Friday, September 9, 2011

Hood to Coast

I recently was able to be a part of an amazing experience called Hood to Coast.  It's a 200 mile running relay race from Mt. Hood, Oregon to Seaside, Oregon and takes place over 2 days.  There are 12 people on a team that run 36 legs.  Everyone runs 3 legs.  The miles range from 3 to 8 miles.  There are 2 vans with 6 people in each van.  I was part of a team from Jeff's work at the hospital.  It was a resident team, but they had openings to fill, and when Jeff asked if I would be interested, I jumped at the chance to be a part of it.  They only allow a certain number of teams.  This year was the first year they had 1,200 teams whereas in previous years they only allowed 1,000 teams.  And there is a waiting list for teams, so you have to get accepted to even have a team to do HTC. 
So happy having finished my first leg.
I was in Van 1.  Our van started at 7:45 Friday morning.  We got up the mountain early, but our team started 10 minutes late.  We didn't know that we had to prove we had reflective vests and lights for the night runs.  After showing our gear, the officials let our first runner begin the race.  After dropping off our first runner, we drove to our first exchange spot.  Runner 2 got out and got ready for the exchange.  And that's how the race went.  We dropped off a runner, picked up a runner, and drove to the next exchange point.  I ran legs 4, 16 & 28.  My first leg was a little over 7 miles.  I ran around 9:30 am.  Fortunately it was early enough in the day that I didn't get too hot.  But it was one of the hotter days in Portland, so the afternoon runners had to deal with heat exhaustion.  Jeff had a tough leg.  It was the last leg in our van.  He had to run uphill, and it was getting warm.  He did it and recuperated enough to be able to run his other 2 legs. 
Jeff, making his tough leg look easy.
While Van 2 was running, our van had a short break.  It's only about 5 hours.  We got something to eat and also went to someone's house (one of our team members) to take showers and rest.  But then we had to quickly get back in our van and drive to our next major exchange point, fighting traffic, etc.  My next run was in the dark.  I ran around 8:45 that night.  It was 4.2 miles.  I had to run with a headlight, a reflective vest and a light attached to my vest.  It's all rather complicated, but I guess we have to do it for our safety.  That night our van finished around midnight.  We drove to the next major exchange point where they have designated sleeping areas.  Our van slept for a couple of hours before we had to meet Van 2 and run our last legs. 
7 of our 12 team members
I ran my last leg around 7:00 the next morning.  It was 4.1 miles.  I was so glad to be done.  I was tired, but it felt good to have accomplished something that I had spent so much time training and preparing for.  If given the chance to do it again, I would be thrilled to!
Van 1 at Seaside