Top of Mt. Hood. The Race is On!
Yeah I've been MIA, but my bad ass is back from Oregon's Hood to Coast Relay with stories to tell!!!! My first story is this:
12 team members (Team Strands/Puma Cats)
21 hours, 37 minutes
30th place out of 1,004 teams
6:33 minute/mile avg pace
That's right. Go back and re-read it if you have to. I am going to milk those stats like nobody's business because this is the only time in my life I will have anywhere close to these bragging rights. I will have you know, I am personally responsible for bringing the min/mile average up (that sounds like it's a good thing, but "up" is definitely NOT a good thing in this situation). I'm glad my team mates all ran 5 min/miles so I could do my 7:30s and we could come away with a decent overall average.
For me 7:30 min/miles is phenomenal but when you're on a team with these ridiculous athletes, you kinda lose perspective. I thought to myself: shit what is wrong with me? I should be able to run 5 minute miles. It can't be that hard! I am such a loser. Again, you lose perspective over 21 hours and no sleep and a smelly van and elite athletes and too many Cliff Bars and no coffee and one too many porta potties that smell like the inside of someone's crotch.
My second story is: I did not defecate by the side of the road or in my pants. I did not have sharting or extreme farting in the van. In fact, I didn't poop for three days. When the race was done and we were in Portland drinking strong draft beer, things started moving through. I left some nice turd balls at Henry's in Portland.
So the experience!!! Chance of a lifetime. If I had not won this contest I would never find myself in a position like this. I can't thank http://www.strands.com/ enough for taking me along. If you haven't signed up with them on their social network/running/biking/fitness site you should. It was seriously like being transported into someone else's life.
We arrived to Portland and to meet up with our Puma team. We're given at least $400 worth of gear each including new training shoes, running jackets, running pants, tech shirts, t shirts, shorts, singlets, water bottles, etc. Because Ken and I are goofy this way we go back to our room and add up how much it's all worth cause the price tags are still on. Then we model it for each other. We keep looking at each other saying, "we are way out of our league." But it's fun anyway.
Next day we get in our vans and head up to Mt. Hood. Our team mates are studs. One runs for New Balance. Another is training for the Olympic Trials. I remind them that I ran my first marathon in 4:03 this year!!!! I'm sure they were really impressed inside. Hey ya'll look at me I am a stud too.
Our start time for the relay was 6:30 p.m. I was the 7th runner so it was about 10pm when I put on my headlamp and reflective vest (that's all I wore) and waited for my runner to show up with the baton. It was craziness standing on the side of the road with someone yelling out the team number as runners came in to you could grab the baton and go. I was so pumped to run I grabbed the baton, slapped that baby around my wrist and took off. About a half mile later I turned onto some back country Oregonian road with no street lights. No one around. It was eerie and surreal. I would occasionally get passed by some punk who thought he was cool passing a girl. I would scream at him, "Slow down you show off! What do you think this is? A race?"
I ran my heart out, literally. I left it on the side of the road, oozing. The course was so hilly for those 5.65 miles, but I felt I couldn't slow down. The team was depending on me. I was in a movie and the crowd was waiting for me and the girl in the wheelchair was going to get up and walk if I got there in a fast time and the band would be playing and fireworks would go off and everyone would put me up on their shoulders and....well, not really, but I booked it as fast as I could probably because I was afraid of being abducted, raped and left for dead on that road.
My next two legs went surprisingly well given I was going on no sleep and a steady diet of trail mix, Goldfish, and Twizzlers. After 21 hours ending up at the finish on the Oregon Coast was pretty damn cool.
And the van smell? Kind of like wearing a dirty jock strap like a mask for hours on end. I finished my first leg and promptly took out the Huggies and wiped myself down. No one else did this, and I didn't ever do it again. We all just stunk, pure and simple. With each hour and each run the stank increased. You kinda got used to it. Eau de schweaty nuts. I might bottle it.
We saw lots of clever van drag along the way:
Some of my favorite team names were: The Third Leg is the Hardest, the Rusty Trombone, the Dirty Sanchez, the Nads, the What's That Smell, the Case of the Good Runs, the Terds, the My Husband's Third Leg is Short...and the list goes on.
So I made it and lesson learned. Yes I'm waxing all philosophical on you. The richness of life is found in continuing to move outside of your comfort zone. Thanks for all of your support friends!!!!