How HTC works: It works just like Cascade Lakes Relay I wrote about a few weeks ago. 12 runners, two vans, 36 running segments ('legs"), little to no sleep or real food.
I ran legs 3, 15, and 27. Or as I liked to call them Good, bad and worst.
Leg 3 AKA holy crap! I ran 4 miles down the flanks of Mt. Hood, losing 850 or so feet of elevation along the way. I averaged 8 minute miles. Yeah, no one was as surprised about that as me. My first thought? Great...now expectations are a little high...Fortunately I was on a team full o' awesome and they knew I was a tubby slow mess and gravity pulled my belly and me down the mountain against my best efforts to be a slowfoot.
Leg 15 AKA the Reality Check. They say the best runs are the ones where you notice nothing. Yeah. On this run I noticed everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. My feet hurt. My quads were seized into knots any boy scout or sailor would have been proud to have created. I couldn't get into a groove and I kept thinking "Man, it'd be really nice to just sit down on that guardrail for a couple minutes..." Spoiler alert: I didn't sit down. You know this is true, because if I did I'd probably still be there, unable to move. I gutted it out and finished my 7.25 miles in a 10:30 pace. Not bad considering I really would have been happy to lie down on the road and die at the 3.5 mile mark when I got completely dusted by a 10 year old kid. No lie. it was like I was standing still and he was flying. It really broke my spirit (until later in the relay when I saw him again. He's a junior Olympian. There was a whole team of them. Superfast kiddos that bunch!).
|That's about right|
Leg 27 AKA OhdearGodmakeitstop! Pace=11:03 minute miles over 5.8 miles. This was the first time I have ever had to stop and tie my shoes on a run. This is no exaggeration. I hate having to futz with my shoelaces and take great pains to ensure we're all set before I head out the door. The shoes I wore on this relay are a mess of a different color and a big part of the reason I feel like I was struggling so much.The longer the race went, the more jacked up my feet were. Needless to say, they're gone now, and won't be worn by me again. I had to walk a ton, my hip was killing me, and to top it off the road was cambered at something like 78 degrees or so. it was like I was running on a wall at times. OK, maybe that was an overstatement, but the camber was enough that It was like trail running on a sidehill. Not fun on 2 hours of sleep and sore legs.
|Pretty well says it all|
OK, enough of the recap. Relays like this are not really about the running. It's about the people. I had an awesome team to run with. It was all teachers that I know through my wife (and through my student teaching at their school) and their spouses. A guy could not ask for better teammates. It's rare that I can say I was stuck in a vehicle with the same 5 people for 36 hours and never once got annoyed with any of them. I got to say that twice this summer. And mean it.
The big question you always get after a race like this is "are you going to run next year?" Honestly, probably not. HTC is too big. 1000 teams of 12 is a lot of traffic. There are other great relay events out there that I'm interested in so I think I'll explore those. If, by some chance, the same team got together and wanted me to run with them again, then I'd reconsider (but hopefully we'll run together on a different race next year...I hear RAGNAR is pretty cool...).
|What a team!|