Obviously I could, but most of you would not understand most of it and well that is a problem. It is already hard to find the words to bring justice to this experience, for me it is even harder to do this in another language. You see even after 12 years of living in California and in "English", I still think in French.
Hood to Coast the movie came out on 1-11-11. That was my 42nd birthday that day. I did not know much about the relay before seeing the movie but I was curious to see what this crazy event was. After seeing it that night, I wanted to be there and run down the mountain. I remember telling Bill I would love to do this thinking it was just a dream.
If someone would have told this girl
that she would run Hood to Coast in a couple of years she would have said "Hmm I hate running and what Hood?"
Dreams come true people...they really do.
Look I got proof:
That would be me in all my pink glory at the start of Hood to Coast. It truly was a "pinch me" moment for me. I was VERY overwhelmed with good feelings and also nervous ones.
OK before going further the quick notes on HTC for those who don't know about it (what? maybe someone doesn't, anything is possible) :
It is a 200 miles relay.
Teams have 2 vans of 6 runners.
Each runners run 3 legs.
Location: Paradise (or if you prefer the real name: Oregon)
I was on Team Night, in van 1 and I was Runner 1.
So I ran legs 1-13 and 25.
I said it in my previous posts but I'll say it again: I was so lucky to be in that van.
I really liked all my teammates. They were all fantastic. Hood to Coast is about much more than running. It is an EXPERIENCE, a crazy adventure, the Running Woodstuck! I made real friends during this race and went through a bunch of feelings; joy, fear, gratitude, nervousness, disappointment, pride, happiness.
This leg is ranked as VERY HARD. Starts at the top of Mt Hood and it is 5.85 miles of downhill. Driving up to the start of the race I was able to see what leg 1 would be. I got really nervous, really fast. Leg 1 is no joke. We had 2:15 pm start. We left Seattle at 8 am and drove to Oregon. We made a few mandatory pit stops ...including Starbucks of course.
On the way we started working on our music video debut...a real master piece of you ask me. Go see for yourself here.
When we arrived in Sandy, we started seeing runners who were coming to the first van exchange and that is when it got REAL for me.
and not long after....
It is hard to describe how beautiful it is there. You will have to just trust me on this..it is breath taking.
Finally we were there. At the start of Hood to Coast! (Corey's pic)
All three van 1 were there and we took a van 1 group picture on "The Rock"
Then it was time to get ready for my first leg!
Vanessa must have felt how nervous I was and she stayed with me the whole time. Thank you Vanessa! She pinned the bib I made to remember Sherry Arnold and Sarah Hart on my back.
She took pictures of me at the starting line and she was just a wonderful friend.
We were 11 runners in my wave. Each one was introduced by their team name and before we knew it we were off!
Back to running leg 1.
It was hard and great. The view is unbelievable...it is PARADISE. It is all steep downhill. I got injured running downhill so that added to my nervous state. Mason had advised me to just "let go" so I did that at first. My pace was faster than I planned..(8:38 for mile 1) for a minute there I thought maybe I could stay there..I was so happy and grateful to be there! I knew my van could not stop to cheer or give me water because for this leg it is not allowed, so I carried my handheld and many vans honked and cheered as they passed me and it was fantastic. I felt the spirit of Hood to Coast right away!
Around mile 2 I noticed I was breathing heavy and I started having side ache. I also started getting pain in my groin so I reverted to what my PT said to do for this leg. Shorter steps and slower pace. That made the pain go away. My breathing was all over the place. I think altitude was affecting me a little. Around mile 3 the course takes a turn and opens to the most beautiful view. I was smiling and I screamed "We are so lucky!!!!!" I kept thinking "YOU are running Hood to Coast! Take it all in". Mile 4.....a bump in the road...I got sick... crap...even at Hood to Coast it happens... I was so mad...a really nice young guy stopped and asked if I was OK..I said yes and got back on the road as quickly as I could.
There are a few race photographers on the course. I think most runners get their picture taken once in all 3 legs. This is mine and I bought it: First "mommy vacation ever", first Relay, first Hood to Coast, running first leg with Mt Hood in the back....worth $12.50!!!
I got down the mountain to the first exchange to pass the stick to LAUREN!
I went in full dry heave mode right after that.
I walked a little...I could feel my quads cramping, I was dehydrated and my stomach was not great BUT I could not be happier to be there and be a part of this relay. I changed in a dry bra and shirt and waited to the next exchange to change the rest because we needed to get moving!
I WAS pretty disappointed with how I did as far as my time goes. I came in behind the time that was predicted for me (they had me running this leg at a pace that was faster than my fastest 5k pace). All my teammates were superstars runners. Really. I think all but 1 have ran one (or more) marathon already. They were all much faster than me. These gals never made me feel like the "older slower one". They were very supportive and I thank them with all my heart for that. It meant so much to me. I told myself that I would run hard for my 2nd leg to make up some of the time lost. I can say with honesty that I gave everything I had for leg 1, I just wish I had more to give..!
It was now time to put the cheerleader and photographer hat on for the next 5 legs!!!!
Two things were great to have between running legs.
1. Shower pills wipes. They are large antibacterial body wipes that are individually packaged.
2. The Tiger Tail: Tiger A rolling muscle massager we received in our swag bag. I LOVE LOVE this thing. It works. I used it the whole time during the race. It is so much better than the foam roller in my opinion.
Thank you Shower Pills and Tiger Tail!
Thank you NUUN. (cannot say that often enough)
I know I wrote before that I would write the running part in 1 post..but I changed my mind.
My leg 2 is coming up and it will need it's own post...
Thank you for reading this.