Monday, August 27, 2012

Waiting for the Shoe to Drop - Hood to Coast 2012

So...Hood to Coast. I don't even know where to start. If you're just tuning in - what took you so long? Also, Hood to Coast is a 200 mile relay that starts at Mount Hood and ends up in Seaside, Oregon. 12 runners take turns running portions of the relay, and spend their off time cramped into a sweaty van eating trail mix. In short, it's freaking awesome.

At the start - Mount Hood!

I was lucky enough to be part of one of nuun's three teams, After-nuun Delight. I loved that name. Like, loved it. Just scandalous enough to get laughs, but looked seriously tame next to vans with team names like "My Third Leg is Hard." I don't want to get sappy here, guys, but if you look past the erection jokes (COME ON. You KNEW I meant that third leg) you'll see that I truly had the experience of a lifetime.

I have the tendency to be a cynic at times. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop with this whole event. Eventually, I was going to be forced to talk to someone I hated, or be shoved into doing something I didn't want to do, etc. In reality, that never happened. I already love nuun products, but loving the product does NOT mean you will love the employees. But then I did. I am semi-convinced that they were faking it the entire time, because no company is THAT nice when running on zero sleep and being forced to poop in porto-potties for 36 hours. At least, I'm not that nice. But they were.

Van 1 Team Night! L-R: Mason, Lauren, Caroline, me, Robyn, Susan and Shanna

It's getting long, and I'm getting sappy. But straight up: there is no experience like this, and I am incredibly grateful for everything that nuun did over the course of the weekend. Especially Mason, our van driver/midnight runner extraordinaire. I met tons of people, ate roughly 16 pounds of gummy bears, formed bonds with my vanmates and had my first solo night run.

Oh, you guys read this to hear about running? My bad. I'll try to focus. I ran three legs, and here are the recaps of each:

Run #1 (Leg 3) - 3:45 PM Friday
My Garmin says that this run was 4.4 miles and that I ran an average of 6:50 pace. Obviously, my Garmin is on crack. That's all wrong. Sorry to people who thought I mysteriously got super fast. The ACTUAL numbers for this run were : 3.93 miles, 29:12 and a 7:25 average pace. It was gorgeous, paved roads and, um...straight downhill. Damn. I was hoping to avoid that detail. Yes, it was the perfect gradual incline at the perfect temperature and is undoubtedly the fastest I will run ever. And holy crap it felt so amazing. If all running felt like this, I would do it all day, every day.




Run #2 (Leg 15) - 1:30 AM Saturday
This run was right outside of Portland and was the one that scared me the most. For starters, it began at 1:30 AM. Anyone who knows me should realize that A) I am never even awake at that time, and B) If I am awake, I'm sure as hell not running. Luckily, adrenaline kicked in and helped me through. I did, however, have a minor battle with the reflective vest I wore, which scraped me up pretty badly. Other than that, it was fantastic. I couldn't really see my pace on the Garmin in the dark, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out at the result was 7.24 miles in 1:01:59, for an average pace of 8:32 I have to say that at this point, my legs didn't really hurt like I was expecting them to. The terrain was rolling hills, but it never really was a problem.

Run #3 (Leg 27) - 11 AM Saturday
So here's where things got interesting. At this point, I had slept sitting up in the van for about 2 hours, and I was exhausted. And feeling a little "off", stomach-wise. I ate some Pepto Bismol and told myself to just shut up and deal with it. Unfortunately, just stepping in and out of the van was challenging around this point. The course was rural and beautiful though, and I just kept on keeping on until the end. Total miles: 5.6 in 51 minutes for a 9:06 pace. I swear I was sprinting to the finish, but it may have been something closer to 10 minute miles. Whatever. Details.

Well, there you go. I swear, it seemed longer than that in person.

I know part of the process is thanking people for the swag. And man, was there some swag.



I can't even handle that right now, but I will say that a) nuun rocks my socks off, b) Tiger Tail is better than the Stick (in my honest opinion) and c) Sparkle Skirts may seem silly, but they aren't annoying and they did a great job of keeping us noticeable and looking like a team. Will I go buy myself the whole rainbow to wear for races? Nope. But I sort of, kind of loved them for this event. Sssshh. Don't go telling anyone and ruining my hardcore cred. (P.S. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA I'm not even the tiniest bit hardcore, nor do I have anything resembling this so called "cred" that gets spoken of.)

Cliffnotes Version: I ran Hood to Coast. I love nuun. I got swag. I made friends. I wore a sparkly skirt and liked it. I toured Washington/Oregon in a van and visited 5+ Starbucks destinations in 3 days. I had the time of my life. 



Have you ever done a relay? Do you ever plan to?
More importantly, who wants to invite me to join their team? I bring good snacks and sing "Call Me Maybe" loudly on a regular basis. How could you NOT want 36 hours of that?

