Friday, September 3, 2010

Hood to Coast Race Report

After about a 2.5 hour drive from our condo in Seaside to the start of Hood to Coast in Mt. Hood, I was anxious & excited to start running my legs of the race last Friday afternoon. I was Leg 3, which means I was running legs 3, 15, and 27. My first leg, leg 3, was my shortest and easiest leg of the race. It was only 3.93 mi of easy downhill but I knew that if I ran too hard, my legs would hate me for it later. It seems like running downhill would be a piece of cake and for the most part it is, but it really does trash your quads pretty quickly.

I started leg 3 at about 2:15 PM after only eating some eggs at 6:00 AM for breakfast and some trail mix at about 1:00 PM. I knew the only issue that might arise during the course of the relay would be with my stomach. I usually can't eat within 4-5 hours of running and to be honest, that's why I like to get up so early in the morning to run. I am completely fine with running on an empty stomach at 5:00 AM and the only time I will eat before I run is before a marathon.

Splits for Leg 3
Mile 1: 7:01
Mile 2: 7:16 (I was afraid I was starting out too fast but I wasn't even breathing heavy at all)
Mile 3: 7:06
Mile 0.93: 6:10

Total Time: 27:30
Average Pace: 7:04
I felt great during this leg and had just a little bit of leg fatigue afterwards, but like I said, I wasn't even breathing heavy at all and these splits would normally be pretty fast for me, obviously it was the downhill.

Giving a fist pump as Van 1 drove by to cheer me on

Sprinting in to the exchange zone

As soon as I got back in the van, I chowed down on a Voodoo doughnut. I know, not the best post-run snack but I was starving and it sounded delicious. Once our #6 runner passed off to runner #7 (first runner in van 2), we were able to relax for about 4-5 hours until we would have to run again. By this time, it was early evening and time for dinner so we stopped at Subway real quick for some food and then headed to downtown Portland for the van exchange.

I ran Leg 15 a little before midnight. I wasn't tired yet, physically or mentally, but I knew my quads would be screaming after this leg. I had 7.25 mi of hard, rolling hills in the dark along the side of the highway but I was ready to go in my reflective vest, headlamp, and flashing lights. I was surprised how fast I went through the first mile because my legs were a bit stiff from sitting in the van for hours on end. I started to pick people off and around mile 3 I caught up with a woman who had the same pace as me. We started talking and pushing each other which was a welcome relief. The time flew by and I'm not sure I would've run that fast without her. I also think running in the dark for this leg helped because I couldn't actually see how big the hills were I was running up and when the next one was coming so I couldn't psych myself out.

Splits for Leg 15

Mile 1: 7:56 (Nice work!)
Mile 2: 8:07
Mile 3: 7:58
Mile 4: 7:53 (Keep pushing the pace with this woman)
Mile 5: 7:51
Mile 6: 8:08
Mile 7: 8:01 (Kick it all the way to the exchange)
Mile 0.25: 1:58

Total Time: 57:53
Average Pace: 7:59

I was ecstatic I ran under 8:00 min pace for this leg but I was hoping to get some bounce back in my step before my last leg. I grabbed a quick granola bar to eat and quickly hopped in the van to change out of my clothes and cheer on our next runner. Once we exchanged with van 2 again, we headed to an empty field with other vans to park and sleep for a couple hours. I slept from 4:00-6:00 AM and then we were off for our last legs of the race. I didn't eat after I woke up because my stomach really started to bother me after my last leg and I didn't want to make it worse. Luckily after my last leg, it felt fine and didn't give my any more problems.

I started running my last leg, Leg 27, at around 8:30 AM. The weather had cooled down significantly over night and I was chilly in a shorts and a long sleeve shirt. This leg called for 5.97 mi of medium, rolling hills. Since my last leg was described as harder, I thought this leg would be a lot easier but I somehow didn't take into account that I'd already run 11 miles of hills on only 2 hours of sleep. My legs were dead and I was tired.

Splits for Leg 27

Mile 1: 7:53
Mile 2: 8:02
Mile 3: 8:04 (How am I still going this fast?)
Mile 4: 8:14
Mile 5: 8:19 (Oh wait, now I feel like I'm barely running up this last hill)
Mile 0.97: 7:37 (and I'm DONE!)

Total Time: 48:09
Average Pace: 8:04

Quads dead....check
Body tired....check
One of the best experiences ever....check

Coming into my last exchange zone

Catching my breath after my last leg....I look really tired

As a team, The Honeybucket Harriers finished 272 out of 1038 in a total time of 27:07, which was 2 hrs faster than our predicted time. I didn't think I'd average 7:50 pace for my 17 miles and am very happy with how I did individually. It was an amazing time and nothing I've ever done quite compares. I would gladly do it again every year if I could.

Honeybucket Harriers crossing the finish line in Seaside


marathonmaiden said...

love the pics. i don't think youre looking tired in the last few: you definitely were looking strong :)

Lindsey said...

what an awesome accomplishment! congrats Jenny!