One of the differences between running Hood to Coast with Nuun Hydration this year and last was our start time. Last year's Nuun teams started simultaneously at 12:30 in the afternoon. This year the teams were stagger-started... 2:15, 2:30, and 2:45. This seemed to impact things in several ways...fueling, rest, running attire, sense of competition ... all of which had trickle-down effects on things like...attitude.
Like last year, Van 2 began its first set of running in the early evening and ended up finishing that set at the reasonable hour of 10 pm. This year, however, I finished us up just this side of midnight. Just in case you weren't aware of this fact, midnight feels a lot later than 10 o'clock! Eating at 10, cleaning up and then falling 'asleep' around midnight feels more normal than shifting all of that 2 hours later.
The upside for me? I fell asleep a little more quickly than last year.
The upside for the rest of the team? The sun actually came up during our first runner's second stint.
With a 12:30 afternoon start time, Runner #7 on a team of our relative speed would be running her second leg at around 3 in the morning. Unnatural! So lucky Erin got to start around 5. Way more normal :P Similar to last year, I was a zombie. Those early morning hours are excruciating for me and always have been. I have no idea how I survived as a rower.
It was very interesting to get to actually see this part of the course (we couldn't last year). There was enough light from the moment Erin started that we could make out the insane 'rolling' hills. They pretty much looked to me like they just kept going up. Twisty-turny road and continual climbing in semi-darkness...every turn putting you right at the base of yet another UPhill when you really just want to be in a cozy bed. Like a f*cking nightmare. But Erin was out there, relentless...undaunted. And the sun was steadily rising on a clear and gorgeous day as we met her at the transition...
Erin (with huge smile plastered on her lovely face): That was so cool! I heard THREE roosters crowing!
wish I had a picture :(
Next up was Elizabeth...who would be climbing the scary, dusty, gravel mountain in broad daylight. I remember vividly watching Kim run this beast in the darkest hours of the night. The billowing dust, the red brake lights...it was truly surreal. Seeing it was mind-blowing. First of all, in early morning sunlight it was gorgeous. Forest, pastures...blue sky, sun rising. And then seeing the gravelly, dusty roadbed. And then realizing that the climb was massive. Hard to say whether it would suck more being able to see it all in the light or to be blindly forging onward in the dark. I think I'd prefer the light in the hopes that the natural beauty might distract me.
This girl killed it.
beyond happy to be done!
Still on gravel, Katie took the slappy bracelet and headed out. She cranked through this leg, probably relieved to have a not-super-long leg sandwiched in between two doozies...who cares if it's on gravel and cold out?
Don't be too happy, Katie...
you still have a nut-buster of a 7.something-miler to do later today ;-)
okay, that was harsh...but true
Runner #10, our wounded warrior was ready to do what she could...in the immortal words of Tony Horton, she was ready to "do her best and leave the rest"...which is all anyone can ever ask of someone. I was really worried about her doing serious damage to her leg, but the 9+ hours since her last run had been spent resting/icing/compressing/elevating as best one can in a van, and she said she was wanting to see what she had. So strong and so beautiful, Amanda hit the road...
Where is everyone? It's gorgeous out here!
(more on this later...)
WooHOOOOO! Amanda the Brave!
I have to say it was quite a challenge to follow two super speedy chicks, I found myself needing to get ready for my starts three people ahead of myself instead of as the person in front of me jumped out. When I say super speedy, I mean it...I swear Jennifer's predicted times on these first two 4-mile-ish legs were something insane like 25 minutes. F.A.S.T. We'd drop her off at her start and immediately go to our hand-off and I'd barely have time to pee at the Honey Bucket let alone do something more.
She didn't need the magical Tough Chik rainbow arm warmers
or the pixie-dusted golden sparkly skirt to run this leg at 6:25/mile average pace...
I know this because she had on neither when she held a similar pace on her other three legs.
I had just enough time to strike my SparkleCheerleader Barbie pose before Jennifer came blazing into the chute, and I was on my way...Leg 24...my second run in less than 12 hours. How was my body going to handle this? I decided to try my same plan that I used so successfully for that first leg: Heart rate around 145-150 for the body. Ummm...yeah....so.... hmmmmmmm.... Not so sure why it wasn't happening. I was pretty stuck right at 140. The road was a very slight net downhill but very, very canted. It hurt. I got passed by a few speedsters. And I passed one person. (OOOOOooooo, roadkill!) But the tilted roadbed was hurting. I kept reminding myself to keep my core tight...to keep the glutes firing...to not overstride...to relax (you can see by how high my shoulders are that the 'relax' reminder wasn't really working :P)...keep the step feeling quick and light... But still I was just stuck in this lackluster, painful place. I gutted it out as best I could. I seriously struggled with maintaining mental aggression, and I just couldn't get the leg turnover up. For the last 3 miles of this leg, I was all alone...which was rough in a way. At least I can say that I gave a consistent effort and felt like death at the end even if all by my lonesome!
...and heeeeeeere comes trouble.
Tricia was standing in the middle of the road so I wouldn't miss her this time. And I didn't :)
I missed this with my Team Noon Runner #12 counterpart at the end...
Not a staged photo.
Lindsay and I are spazzes.
Let's try that again...
Okay...this time we got it.
And I look like a man.
How can I be smiling so broadly when I just struggled in feeling like death on a lopsided platter? Well, because I did it. I did my best. And it was fun.
Stats for Leg 24:
Finish time... 42:22
official distance... 4.93 miles (avg pace 8:35)
garmin says... 4.86 miles (avg pace 8:44)
Other Hood to Coast 2012 posts:
Gratitude...Nuun, you are awesome :)
Clueless in Seattle
Don't Be A Hater
The Don't Run, Run Faster Training Plan