Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hood to Coast

 Van 1:  Dan, Me, Rob, Lynn, Frank, Phil
Van 2:  Isaac, Daria, Renae, Krisi, Theresa, Erica

Over the weekend I got to experience the Hood to Coast, a 199 mile relay race that went right onto my bucket list once I finally settled into the idea that I had become a runner.  I had heard tails, mostly just of love for this “mother of all relays”.  There are 1,050 teams of 12 runners, this years event had 12,600 runners and 3,600 volunteers.  The HTC began in 1982 with 8 teams and has filled the team cap on the opening day of registration for the last 16 years straight!

It starts up at Timberline Lodge and you, along with 11 of your friends, run all the way to Seaside, Oregon.  Crazy!  So many hills, unfriendly terrain, and darkness, but that really isn't the main thing that makes this race difficult.  Yes, the running can get tricky, you have to really push yourself to run over and over once your body is tired and over it, you are functioning on no sleep and poor nutrition.  But the real issue is the logistics of it all!  So many people to rely on, directions to follow, timing, oh and the TERRIBLE traffic.  Also the lack of cell phone service and ways to communicate between team members, that it very challenging!  They basically let about twice as many teams compete that the course can accommodate.   You have to send your runner out long before you get to the check point in hopes they will arrive in time to pass off to the next runner, all while you’re sitting in traffic needing to get to the next post. 

Here are a few of the tips I came up with as I ponder what went right, what went wrong, what could of gone a little better…

Pick your team well.  I was lucky, I didn't really know the people I did this race with, they just happened to be awesome which worked out great for me.  But do pick your team wisely, you are going to go through a lot together, you are going to need good solid characters to do that with!  

Be organized.  Study where you need to be & when.  Get a very good idea the pace of each runner so you can predict when exchanges are going to take place when you are out of cell range.  Do a LOT of communicating while you can so the other half of your team knows exactly where you are at. 

Operate with some urgency.  Don’t be late.  Do everything you can to be either early or at least on time & ready.  There is nothing worse than running your heart out to find the next runner doesn't show up for 45 minutes. 

Get gas for your car way before you need it, there won’t be time later.

Roll with the punches, go with the flow.  Things are not going to go perfectly.  Expect challenges.  Expect tired cranky people, give each other grace and just keep pushing forward.  There IS a finish line waiting for you, and your team is relying on you!

I so enjoyed this race!!  It didn't all go as planned, and that’s OK.  We made it, we survived, we had lots of great laughs along the way and we ran our hearts out!  It was a really great experience and I feel so lucky to have gotten the opportunity to do it! 

I felt bad for van 2, they came in so beat down, tired, frustrated, even in tears.  They were at their breaking point.  We had already had several hours to process what we’d just gone through, showered, changed clothes and mentally let it all go.  Once we pushed through as a team and crossed the finish line, and especially once we all got a drink and some food, the whole mood shifted to celebrating, a truly epic accomplishment.

I highly recommend doing the Hood to Coast if you get the opportunity!! I can’t wait to try some other relays too!  It was really cool to take running, something I generally always do alone, and turn it into a team sport.  I loved the support and friendships that came out of that!  Go team!! 

And of course it wouldn't be me without and excessive amount of pictures to go along, in no particular order...

And done!!  Yay!  So fun!!