Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hood to Coast - 2007

My running group does HTC every year -- but it's a lottery so last year they didn't get in (first in a long, long time), so this year they were extra excited to go. We've been planning since last September I believe... and they really do a great job with the details. Oh yeah -- this group is comprised of a lot of Navy and ex-Navy guys and wives... it's a ball!

We had a later start time than normal so we left Friday morning. All 12 piled in to two 15 passenger vans - pretty nice and roomy to drive down in. We stopped and had lunch together and then headed up the mountain. Sherri, Fast Mike and & I changed into our running clothes as we were legs 1, 2 & 3. The entire group was up there and we watched Sherri start off down the mountain. Like she said, hers was a pretty insane down hill -- in fact, the first three legs of the race have warnings not too pound too hard as they are quad-busters! Nice, huh? She did great and was in great form!

Sher-Bear at the Start (yes, we all got nicknames al a Ernie)

Sher-Bear looking good on leg 1 downhill

She handed off to Mike and I was next... started to get a bit nervous, but that's okay. My first leg was 3.93 miles -- downhill, not quite as steep as Sherri's, but it was still a 900' elevation loss (for some reason I kept thinking it was 1500' loss but I was going down to 1500' in elevation so dur!), anyway, I chugged along and finished in 30 min on the nose -- a 7:33 pace.

Shenaynay coming in to transition

I handed off to Chris and then he handed off to Ernie who handed off to Alan. We had a lot of talent in our van. The guys run between 5:30s and 7:30s. Most in the upper 6 range. It was amazing to behold their power! Definitely comment worthy.

After we finished our cycle we handed the relay off to van #2 and headed off for some rest. Not a lot of rest going on, but I think we all managed a couple hours. The 2nd van radioed in when they were an hour out and Sherri, Mike and I got dressed and ready for round #2. This was in the middle of the night so it was plenty dark. Sherri and Mike ran their legs and then it was my turn to hit my longest of my three runs -- 7.25 miles. This was actually fairly hilly. The print out I got online didn't look like it but there were a few steady climbs but I was determined to run quickly. I headed out doing 8:20s but then slowed it down as I realized I still had 5 miles to go plus another leg. I kind of crapped out between miles 4 & 5 but got a second wind and finished pretty strong. My average pace for that was 8:47 pace. I felt pretty darn good and headed off for another banana and a cliff bar.

By the time we handed off to Van 2 my stomach was really sick, as were Sherri's, Mikes, Alans and Ernies -- I think Chris was the only one still feeling good. I think we all hit the port-a-potties way too many times during that rest period. I was having a lot of cramping (my opinion due to numerous cliff bars and bananas) we really hadn't eaten well/normal food in many hours and were suffering.

Sherri headed out on her last leg, which we knew she'd get through pretty quickly, and then Mike was off. He only had 5-ish miles to run so I knew I needed to be ready soon! Fast Mike, also nicknamed, Chubbs, is fast (averaged 6:05s for all his legs) so I knew I wasn't going to have much time to visit the port-a-potties. I went, literally, 5 times in an hour and still felt mega ill. I got ready for the hand off .....

Chubbs - you should see this guy's blue eyes -- mesmerizing!

I did okay the first two miles but then my stomach was churning and my sides were aching and it felt like I had little sharp pains everywhere. It was SO hard to run through. I was pretty upset with myself, to say the least, that I wasn't performing like I wanted and knew I could. I finished my 6 miles with a 9:48 pace and was very grateful to be done.

Hank's Bitch handing water to Ez E

Ez E climbing a hill

My pace overall for all three of my legs was 8:43 -- not too bad -- I really only wanted 8:45 or better so I achieved that goal and I had a blast with a great running group. Just so thankful to have found them years ago. It's nice having a group to do this kind of stuff with.

Definitely hoping to make it an annual event. Next year it's ON my birthday... what a great way to spend it!

Random pictures:

Hank's Bitch - very nice 26 year old... just started running in January and is great at it!

Shanaynay and Sher-Bear

Slug Van 1 w/Mount Hood in background

Hank - need I say more! LOL -- another great runner - he's only 20 but one of the politest, nicest guys I've known.

Slug Group - Hood to Coast 2007