Sparkle skirts. Discuss.
First response: gag me with a spoon. 
Second response: no seriously, gag me. 
After trying one on: hmm...these are kind of cute, I guess. 
After running first leg: yep, love the skirts. Feel pretty. Need a tiara to complete the look
After running third leg: f'in skirt. No more. 
Overall verdict: Fun accessory for a team run or a themed run. They make you stand out and get noticed, if that's what you are after. After 36 hours, you will probably hate it. 

49 comments:

  1. Sounds like an awesome experience!! I definitely want to do a relay someday!

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  2. Looked like a great event and an even better experience...cant wait to see some videos!

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  3. HOW FREAKIN' COOL IS THIS! So proud of all you have accomplished and continue to do each day! Rock on lady!

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  4. Sooooo glad you had a great experience. You look like you are absolutely flying in those running photos!

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  5. OMG TIME OF MY LIFE! Check

    I LOVE NUUN! Check

    MY TEAM WAS SOOOO AWESOME! Check

    SPARKLE SKIRTS ARE SO CUTE! Check

    Yep, you had the full experience. Well done.

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  6. You don't have to apologize for having a good time! I'm sure everyone is super duper lovely. Thank you for keeping the recap blissfully short.

    Don't you know, the reason it is tiresome for non-participants to read this stuff is because it's obviously a wonderful time in which you get a ton of free stuff. We're just sitting at home without a bunch of schwag reading about it, SO GOOD FOR ALL OF YOU LUCKY BUTTS. Love free stuff, love good times, love running friends, probably still will never buy Nuun ;)

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  7. So glad to hear that you had a blast! You were speedy on all of your legs but you have running like crazy lately so I am not at all surprised! Looks like an event that every blogger should add to their bucket list!

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  8. I'm glad it was everything you hoped it would be! :)

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  9. What a great recap- made me giggle! Congrats on your runs too.
    I have never done a relay - maybe one day!
    Not a fan of skirts...would take a lot to convince me to wear one ;)

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  10. I followed along on twitter with all the gals that ran with you, it sounded like a blast! I have to say I am a little jealous of all the cool Nuun swag! And I would never consider wearing a sparkle skirt but I am definitely considering it now! Yall all looked so cute!

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  11. Im running Reach The Beach Relay in NJ in October! I'm super excited!! We actually have one spot open if you are interested ;)

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  12. I think I'd only wear the sparkle skirt doing a 5k with my sis, hehe.

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  13. Youre the cutest thing ever. Besiiiiiides my child, obvi. Congrats! Love the sparkle skirts on y'all!

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  14. So glad you had the experience of a lifetime. That is what it is all about.

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  15. YOU ROCKED IT! Way to go! I thought it was funny how a ton of people were VERY confused because they thought we were all on one team and we just seemed to be EVERYWHERE in our skirts!!

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  16. I was going to do one of those races, but it landed on the day my girl friend got married...hopefully next year! I'd be on your team :)

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  17. SO GOOD to meet you VANESSA! I like how you recapped your legs with times, etc--I think I lost track of the time of day/night that I ran! I echo your thoughts on the 3rd leg--tummy, not okay.

    How about Team Name, "We eat in between legs"? That one might rival the Third Leg is the Hardest! :)

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  18. Yay!! You survived it! Even in the sparkle skirt. :)

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  19. I love it! Loved meeting you and in a blog/don't really know you kind of way, I really like you. :) My feelings exactly on the sparkle skirt. From beginning to end. Will I wear it again? Probably not...but I will if I'm on a team of women that are all wearing it...then it is fun. :) You did such an awesome job and sounds like you were on a GREAT van/team! So glad you had a good time too. Wish I would have had more of an opportunity to talk to you but maybe I'll catch up with you when/if we move to Asheville.

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  20. I love this post! you made me laugh...the skirt...ha! and mine was PINK!...I feel the same as you on the skirt topic..I am so so happy we were in the same van. We did have a good van. I have many great pics of you to share!

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  21. Congrats, glad you had a good time!

    Uh, hate sparkle skirts. So much.

    Can you answer a Nuun question? Why do the "all day" ones taste like multi-vitamins? That made me very sad this weekend. I do like the regular flavors, but those ones are odd.

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    1. Confession: I haven't tried an all-day nuun flavor yet that I like much. I guess it's just personal, but they remind me of those Emergen-C packets you can buy and mix with water? Anyway, they definitely aren't as sweet. I like the sweet nuun flavors like Kona Cola, Lemon-Lime and Lemon Tea!

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  22. Way to be a speed demon on your legs! Glad you had a great race.

    I can't say that I would ever wear a sparkle skirt unless it was somehow a part of a costume, but then, that's kind of what you guys were doing, right?

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    1. As opposed to a speed demon on her hands?

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  23. Of all the recaps I've read, yours is my favorite. Mostly because it was short & sweet. Good job on each of your legs! I'm impressed.

