half. I tried to do a little warm up while I waited for Caroline, but nothing seemed to work. I got in the exchange zone and said a quick prayer that things would loosen up as soon as I started running.

HTC Exchange 25Caroline finishing up her final leg and me desperately trying to find satellites

And magically, they did. I don’t know if it was the perfect temperature, the picturesque Oregon country-side, or just a general excitement that I spent the entire weekend racing (after so many months on the sidelines), but I felt surprisingly fresh. The entire run was beautiful. Mountain views, rolling hills, farmland, and green everywhere I looked. It reminded me of being back home in Vermont. Despite the leg’s “hard” ranking, it felt so much easier than the one I’d done hours before and I easily clicked off three sub-7 minute miles to begin the leg.

HTC Runner 2 Leg 3

Unfortunately, my lack of endurance and a particularly cruel hill located late in the run eventually caught up to me. I started mentally struggling halfway into mile 4 and let my pace drop a little bit. Once I gave myself permission to relax, it just got worse. I came up to the dreaded long hill in the 5th mile and found myself struggling to keep my pace below 8:00. I tried my best to keep the HTC-cursing to a minimum and instead let myself get sucked back into the beauty of my surroundings as I slogged my way up to the top (but really, that last hill is just awful and man did it feel a lot harder than it looked on that elevation chart!).

Team Night Power ArchPower arch for extra energy

I finally reached the top of my last climb of Hood to Coast and was rewarded with a long, beautiful downhill .75 miles into the finish. It was glorious!

final leg checkSad the run was over, but so excited to be done

Garmin stats: 5.73 miles (my watch started late on this one) in 40:04 (6:59 average).

The Finish

lbsusan htcSusan and I before her final leg

This is already disgustingly long, so let’s just say that eventually Team Night made it to the finish, and with it the finish line celebration!! But the end of our relay wasn’t without its drama – which included an awful running injury and a scare when a bunch of runners, including Kelsey (our Leg 12 runner), were directed the wrong way and ended up far off course. But I will let those girls tell you their stories in their own words.

Needless to say, when our entire team was finally reunited at the finish there was a great celebration. Running through that finish line felt so good. We had survived the 2012 Hood to Coast Relay!

nuun ladies finishNuun ladies (from all 3 teams) at the finish

I spent the rest of the night drinking beer, eating greasy pizza, and staying up far too late for someone who had just run 17 miles on 45 minutes of sleep. And then my crazy body bounded out of bed far too early the next morning.  Four slow, hurts-so-good recovery miles with Robyn and Emily during which we re-hashed the relay brought my total West Coast mileage up to 30 AND (more significantly) marked the very first time since before the injury that I ran 6 days in one week. There was some celebrating in {ontherun}land in honor of that!

Overall Thoughts on Runner #2

I thought I loved my legs last year, but I just don’t think I knew what I was missing! I would definitely run in the #2 position again if I ever had the opportunity. With the exception of the boring middle leg (which, let’s be honest, is in the dark so your surroundings don’t really matter so much), I absolutely loved the runs that I had. The first leg was an incredible experience that I would recommend to anyone. The third — filled with rolling hills and amazing scenery to keep the run interesting. That downhil run into the beautiful exchange area will be burned into my memory forever.

watermelon beerCelebrating a successful Hood to Coast Relay with Watermelon Beer. So perfect for #teamwatermelon 

Thank you Nuun for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing weekend, and for taking such great care of us during the relay. And thank you to all the members of AfterNuun Delight Team Night Van 1 for being the inspiring, fun, wonderful people that you are. You made this relay one to remember and I am so thankful that I got to share it with all of you. You are already so very missed.

Van 1 love

*Many of these pictures were taken by Caroline. Thank you so much for sharing them with all of us!!

Hood to Coast Highlights: it’s about more than just the running

I know you are all getting bombarded with Nuun Hood to Coast recaps this week, but I hope you aren’t sick of them yet. Last year I wrote 4 different posts about the relay (I know, I know…I just had so much to say!) and while everything that I said in both my Power of a Relay and 10 Things I Learned from Hood to Coast posts still hold true this time around, I promise to be a lot more concise.

But that still doesn’t mean that I’m able to condense an almost week-long west coast extravaganza into one little post. So while I try to reflect on the actual Hood to Coast relay and how it has impacted me as a runner, here are some of the non-running highlights.

