Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Part 4 of ???: Hood to Coast Relay Recap -- My Legs of the Relay

With Hood to Coast being more than a week ago already (!), I need to act on recapping my legs of the race before I forgot everything. My brain is bad these days -- and I was really tired & sleep-deprived during the race -- so this will be reconstructed from photos I'm stealing from others.

My first leg:
Hood to Coast estimate: 5.67 miles, difficulty rating Hard, predicted pace of 7:04 min/miles
Actual leg: 5.34 miles, difficulty rating I'd call Moderate, actual pace of 7:40 min/miles

This leg of the race was entirely downhill -- it dropped 1,500 feet of elevation in the span of 5+ miles -- and if it weren't for the fact that it completely shreds up your quads, I'd call this leg "Easy." There's a fine line between letting gravity pull you, putting out too much effort because of adrenaline, and trying to fight gravity. I think I did a good job of letting the mountain pull me downhill -- until the very last few minutes of the leg, when my shoe came untied.

Yup, I seriously saw Caitlin waiting for the hand-off about a quarter of a mile away, and I had to pull over to tie my shoe. Awesome.

Getting read for Tricia to charge into the transition area.

Look at that smooth exchange! You'd never know we were relay newbs.
I think this is the only photo Ricardo? Diego? got of me running. :)
Yup, van driver Alex did a better job photographing -- USING AN IPHONE -- than the professional photographer did. ;)
5.34 miles later, I'm coming into the pass to hand off to Caitlin.
BAM. Pros.
My only gripe about this leg of the race was that it was painfully hot for my sissy SF-self. With temperatures in the mid-80s at 1:30 in the afternoon, there was no shade along this stretch of the highway. The recently repaved sections of the road smelled of nauseating asphalt and radiated even more heat.

It was seriously SO BEAUTIFUL running down Mount Hood and through the forest, though, that all of this is definitely forgivable. :)

Time: 5.34 miles in 41:01
My splits: 7:41, 7:39, 7:35, 7:35, 7:56, 7:28 pace -- average pace of 7:40 min/miles

My second leg:
Hood to Coast estimate:
6.08 miles, difficulty rating of Moderate, predicted pace of 8:20 min/miles
Actual leg: 6.07 miles, difficulty rating I'd call Hard, actual pace of 7:56 min/miles

This was my nighttime leg along the wonderful industrial part of Portland. (By wonderful, I mean boring.) While a few of our runners got a scenic view of downtown Portland and the riverfront, I ran along the highway next to a big rig loading zone. It was still hot even at night, but thankfully every time a rig passed, a gust of wind would blow by and provide a welcomed breeze.

Because it was dark, I couldn't tell exactly but the entire leg felt uphill. I was also fatigued from running just a few hours earlier (and I was stuffed from snarfing down a veggie burger and a mountain of fries at a delicious local brewery), so this could be why this leg felt harder than predicted.

Headphones are banned from the HTC course, and I resorted to counting my steps to 100 and then starting all over again to keep myself occupied during this leg. If was really desperate, I sang the 10 words I know from "Party Rock Anthem."

Van 1 & Van 2 met up for second time, and I was excited to see Tonia & Susan in Portland!

Chatting with an AfterNUUN Delight runner running the same legs as me, the adorable Mrs. Dorothy, in our transition area. It was great that we spent most of the race neck & neck.

Dorothy and me before our night legs.

Before I knew it, Tricia was handing me the baton.

Can you find me running along the creepy highway? Thanks for snagging this picture, Lauren!
Again, this leg was hard mentally because there was no scenery, I was tired, I didn't know how much further I had left, the whole leg felt like a gradual uphill, and I couldn't get that crappy LMFAO song out of my head. My bib number was covered as I headed into the exchange, so unfortunately the announcer couldn't let Caitlin know I was ready. I stood around for a minute or so looking for her before I was able to make the hand-off.

This was definitely not my favorite leg of the race, but it was still an unforgettable experience!

