Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hood to Coast

Remember when I went to Portland to run Hood to Coast?  You don't?  Oh.  Well...

In my only non-wedding-related vacation of the summer, the end of August meant a trip to Portland, Oregon, where I ran three of 36 legs in the 198-mile Hood to Coast relay race.  We came in first!  Just kidding.  We came in 709th of 1009 teams.  Pretty good...?

The race started at the top of Mount Hood, ran through Portland and ended at the Pacific coast.  We split up into two vans of six runners each, but started the race together, at 7:45 a.m., with the (beautiful) above team photo.

Seeing snow (and ski-ers!) in the middle of August was kind of a trip, especially coming from Houston/Israel/NYC heat.  In this photo, at the start, I was wearing a light jacket and was FREEZING. Didn't mind.

This is the race start!  Joe ran our first leg.  He was the first of 12 of us, and we were split into two vans.  While the first van was running, the second knew we wouldn't be called on to run for about 6 hours, so we took a break -- after I snapped this photo we went to brunch.

Over the next 31 hours we ran continuously, meaning that everyone had at least one run in total darkness (my second leg started at 3:07 a.m.!) and most of us had at least one run we wouldn't have chosen.  My leg breakdowns:

Leg #1: 
distance: 5 miles
pace: 8:31 minutes per mile
time of day: 4 p.m.
terrain: flat biking trail heading into Portland
thoughts: Since I was the second-to-last runner, I had watched 10 people before me get through their first legs, and I was excited.  My adrenaline was pumping and I was really flying -- I remember at one point thinking I should slow down, that I couldn't maintain a sub-9 minute pace for 5 miles, but my legs just wouldn't.  Very cool.  Although... not going to lie, the flat biking trail and bright sun made me feel like I was running in Houston.  Not necessarily what I was going for by racing Portland.

Leg #2: 
distance: 4 miles
pace: 9:07 minutes per mile
time of day: 3 a.m.
terrain: rolling hills on a two-lane highway between Portland and the coast
thoughts: This was by far my favorite run -- nothing but wet pavement (it was raining and mercifully cool) and the blinking red lights from the safety gear of runners in front of me.  My headlamp was the only source of light on the black road.

Leg #3: 
distance: 7 miles
pace: 9:55 minutes per mile
time of day: 1 p.m.
terrain: steady uphill on a gravel road a few miles from the coast
thoughts: Worst run, and glad it was my last.  The sun was hot.  The uphill never ended.  And the gravel moving under my feet had a way of making me feel like a gerbil in a spinning cage, making no progress.

But you know how this ends, right?...

...we made it to the beach.

...and had a few beers to boot!

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