After two amazing days in Seattle, it was finally here! Friday morning was the day that I have been waiting for since April when I found that I would be a part of this journey.
Despite being exhausted after the previous days’ adventures, my sleep was less than ideal. In fact, all of my roommates seemed to be tossing and turning all night, in anticipation of the excitement that was waiting for us!
Needless to say, once again we were all bouncing out of bed well before we needed to (who am I?). After some packing and one final glorious shower, it was time to hit the road.
Nuun had 3 “Afternuun Delight” teams for Hood-to-Coast: Team Morning, Noon and Night. I was on Team Morning in Van 1 with Jess, Nuun Organizer-Extraordinaire Caitlin, Nicole, Stephanie, Tricia and the best-driver-ever, Jay (who became “Twitterized” at about hour 10 of the relay :)).
We were full of anticipation as we hit the road to Mt. Hood. It was a long drive, but we broke it up with van chatter and, of course, about 5 different stops for food, bathrooms, etc. Starbucks anyone?
This was also about the time that “Team Brunch” (Teams Morning and Noon) was formed. Van 1 from both teams stayed together on the drive and then by sheer luck, ended up being super close for most of the relay. The absolute best thing about this is that I felt like I had the chance to really get to know another 6 people (plus their awesome driver, Nuun CFO, Casey) in addition to those in my van. Plus, the cheering at every exchange was taken to another level since there were double the teammates!
The closer we got to Mt. Hood, the more excited I was. I was bursting with energy and itching to start running. Once we finally arrived, I was blown away at how beautiful it was.
We got checked in, porta-pottied and then completed the important task of getting everyone tatted up!
A few final pics before the start!
And FINALLY, FINALLY…it was time to run! Tricia kicked it off for Team Morning on leg 1 and then we headed down to the first exchange. I was runner #2 and I am not exaggerating when I say that I have never been more excited to run in my life. My adrenaline was through the roof and I felt like I could jump out of my skin.
Steph got a kick out of watching (and documenting) Jess take Nicole and I through some dynamic stretching. I was just excited to have any distraction from waiting!
A quick pose with my fellow leg 2 runner from Team Night, Lauren, before she sped off to a crazy-fast sub-6:00 min/mile run!
Then Tricia finished her extremely downhill leg super strong and passed the “baton” (i.e. slap bracelet) to me and at 3:27 p.m. and I was finally running…
From the second I took off, I could not wipe the smile off of my face. My legs felt strong and fast and I ignored my Garmin and just RAN. I have never felt so carefree, ever.
When the vans passed me, I had a few more bursts of adrenaline and felt myself picking the pace. Every corner I rounded, there was a more beautiful view and with every step, I felt more grateful for this opportunity. All I could think about was just how lucky I was to be running down this mountain, in the Mother of All Relays, representing a company that I strongly believe in and am very passionate about.
My words can not do justice to the excitement and happiness that I had during that run. I wanted to savor every minute of it and not take one single second for granted.
I know I had a ridiculous grin on my face the whole time. Ahem, proof…Only, only to show you how crazy happy I was would I share this awful picture…
After what seemed like no time at all, I could suddenly hear people cheering and see the exchange area. I was a little confused because I thought I still had about 1/3 of a mile left, but once I realized I was done, I opened it up and tried to push as hard as I could into the finish where I handed off to Steph for leg #3.
Leg 1 Results: 5.33 miles, 35:47, 6:43 min/mile
Because the whole leg was downhill, I never really felt fatigued during the run. After about 4 1/2 miles, my legs were screaming a little about all the downhill pounding, but for the most part, I just felt like I was floating and could have kept running forever.
So how all that downhill running feel later that evening on my 2nd run? Did I trash my quads by running downhill faster than I ever have in my life? Stay tuned for leg #2….