Tuesday, September 13, 2011

DRUM ROLL....Hood to Coast 2011

LollyGaggers, Hood to Coast 2011

I had a blast running with the LollyGaggers for HTC this year. I felt fortunate to be invited to run with this amazingly talented group of people. I have been trying to think of the best way to summarize my weekend, but words really can't do it justice. It was by far the most crazy fun I have had in a long time and was the perfect cap to a fun filled summer. I would say that we kicked some major ass-phalt and came in #238 out of the 1,267 teams that finished. In our category, Mixed Open, we finished in 46th place out of 411 teams. We were originally predicted to finish in Seaside in 27 hours 42 minutes. Our official finish time was 27:38:44, just barely under our prediction. We had high hopes of finishing in around 24 hours, but a few mishaps along the route cost us time. You can view the results here: 20011 Hood to Coast Results

The whole weekend was a whirlwind. We left spokane around 9am on Thursday because we had to pick up a teammate at the PDX airport. We stopped in The Dalles at Burgerville and I consumed amazingly delish Walla Walla onion rings, salmon salad AND a cherry milkshake (FLAB- I was carbing up :)). We realized about 20 miles away from The Dalles that we had forgotten to get gas- OOPS! We ended up pulling off of the freeway and went to somebody's house who looked like they might give us a little gas to make to the next gas station. As turns out the people who owned the house we stopped out own several commercial crabbing boats and also have a boat on the A & E show "Deadliest Catch". We were able to get gas and thankfully didn't get stranded along I84. We successfully picked up Chris at the airport by 4:00 pm. He gets double, triple bonus points for making the trek from Windermere, FL.

Pretty cool view from the house where we borrowed some gas at. That is Beacon Rock in the background.

We arrived to our home sweet home around 6:00 pm. I must say that was incredibly impressed with our digs! Honestly, it can go either way- super nice or super sketch. We definitely had super duper nice! It was a full on resort that I think we all wished that we could have spent more time at. After a team meeting, couple round of beers and introductions it was off to bed for the LollyGaggers. I had a slight feeling that our 6:30 am wake up was going to come sooner than I wanted.

Our home sweet home on Thursday night and the last place we would get to sleep until Saturday

Friday morning we got up right on cue and started to re-pack and organize our vans since they would officially have 6 people a piece riding in them. Then we took off for Timberline! Going to the start was very exciting and surreal. I had never been to the start so it was  fun opportunity. Of course all of us girls went shopping to buy HTC gear. We also grazed on all of the Clif bar samples- I guess you could call that breakfast? It was fun to walk around and look at how teams decorated their vans and the see the team names. I will just say that some of the team names were quite creative. After we decorated our vans it was about time to get the party started.

Our first real glimpse of Mt. Hood on the drive up to Timberline

Timberline Lodge

Me @ Timberline Lodge

The official start of HTC

Mt. Hood, Timberline Lodge

Here is a glimpse at Van #2 the Nissan "Unofficial" vehicle

I think that we did a great job decorating :)

Once our first runner, Andrew, was on his way to tackling leg #1 (the toughest by far!) we set out to cheer on our team and grab some real breakfast. At this point I was craving my good luck charm- PANCAKES! We went through a couple of exchange points with van #1 before grabbing some grub. I will add that the highlight of my morning was "running" into Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer of Runner's World at an exchange point. What an awesome experience! He is such a nice and humble guy. He took the time to talk to my team for a while; it was VERY cool!

Run Marshall Run!

Me, Havilah & Maile

Once our van got underway, I started to get a wee bit nervous because it was getting warm. HTC weekend just happened to be the hottest weekend of the summer for Portland. Go freaking figure. :-) I took off from my exchange point like my feet were on fire- I was so excited to finally be running! Once I settled into my pace I cruised! I passed 13 runners and nobody passed me.  The downside to leg #9, besides the heat, was that it was primarily on a gravel road and had very little van access. It got a little warm and my water didn't last me very long. I was dying at the end! 

Getting ready to rock leg #9

Trying not to think about how hot it is!

Here comes Maile! (I guess I can't hide now ;-))

After my leg came the first major frustration of the weekend. The exchange point for leg #10 was entirely messed up. They changed it at the last minute and then had the wrong directions on the HTC website. Our runner, Brendan, had to wait over 10 minutes for us to get to him and let the next runner go. Vans were driving every which direction, it was very confusing. Especially when we were in rush hour traffic and weren't familiar with the area. 

After our van was finished running we went to a pizza parlor in downtown PDX to try and get something of substance. By this point I was already tired of Clif bars. We got some pizza, re-organized our van, changed clothes and hit the road to find some gas (no we did not forget this time!) and make it to the next major exchange point. We were hoping to be able to get some sleep, but by this time this is where the traffic got really, really bad. It took forever to drive just a couple of miles and we were all frustrated. By the time we got to the fairgrounds we had less than an hour before our runner was going to show up. The highlight of this part of the night was I got to see Cassie! 

Super excited that we got "run" into eachother

My second leg was #21 which was also on a gravel road, but this time I had to run it at 1:00 am. I think I ran it so fast because I didn't want the boogey man to catch me. :-) I had problems seeing, even though I had a headlamp- I just tried to follow the tree line and hoped that I wanted end up in the ditch or twist my ankle in a pot hole. I felt like I was flying- I got lots of "you go girl" comments from other runners as I passed them. I passed 13 more runners, but got passed by 1 guy. He was pretty fast! 

Once we got to the next major exchange point we couldn't find our team! They had fallen asleep and unfortunately we were in an area that had no cell phone service- even Verizon. We weren't the only team in the same situation and we were eventually able to locate them in the mass parking lot of identical vans. We were just thankful that they were really there and hadn't gotten into an accident along the way.

After our van got done with running our second legs we were really looking forward to some sleep. This is the point of the race where frustration #2 comes into play- the traffic. It was beyond awful! It took us over 3 hours to make it to the next exchange point. It never should have taken that long. The volunteers were doing as much as they could, but I don't think a lot of them had been trained properly. I felt bad that people were swearing at them, that wasn't appropriate. I hope that with all of the feedback HTC recieved, they will seriously consider improving upon this downfall. If they don't I think that they will see a lot of regular teams not returning. 

My third leg #33 was my hardest and longest of the weekend. It would have been nice to get the hardest/longest over first, but what can ya do? I passed so many people that I sort of lost count of my "roadkill"....Even though it was hot and I was tired and sore I still ran with a smile (see below).

I really can't believe I am smiling after getting hardly any rest, living off of Clif bars, and running 20 miles....

Maile, Jeff & myself

Chris, Brendan & Havilah

LollyGaggers, Van #2

LollyGaggers! Hood to Coast 2011

After we celebrated in Seaside it was off to Portland to find comfy beds, hot showers, and good food! In a way to was sad to see all of the excitement end. HTC is such an awesome experience and it is even more fun when you are lucky enough to get to spend it with such a great group of people.

I am already looking forward to next year.......


1 comment:

  1. Looks like sooo much fun!! I've wanted to do a relay but with a 6 month old I may need to wait awhile before I can be gone that long. Looks like you had a blast :)


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