Time: 6.07 miles in 48:10
My splits: 8:00, 7:41, 7:52, 8:06, 8:00, 7:54, 8:06 pace -- average pace of 7:56 min/miles

My third leg:
Hood to Coast estimate: 5.77 miles, difficulty rating of Hard, predicted pace of 8:27 min/miles
Actual leg: 5.73 miles, difficulty rating I'd call Moderate, actual pace of 7:45 min/miles

After getting a few hours of totally restless sleep inside a van, I was feeling more energized and was ready to take on my last leg of the race. Thankfully Mist, OR lives up to its name and I felt at home when I woke up to the site of thick fog. It burned off quickly, but I definitely appreciated the cooler morning temperatures.

Waiting for Tricia to plow through the crowds for our final hand-off.
A-ha! I busted Lisa taking pictures of me. :)
3-2-1 Blast off!

So excited to almost be done.
I took off running way too quickly because it was easy to convince myself I only had this short portion of the relay left! When I approached my final uphill, though, I couldn't hold that pace anymore. I slowed my stride, took a short walk break, and soaked in the expansive green fields around me. Oregon is a truly beautiful place and I'm glad I was able to leave everything I had out there.

Time: 5.73 miles in 44:30
My splits: 7:20, 7:23, 7:24, 7:51, 8:48, 7:44 pace -- average pace of 7:45 min/miles

FINISHED & the sun is still rising!

When all was said and done, I ran a total of 17.15 miles at an average pace of 7:45 minute miles.

Official Nuun Platuun Stats:
Location: Mt. Hood, OR to Seaside, OR (200 miles)
Date: 8/26/11-8/27/11
Official Time: 27:59.17 -- Oh, hell yeah! Who finished in under 28 hours!?! Nuun Platuun did, that's who! #WINNING
Average Pace: 8:24 min/mile
Women's Open Division Place: 7 out of 38
Overall Place: 293 out of 1,268
Air Temp: Upper 60s in the morning, upper 80s in the afternoon

If you want to know more about how the rest of my team did during their legs of the race, check out their recaps. I wish I were as punctual as they all were. :)


  1. I've been following the merry adventures of a few of you Nuun runners, and now I really want to run a relay. And I am going to take advantage of that 25% Nuun discount for sure. :)

    Congrats on an awesome race! You were so speedy, especially considering the weather -- anything over 63 degrees and I'm dying. I don't know how you did it. You're a badass!

  2. I love you for making me sound like a stud. YOU rocked it girl,seriously.

    Please come see me soon :)

  3. Haha, I love how we are serious wimps with the weather being from the bay area.

    You kept such a consistent pace throughout the whole race - that is so hard with all the starting and stopping I think.

    So cool you girls snuck in under 28 hours!! Awesome job!

  4. Yay! I didn't know that headphones were banned - oy, but you rocked it! I had so much fun reading your recaps I can only imagine how much fun it was for you! So glad you got to experience it!

  5. Look at you KILLING your legs you stud!! Oh how I wish we could've hung out more!!

    Wasn't Diego Riviera a waste of space?!! So frustrating!

    Thanks for linking everybody below. I love stepping into everyone's mindset during this Mother of a relay!

  6. You are so speedy and in that HEAT! Nice job! You made me laugh with the mention of Roberto...ahhh the memories! Great job!!

  7. Riveria, Roberto, Ricardo, Rodrigo... what's the difference, right?!

  8. You seriously ROCKED it!

    Btw, you are more punctual than I am with a race report. I am only a third done! I loved your recap.

  9. Yes, you are a wimp when it comes to heat but I suppose I can forgive you for that. We need to get you out of SF before your blood permanently thins!

    Other than that one tiny flaw, you are amazing! You rocked your runs and came in faster than predicted pace - that's awesome!! And your comments about our friend Rinaldo/Rufino/Resperado made me laugh. Such a good photographer - I'm wondering if he'll be available for my wedding.

  10. I'm a little behind on blogs, work with me here. I love your recap!! You rocked all your legs (look at those speedy times!) and always take amazing race photos...really, I'm jealous!