Monday, August 27, 2012

Hood to Coast!

This past weekend saw the concluding event of Relay Month with my first running of the Hood to Coast Relay (HTC from now on, K?). It's weird to think of this as my first run of it; I was a team driver for a great women's team a couple years back, so I had the full experience minus the running bit. This year fixed all that...On to the recap:

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? 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.
Yeah, Baby!

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!

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