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  24. I think you should stick with your Garmin time for leg 1 :)
    I'm so glad you had a great time. I think Hood to Coast sounds like a really fun experience - sparkle skirt and all. Would I buy one for myself? Heck no. Would I wear one as a part of a costume or team 'uniform'? Of course. But I think it would get annoying pretty quickly.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the experience and that the other shoe never dropped!

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  25. I am so jealous, Hood to Coast is definitely on my to-do list!

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  26. i need to learn to do awesome concise recaps like yourself. I'm glad you have your first relay under your belt--- stomach issues are NO JOKE, but generally bound to happen to everyone.

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  27. so great meeting you in person-and THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your help on sunday. i’m glad the trip was better than you expected and that you liked the skirt!

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  28. It looks like you had an amazing time!

    And that vest. Yikes. I would definitely be scrapped up and bleeding from that thing!

    I'm glad you had the time of your life! :)

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  29. OMG - I like my third leg hard was also my favorite van name!!! Loved it. As I rolled out of Seaside on Sunday morning, they were the last van I passed before I headed to Seattle. :-) Classic. I also liked "D run K" - they were passing out beer in the last field after van 1 finished.

    And, I'm almost positive that I saw you guys - or, I saw people wearing the sequined skirts, at least. What time did you guys finish?

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  30. Sounds like a great adventure. I know what you mean about feeling like you were sprinting at the end but I'd say it sounds like an overall good couple of days of running!

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  31. There were actually three different nuun teams - so 6 vans! But we all started/ended around the same time. Started at 2:15 and ended at 6:45PM for my team! D run K was good too, you're right!

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  32. Heck Yes!!! I am going to buy the green sparkle skirt for the Publix GA 1/2 on St Patty's day 2013!!! You won't be able to miss me!!

    Did you meet TMB from racing with babes? Her and G from Neurosis of a stay at home marathoner of 3 are my running heroes. I aspire to be an endurance athlete like them and they completely rock!

    I don't think I could run a relay, even HTC, I can't function on little sleep and crap food. My brother ran Ragnar PNW the last two years and had a blast. He's younger than me and a bachelor. Just sayin'.

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  33. Yes, I met Tonia from Racing WIth Babes! I already knew she was an incredible runner, but she is also super energetic and FUNNY! I did a scavenger hunt with her around Seattle and she even caught (and kissed) a fish at Pike's Market!

    I do not function on lack of sleep and bad food, honestly, but the adrenaline just kicks in at some point and gets you through!

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  34. Awesome! Sounds like so much fun but I am pretty sure I will never do a relay. I enjoy sleeping in my own bed too much. But it is fun to read the recaps!

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  35. I love your mid-air photo from Run #1!

    Have you seen the documentary Hood To Coast? It looks like a very awesome race.

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  36. Looks like so much fun - congrats! I've never done a relay, but would love to and I actually like the sparkle skirts :)

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  37. Did a mini relay once it was at midnight for 8 hours 5 people I did 9 mi so no where near as hard, and say HELL to the NO!! But more power to you if you aren't grumpy in that kind of situation :-) Sparkly skirts prob not but I have nothing against them I've worn other stuff in the same spirit..

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  38. Sounds like an awesome time!!:) I would love to do a relay one of these days and I do own a sparkle skirt and have fun wearing it once in a while. :)

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  39. Way to go on that amazing speed! Especially at 1:30 am, very impressive. Glad you had such a wonderful time! Now I'm super psyched for Ragnar. We still have a spot on our team if you want a repeat! No sparkle skirts though.

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  40. Hahahah you are a speed demon, AND you are hardcore. I said it. I would love to do this kind of relay! I love that you end up actually hanging out with the other people in the relay, instead of seeing them at the end of their run and the end of your run. And, um... that skirt is hot.

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  41. This looks like the best time ever!! I loved seeing the updates people were posting on Instagram. I'd love to do a relay like this someday. I always wondered if they opened them up to Canadians too because...well...be always get excluded from fun things. Aaaand you are super fast, Vanessa! I am so impressed with you times! Way to go :)

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  42. Looks like so much fun!!!! holy fast legs ;) and I am so glad you discussed the skirt - I was thinking "Gourmet Runner! Skirt?!?! WHAT?!" I do agree that I'd probably wear one for an event. However I am not normally a fan of looking like I belong in the 80's while I run ;) you pulled it off though!

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  43. Just fuckin' sparkle me, baby!

    LOL. I can't believe we wore the fucking skirts!

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  44. I was waiting to see these sparkle skirts! They don't look so bad, although I am the same as you...I think they are cute on other people. Period.

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  45. Sounds like it was an amazing experience and now I'll be singing "Call Me Maybe" for the rest of the day!

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  46. Vanessa! You did such a great job at HTC! And I'm so glad you joined Twitter. I wish we had got to spend more time together over on the west coast since you were the only person I actually knew in real life. But great runs and a great time! I'm so glad you got to be a part of the team!

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