Just when you thought the HTC posts were almost done, here I come to bombard you with *finally* finishing mine. As suggested by the lovely Caroline and a few others, I am going to proudly be the 30th blogger to post my recap and I hope you all enjoy seeing the race from my perspective!
When we last left off, I had just finished my first leg and handed off to Steph. She took off on a killer sub-8:00 leg and I walked around, stretched and enjoyed the runner/relay/racing high that I was feeling after leg #1.
Kelly and I found a cheerleader that NEEDED some Nuun Love.
The tattoo even matched
his her outfit!
I eventually Shower Pill‘ed and changed (you are welcome, vanmates), then spent the next few hours cheering for my teammates as each of them rocked their first legs. Around 5:30ish, we made it to the major exchange where we were finally reunited with all of the Van 2′s.
After being away from them the whole day, it was really fun to catch up and here about their experiences so far. We did a lot of hugging and story-telling and before we knew it, we were waiting to cheer all of the final van 1 runners into the exchange.
Team Morning runner, Nicole, finished strong, and passed off to Erin…
And the stellar Team Morning Van 2 took over the running for the next 6 or so hours.
Everyone in our van was hungry and a little worn out, so after a quick stop to get gas, we teamed back up with Team Noon’s van 1 and headed to Portland to find food. We ended up at a little local bar, very uniquely named, Portland Sports Bar & Grille.
I opted for a veggie burger and a salad, but the “house” dressing for the salad was basically an entire clove of garlic minced into one tablespoon of dressing. I walked out of there feeling like I was breathing fire. THANK GOODNESS someone from our van (Nicole?) brought wisps (have you heard of them?! Magical little dry toothbrushes.) and we all did our best to fight the garlic stench.
Even Driver Jay got in on the action…
Around 11 p.m. or so we made it to the next major exchange, in downtown Portland, where we all kind of just rested in the van for a little while. At this point, I knew it wouldn’t be beneficial for me to sleep, so I tried to relax and not think too much about my next leg.
It was a long walk up to the runner exchange point, so after a little bit of downtime, we made our way over, thinking we had PLENTY of time before Marjorie would finish her leg and hand off to Tricia, tagging us in again. We were hanging out and chatting with our Team Noon friends, as they waited for Lindsay to finish her leg and all of a sudden I heard a volunteer yell “#48″, “#48″. I thought for a second, then yelled to Tricia…”THAT’S US!!!” She was flustered, but recovered quickly and ran over to grab the bracelet from Marjorie and take off. Unfortunately, this confusion ended up being really bad luck for Tricia…but I will let her tell you that story in her own words.
After the confusion, I was super anxious to get to the next exchange so I could get ready to run. Tricia’s leg was only a little over 3 miles and I knew I wouldn’t have much time to prepare. I was probably a little bossy as I was trying to round up our van (sorry friends!)…and I still feel bad for making Nicole leave when she really wanted to wait to cheer for her running buddy, Lindsay (who got lost for an extra mile!).
We ended up making it to the next exchange very quickly so I had time to use the honey buckets (yes!) and get all ready to go. I was a little nervous and definitely wasn’t feeling the adrenaline and excitement that I had earlier. Thankfully Molly and Sarah entertained me while we waited…
And when I saw Tricia coming in to the exchange, a surge of race-ready adrenaline FINALLY hit and suddenly I felt myself get excited to run.
At 12:52 a.m. I was headed off on my 2nd leg.
I took off quickly, seeing 6:XX on my watch after about 1/4 of a mile, but I quickly reeled that in and tried to settle into a challenging but maintainable pace. But I wasn’t even a mile into the 6.1 mile run before I realized that my legs were tired. Despite having that floating “I could run forever feeling” during my first leg, I had given much more than I thought I did to run fast downhill and my legs were definitely feeling it.
I got passed about 1/2 a mile in, (by a runner whose van screamed “road kill” at me as he came by), and after that there wasn’t another runner anywhere in sight. It was dark, lonely and I found myself constantly looking at my watch. When it beeped at mile 1, I felt like I had been running for a really.long.time. The leg was ranked as “easy” and the terrain map had looked really flat, but I felt like I was running uphill the whole way. I pushed to try to keep my pace in the 7:3X range and I was able to do it, but with what felt like WAY too much effort. My legs continued to feel heavier and heavier and I knew that this run was going to be a real mental challenge.
Around mile 2 my right shoe came untied. I was thankful that my watch was (for once) not set to auto-pause so I was able to see that I lost about 40 seconds or so in my fumbling around to get it tied. I picked up the pace to make up the time and get back to the 7:30-range, with my only thought being that I wanted to push as hard as I could for my team.
That began to be my only focus – getting to that exchange for my TEAM. I was really, really scared for how I would ever be able to run another leg after this, but I decided at that point to ignore that and to treat this leg like its own race. I was going to give everything I had and figure the rest out later.
Around mile 4 my left shoe came untied. This time I got it tied in about 15 seconds and continued on. Then finally around mile 4.5, I got a little second wind (I actually think I probably hit a slight decline too). I came out of that dark hole that focused on how much I was hurting and reminded myself that I was running HOOD-TO-COAST. With TEAM NUUN. And that I was the freaking luckiest person ever. The last 1.6 miles or so went by much faster and eventually I could see the lights of the exchange.
As I came in, I could here a few brave souls who got out of the van cheering for me. The flood lights were blinding, but eventually I saw Steph and was more than happy to pass the baton (slap bracelet) on to her.
I was so, so happy to be done.
As I walked back toward the group. The only thing I remember is Casey (Nuun CFO) saying “You killed it! How was it?” And I looked at him and said “That was really hard.”
Leg 2 Results: 6.08 miles, 46:08, 7:35 min/mile
I was very happy with the results of the run. I was proud that I pushed through, even when it hurt, but I really wish that I would have been able to be in the moment. Sure it was dark and most of the run was in a not-very-nice industrial area of Portland, but I run in the dark all of the time in less than exciting areas. I usually love the solitude of being in my own thoughts and just enjoying the run itself. I suppose there is just something about that 2nd leg of a relay that really changes the game. Also, I have to admit that it was comforting to see that Lauren had a similar experience on this same leg after having a fantastic first leg. (Sorry Lauren! I wish you would have LOVED your second leg :))
So, did treating this run as its own race come back to haunt me? Or did I recover in time to have a great 3rd leg? I will be back with leg #3 soon! (I swear it won’t take 2 weeks this time!)