I’d be stupid not to talk my actual running of Hood to Coast. I am really damn proud of my first two legs, even if I did get passed like a walker-granny in a crosswalk in Times Square.
We’ll start with disappointments.
1) The late start. Our predicted finish times weren’t super fast so I have no idea why on earth we started so late (2:45 PM). Waiting around all day long, knowing that the race was already afoot, and not getting to start my first leg until the moon was already up, was kind of driving me batty. The upside? Extra hang time with my awesome teammates! But in the back of my mind I kept thinking, “When do I get to start PARTICIPATING in the relay and not just spectating?!”
2) I never got to pass a soul. I had initially thought that in the world’s largest relay, we’d be in the thick of it and I’d get MAD road kills! At Ragnar SoCal earlier this year I had tons of road kills as the field was around 800 teams….but we also started at 7 AM. Hood to Coast was supposed to have 1,070 teams. WOWSA! But no such luck. Oh well. Pride boosting was not on my to-do list anyway.
TIP: I heard taking an antacid can prevent those mid-run cramps.
3) On my last leg. I psyched myself out for my last leg. It was my longest and would be in the heat of the day. Turns out it ended sooner than I thought and it wasn’t all that hot. But the damage had been done and I ran<jogged<walked a very sluggish 7.7 miles. I just didn’t believe I had it in me. I got a side cramp and felt tight in my legs and shuffled through it. When I handed off to Zoë I immediately regretted the previous hour and a half. I should’ve put on my big-girl panties and pushed through it. Damn. Oh well. Maybe next year.
So, whining over, let’s talk about the awesomeness of my first two legs.
First run, Leg 9: Starting at 9:45 PM, 6.9 miles generally downhill.
Moonlight on the trail
Beats pour from my shoulders
Run to the rhythm
I was so freakin excited to get running, FINALLY! Marjorie encouraged me that I’d fall into a rhythm and those 7 miles would just fly by. Exactly what I needed to hear and she was so right.
TIP: Replace your headlamp batteries before a relay.
The first half of the run was trail = hard packed dirt with some grass patches. The second half was paved. The dimming glow of my failing headlamp would’ve been romantic in other circumstances, however, I literally couldn’t distinguish what was 5 feet in front of me. At one point I passed a couple out for a nice creepy stroll in the dark (no flashlight, guys?) – a fact which I realized with only about 3 feet of notice. WHOA! Hello!
This was my first time using my new favorite thing – a RoadNoise Vest. I don’t run with music but this was a long and lonely run – no van support – so I thought I would benefit from some tunes. When the path got harder to see I thought about turning the tunes off. Maybe I should be more aware of my surroundings when running in a dark tunnel of trees?
TIP: Review your playlist before plugging in to speakers for a 7 mile run.
But, I was being passed like every minute on the minute and there were course cyclists. I felt safe and strong and didn’t want to loose my mojo, so the tunes stayed and probably buoyed me through that entire run. Of course my ONE Chinese pop music song would come on as I passed the only aid station, manned by future firemen. I could hear their, “What a weird lady” thoughts as I grabbed some agua.
I came in jumping and dancing to the exchange, just about exactly on time. I’m pretty sure our van driver, a very patient young man and Nuun employee, thinks us blogging ladies are whack. Alex did a great job tolerating and even occasionally participating in our nonsense. I LOVE having a DD on relays.
Second run, Leg 21: 7:00 AM, 5 miles generally downhill.
Brrr freakin shiver! I hate the cold but I KNOW that once I get warmed up, I run my best in it. I had it on good authority (read: Tonia) that it wasn’t that bad once you got running so I didn’t wear my cute Tough Chick arm warmers. Bummer.
TIP: When your tummy’s feeling dismal, Pepto-Bismol!
So, this leg was ALL GRAVEL ROAD. Good vans were creeping by on their way to the next exchange and bad vans were zipping by stirring up all kinds of dusty road crap. I had been forewarned so I buffed it again. Now that I think about it, I think I only really wear my buff during relays (I have similar photos from my first relay). It’s my relay buff. Relay buff + Maui Jim sunnies = no dust in the eyes or nose or mouth = happy Tiffany able to see and breathe easy, even though I thought I might soil my sparkle skirt (GI issues).
But, back to the GRAVEL ROAD. Cars were using it so I couldn’t run in the middle. I tried to stay to the side – but that is where the gravel is the deepest and shiftiest. My Brooks Pure Flow shoes were an excellent choice for the relay but I just didn’t like how wobbly I felt on the shifty gravel. So I ran off the side in the grass – hence the dusty slash marks on my capris.
I felt SO good during this run (bowel issues aside). To run 5 miles with no walk breaks is still something I consider an accomplishment. I was strong for this run. I thought about stopping, especially when I wasn’t sure if a fart was going to have substance to it or not. I’d only slow a little to make sure I was in the clear, and then pick up the pace again and keep moving. I also figured, the sooner I finished, the sooner I could get to a Honey Bucket.
And now we’re back to…
Third run, Leg 33: Starting at 3:04 PM, 7.72 miles rolling hills.
Prior to my last leg:
During my las leg:
Total Distance: 19.6 miles.
Anyway, there were a few other fun things about the relay. We got to meet Team Dead Jocks in a Box and Team Heart and Soul (as seen in the Hood to Coast Documentary).
And I should mention that I AM STILL loving my Nuun visor and jacket. I can’t take them off. I wear them all the time. Aspaeris Pivot Shorts are saving my life right now after three solid days of CrossFit workouts that have KILLED my quads (rowing, squat jumps, med ball cleans, deadlifts, wall sits, oh my!).
Yup, that’s my tush. Thanks Tonia. Other photo credits are most likely due to my other vanmates Jessica, Lindsay, Zoë or Kim, but I’m sure other AfterNUUN Delight Team Members contributed to this. Thank you, ladies!