Mt Hood

But first – in case you are just catching up, Nuun sponsored a team of 30 bloggers to run the 31st Annual Hood to Coast Relay. These bloggers were divided into three AfterNuun Delight teams: Team Morning, Team Noon, and Team Night. Each team was made up of 12 people divided into two vans (10 bloggers + 2 Nuun staffers) who handed off to each other over the course of the relay. We all ran 3 different legs of varying distances, survived mainly on trail mix and peanut butter pretzels, and got about zero hours of sleep. Got it? Good…

The Pre-Race Festivities

I arrived in the PNW late Tuesday night for a little slumber party fun with Jocelyn, Susan, Laura, and Steph. It was a great way to ease into the craziness and social overload that came from 30 excited bloggers descending onto Nuun.

One of the major downsides of the whole experience last year was that most of us didn’t get a chance to hang out before the relay, so the only people we spent any significant time with were those in our van. This year, Nuun was determined to change all that. We were encouraged to fly into Seattle on Wednesday for a few days of pre-relay fun.

Team 2l2qTeam 2L2Q – Corey, me, Molly, Zoe, and Jennifer

There was a baseball game, group runs, team dinners, a scavenger hunt around Seattle, a trip to Oiselle….from the moment we arrived in Seattle to the moment I boarded the plane home, life felt jam-packed.

IMG 1130

Everyone that I met was incredibly nice and seemed genuinely excited to be a part of Team Nuun. It was fun getting to know people outside their blogs and to learn more about them than what they choose to share on the internet. As much as I loved my van, I was glad for the time that I had to interact with other people.

But in the end I have to admit – 30 bloggers is a lot. Although I met everyone, it’s hard to spend a lot of time actually connecting with 29 new people, especially if you’re an introvert like myself.

Group run

I joked with a few people that I was from Vermont now, and so I wasn’t in the practice of talking to people. (Which is sort of sad but true.) Even though I was technically a “Nuun veteran” and knew several individuals coming into all this, that didn’t prevent me from feeling slightly overwhelmed in the larger groups. Unfortunately in these situations, my initial reaction is to be a quiet observer instead of an active participant. After those first few days of team bonding time, I found myself hoping that I didn’t come off as unfriendly instead of just nervous. And was more excited than ever to join my little group of 6 in the team van.

It probably didn’t help that I came in a little distracted. I was basically glued to my phone all day on Wednesday, hanging on each and every update that I got from my sister’s long and difficult labor and anxiously waiting for the moment that I could see this beautiful little face.

Leah GraceWelcome to the world, Leah Grace. You are so very loved.

But can you really blame me? The first baby in the family, born to my {not-so-very}little sister is a pretty exciting event. As much as I loved Hood to Coast, there was a big part of me that wished I was down in Florida with the little nugget.

In the end, as crazy and exhausting as the whole social aspect of the relay was, I found myself wishing for more time. Relays have this magical power to connect you with your teammates in a way that no other race can, and I felt like some of those connections were just getting started as the relay ended.

The Skirts

It’s sort of funny to me that these little skirts have been the center of so much controversy. I get it, not everyone likes them. Some of you think they’re ridiculous. And that’s fine. To each their own. But really —  this is a relay. And part of the point is wearing crazy/bright/matching team outfits. Especially when you’re racing said relay for fun (I mean…we tried to give Bowerman AC a run for their money but in the end we just couldn’t keep up…so close!).

IMG 0115

So while I’m not about to go out and don the sparkles for my next marathon (if you are, more power to you), I honestly loved wearing my Team Sparkle Skirt during Hood to Coast. And here’s why:

  • Looking like your team is part of the fun. Not only was it always easy to spot your teammates, but our sparkles literally took over the course. Multiple runners joked about how they thought they had passed us only to get to the next leg and find one of our runners ahead of them again.
  • Having a team uniform that easily goes over your regular running clothes means that I didn’t have to wear the same nasty, stinky shirt/shorts for every leg. I’d change my outfit, slip the skirt back on, and be (almost) as good as new. Everybody wins.
  • You really don’t notice them. Sure, I may have mooned several runners/drivers as big gusts of wind or trucks blew past, but other than the cool breeze I felt as my skirt went up, I hardly even noticed it was there. They are light and didn’t feel constricting at all.
  • Passing people in a skirt is always fun. On my first leg, some woman commented to another runner, “I’m not going to destroy my knees for that girl” as if a skirt-clad runner isn’t serious enough to chase down. Ummm okay – good for you. But that’s not going to stop me from passing you.
  • And of course I have to mention…once again, it matched my shoes perfectly. So there’s that.

