Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 1-3: Hood to Coast

I arrived in Portland, Oregon last Thursday a little before noon and waited at the airport for a few of my other Hood to Coast teammates. After we picked up our SUVs for the race, we headed to Voodoo Doughnuts near downtown Portland for some pre-race fuel. Voodoo Doughnuts was on the Travel Channel's Man vs. Food a couple years ago and is pretty well-known so it should come to no surprise that we stood in line for over an hour.

Outside Voodoo Doughnuts

Display case in the bakery
The Tex-Ass doughnut & Bacon Maple Bar

Enough sugar to get us through our 197 mile race the next day
I got the Old Dirty Bastard--glazed doughnut with chocolate icing, Oreo pieces, and peanut butter

After our stop at Voodoo Doughnuts, we headed out to Seaside, Oregon on the coast where we were staying the night on Thursday night as well as Saturday night when we finished the race.

The view of the finish line of Hood to Coast from our condo

We waited for the rest of our teammates to arrive and then headed out to a local grocery store to pick up ingredients for a pasta dinner that night as well as breakfast burritos for the next morning. After an evening of carb loading and getting to know each other (most of us only knew a couple people on the team), we headed to bed because we had an early wake up call on Friday morning.

We had to leave around 7:00 AM on Friday morning, which meant getting up around 5:30 AM. I was still not on West Coast time yet so I was pretty tired when I woke up. We quickly ate breakfast and packed up the 2 SUVs (12 people on a team, 6 in each SUV) so we could drive 2 hours back to Portland and on to Mt. Hood. We stopped at a grocery store about 30 miles from Mt. Hood to stock up on some food and drinks for the race as well to decorate our SUVs. The parking lot of the grocery store was actually the first exchange between van 1 and van 2 of the relay and since some teams had an earlier start time than us, by the time we got there, the race had already started and some teams were already handing off to their second van.

Sign at the grocery store

Another team's van decorated

Honeybucket Harriers Van 1 decorated....we even included rolls of toilet paper on the back because like it says, $#!t happens and well, we are named after the porta potties along the course
Van 2 decorated & ready to roll
As we drove the 30 miles to the start of the race, I was getting really excited and anxious to get started. We were able to see the earlier runners heading down from the start and I couldn't wait to begin running.

Starting line at Mt. Hood

197 miles to go
The Honeybucket Harriers
The ladies on the team

Top of Mt. Hood in the background Honeybucket Harriers at the start
At 12:45 PM, our leg #1 runner started us off with about 20 other teams

Another van decorated at one of the first exchanges, it was an all woman team so they had lingerie hanging all over the van

Everyone waiting for their runner to come in Helen doing us proud with toilet paper tucked into her shoes
Ben passing off the "baton" (it was more or less a slap bracelet, remember those?) to Helen for leg #5
It was crazy to think we had just run from Mt. Hood in the background.....and yes, we were literally running along the shoulder of the highway as cars & semis flew by Jay finishing up leg #6, passing the bracelet to Geri, and letting van #1 take a rest for about 5 hours as van #2 took over
Since I was in van 1, we had 6 people in our SUV and we ran the first 6 legs of the race. Our #6 runner would pass off the bracelet to our #7 runner who was the first runner of van 2. While the other van was running their 6 legs, we were able to drive ahead to the next van exchange, usually about 30 miles away, eat, and rest until it was our turn again. Since we started the race, we ran from about 12:45 PM to 5:30 PM, again from 10:00 PM to 3:00 AM, and one more time from 7:30 AM to 11:30 AM. Anyone that ran from 6:00 PM to 7:00 AM had to run with a reflective vest, headlamp, and 2 flashing lights (one on the front and one on the back). I ended up running my 3 legs at 2:15 PM, 11:45 PM, and 8:30 AM. After we exchanged from van 1 to van 2 at 3:00 AM, we headed down the road to a local high school that was hosting a pancake breakfast for the runners. It was definitely weird to be sitting in the lobby of a high school at 3:00 AM eating breakfast (although I didn't actually eat because my stomach was bothering me). We finally got some sleep from 4:00-6:00 AM before starting our last leg.

One of the exchange zones in the morning had coffee and breakfast for runners (notice the porta potties on the left, those are the Honeybuckets)

After we finished our last leg around 11:30 AM, we drove back to Seaside for the finish. Since we still had to wait for van 2 to finish, we were able to go to the condo, shower up, and actually eat some real food. Our last runner had a timing chip on her shoe so once she crossed the official finish line, they corraled the rest of our team up so we could cross the finish line together.

After party on the beach

More of the after party
Finish Line
Honeybucket Harriers proudly wearing our team shirts after crossing the finish

My bib, medal, and water bottle

We officially finished the race in 27:07 (yes, 27 hours!) and finished 272 out of about 1000 teams. The rest of the night was spent eating pizza, drinking, and hanging out on the beach at the after party. Despite the fact that I only knew 1 person on the team going into the race, I had a blast and would do it again in a heartbeat. It was an incredible experience and one of those things that you can't really explain to someone unless they've done it themselves.

Since this was just a brief overview of the race, I'm going to do an official race report in the next few days with my actual legs of the race and more details about the course so stay tuned.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

looks like the race was a success! i've never done a relay before but it looks very challenging and very rewarding