The Runners

What I loved about our Hood to Coast team was that it brought people together from all different backgrounds and from all over the country. We were all running different speeds and were at different places in our training, but we came together with a common goal. No matter what – people gave it their all. Even though we weren’t in it to win it, it was clear that everyone was so motivated to run the best race that they possible could. People were coming back from injury, dealing with sickness, or running through aches and pains. But it didn’t hold anyone back. And best of all – everyone was so incredibly supportive. This group of people that had essentially been strangers before the relay spent the entire weekend looking out for each other. We cheered our runners through the night, comforted each other when we were feeling sick or discouraged because of injury, and were all genuinely happy for one another when someone ran well. Not only was it an awesome feeling, but it was also inspiring. To see everyone out there running the best they could under the circumstances pushed me to run hard, even during those times when I felt like I had nothing left to give.

Runner2sCorey, my fellow Runner #2, and I both rocking the Team Watermelon

The Sponsors

It’s pretty well known by this point that we were a very well-supported team. From Nuun providing the opportunity to run the relay (and keeping us hydrated!) to companies like GoSportID and Endorphin Warrior who gave us words to run by, Tiger Tail who kept my legs feeling fresh despite some crazy hills, Team Sparkle and Sparkly Soul who helped us (what else?) sparkle, and of course Saucony who literally kept me running all weekend, there were so many amazing companies that I felt honored to represent.

words to run by

We were very spoiled — a fact that I felt a little guilty about at times, and something for which I will never really be able to say “thank you!” enough.

In the end…

There is so much more that I could say about this experience. Despite many days of reflecting and the two days it took me to write this post, I still don’t really feel as though my words are doing it justice. Hood to Coast is a race like no other, and I encourage any runner who is considering the race to just do it. You will not be let down.

Next time, I will recap my actual legs. But the short and sweet version: I ran fast(er than I expected) and my knee didn’t hurt. And that, my friends, was enough to make me feel like I was on top of the world!

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.

An {ontherun} Application: Nuun Hood to Coast 2012

Last August, I had the opportunity to be a part of the inaugural Nuun Hood to Coast team. To say it was the experience of a lifetime is an understatement.

Not only have I paraded around race courses in bright pink and green running gear ever since, but I’ve never been better hydrated while doing it. And I’ve spent all year thinking about getting myself back out to the West coast for a chance to do it all over again.

Because it wasn’t just the fact that I love relays above any other race that made it amazing.

Or the fact that this was Hood to Coast – the mother of all relays.

And it wasn’t even the fact that the trip brought me out to beautiful Oregon for the very first time in my life.

Nope. In the end, it was the people. The other bloggers on both teams, the awesome women in my van, and the staff from nuun who took excellent care of us all weekend. These people were what made the relay.

So today, I am applying for another chance. A chance to get back into a smelly van for 24 hours. To run faster and spread the nuun love farther than ever before. To be reunited with some of the amazing women from last year’s team, the employees from my absolute favorite hydration company, and a group of new bloggers who love running, relays, and nuun as much as I do.

I realize it may seem silly to some that I have spent every single day of the last year missing the people I met during the 2011 Hood to Coast relay. But until you’re a part of it, you don’t realize how much one weekend can change you. And how much the people you meet and experiences you have over just a couple of days can impact the rest of your life.

Yes, I know. That’s a lot of sap to swallow first thing on Monday morning. But I just had to get it out of my system. I promise I’m done now.

So without further ado, I present to you,

An {ontherun} Application

If for some reason the embedded video doesn’t work, please click here.


Dear Nuun,

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime last year. To this day, running Hood to Coast with your company remains one of the most incredible experience of my life. Please bring back Team Watermelon for another weekend of tearing up the Oregon coast.





Today is the final day to submit your application to be a part of the Nuun Hood to Coast Blogger team for 2012. So get those applications in!! And best of luck to all who applied. I hope to see you on Mt Hood this summer!

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