The View from Runner 5 – pt2 (Hood to Coast Recap)

Kick yourself if you didn’t speak up – I’m taking the “too short, OUaL! more words!” comments from part 1 and running with them. Grab a bev, settle in…

Runner 5 Leg #1 – success (cred)

Once I [almost sort of] stopped sweating, we jumped back in the van to get to Molly’s exchange, where would tag in van 2 for the first time.

Have I told you about Molly?  How she’s from Ohio and we have mutual friends and we found other Ohioans at the start and made them do the O-H pose with us?

That’s Molly.  When you’re from Ohio you don’t have much to be excited about besides other people from Ohio.

Anyway these “major” exchanges (where the vans trade off) are fun because you get to see the other half of your team. One of the bummers of a two-van team is being so disconnected from your other half. We caught up with Tonia, Kim, Tiffany, Zoe, Jess, and Lindsay, anxious to get their running started, and then all hit the chute to cheer in Molly.

FUTURE RELAY NOTE : Be runner 1, 6, or 12 sometime. 2x the exchange cheerleaders is way fun.

* Other pieces of note from Van Exchange 1 – Nuun tent hydrating the masses, having the portapotty door opened on me mid-change (I SWEAR I locked it?), and the tastiest freaking lemon Chobani of my life.

We handed off the same time as Team Morning so we figured we’d be nice and let them hang out with us until it was time to run again.

Major perk of running a 12man vs Ultra relay?  Getting to stop for real food!

Thank you, iron stomach

… and liver. Liquid carbs FTW.

(It was only one and I had like, 5 hrs until I had to run again. Relax.)

During dinner an urgent message from Hood to Coast came in – there was a fire at a tire factory along leg #17 (my next leg) and the course was being detoured.

Driver/Coach Casey proceeded with caution when asking how I felt about the addition.  What was supposed to be the “easy” run of a set of legs I was already pretty petrified of suddenly became a Long Run with some mystery miles at the end.

“Hey man, whatever, miles are miles – as long as they’re not super hilly, or I get lost, or.. ha, it’ll be fine I’m sure… ha… [chug beer]”

After closing the tab and somehow resisting the 40 min wait at Voodoo Doughnuts, we got to Exchange 12 in downtown Portland.  The absence of the last exchange’s energy was painfully obvious – Van2’s ready for food and rest, Van1’s trying drum up the excitement to get going again.

I tried not to stress about the detour – 1.7mi in the grand scheme wasn’t a big deal – but the uncertainty of the route, elevation, and terrain, ESPECIALLY at night, had me concerned.

But what can you do? Gotta get to the next exchange somehow, might as well run and run hard.

  • Running – Round 2

It was midnight once Kelly started running again for Van 1.  I had a few hours until my turn and the dark exchanges and quiet van made sleep VERY tempting, but I knew I’d wake up groggy, stiff, and in no better shape than I was. At this point you make the decision to sleep or stay up and you have to COMMIT to it – going halfsies is practically relay suicide.

So I got out at each exchange, helping the next runner prep and cheering in the one finishing, trying to keep my energy up and pass the time.

With an hour to go, I started to get desperate.  I kicked myself for eating my Smooth Caffeinator Picky Bar earlier – all I wanted was some damn caffeine and there was not a drop of coffee anywhere!  Eventually I mixed a Starbucks Via packet in water from our cooler and choked down three big gulps of lumpy mess before almost gagging and throwing it away.

FUTURE RELAY NOTE : bring iced coffee or caffeine IV for van

I ate a banana and grabbed a handful of gummy bears – knowing the sugar would get me into the run, and hoping adrenaline would carry me through the rest.

cheap man’s (/kid-at-heart’s) energy chews

At 3am, in the parking lot of Scappoose Middle School, Jocelyn passed me the slap bracelet for the second time, and I took off into the night.

I fell into stride right away with a nice man from Alaska – we chatted a bit but after two miles I told him to go on.  My legs felt great at the 7:40 pace but my brain scolded saying there was a lot of running left, including that big BIG climb in the final leg.


So I reigned it in, watched Alaska’s taillight disappear, and waited for someone else to close in behind me.

But no one did. Ever. I was completely alone, running along highway 30, the only sounds from engines and van/bored trucker horns.

I tried to take a on-the-run night leg pic for you. Here is my headlamp?

As I ran, having fallen into stride on a flat and straight route, I let myself forget about everything. No fretting over the next run, if I was going to get to sleep, or if so-and-so was the one with the bum piriformis or the sick kid at home or the new job starting next week. I stopped worrying about the miles to come and enjoyed the big starry sky and quietness around me.

Also it’s possible I was half-asleep the whole time.

About halfway I saw the Morning and Noon vans parked on the other side of the road – Drivers Casey and Jay were out ready to join in, but I opted to stay solo. After three days of non-stop social stimulation the alone time was blissful.

let those sparkles shine, CFO

(Casey got to run with Caitlin and Jay so I didn’t feel bad blowing him off ;) )

The rest of the run was most of the same – the detoured stretch was manned perfectly and I never worried about missing a turn THANK GOD. It was also nice to go in blind, because those last two bonus miles were NOT flat.

not huge, but def not the “flat-and-easy-7” it was supposed to be

A volunteer told me “half a mile to go!” and I picked it up, thrilled to have gotten through the mystery leg and at a pace MUCH faster than I expected. They called out our team number and I waited for Molly to appear, excited to send her off on a big note for her tough leg. In these middle-of-the-night exchanges it’s hard to get pumped since everything is so sleepy, and I was excited to handoff a little extra energy to her.

I slowed to a stop in the chute, and they called our number again. And again.

No Molly.

Some of Team Morning was there, and we tried explaining over and over we weren’t actually the same team. A few people, inc my Alaskan friend, ran off into the parking lot yelling for “Nuun!!” (should’ve thankd them for that extra brand exposure) and looking for my van.

Is this deja vu?

from Ragnar leg #3

I was so grateful to have the Morning girls there (Jess, Nicole, Steph, and Corey) trying to get ahold of my van and keeping me company. Even though the runners’ detour was sufficiently marked, the driving route was a little wonky and my van ended up at the NEXT exchange just a mile down the road.

So they were sitting at 18 waiting for me, probably thinking I’d decided to walk the entire leg, while I was sitting at 17 wondering if they’d all fallen asleep somewhere.

It was nobody’s fault, and although it sucked to add on the extra time (10? 15 mintues? I have no idea) despite running well, it was more of a bummer to come into the empty exchange and not get to pass on the “go get em!” spirit and enthusiastic butt-pat I had ready for our next runner.

My teammates felt terrible, obviously, but I told them it really didn’t matter – it’s not like we were trying to win or break any records or anything.

Plus I stopped my watch so at least I know how fast I ran those 8.75 miles. :)

reflective post-run glory. Swiftwick arm sleeves and “high voltage” BIC band

 * There’s one final (less dramatic) leg and the VIP finish to recap still. If you’re noticing a “you freaked out and it ended up not being so bad” trend, I’ll let you assume it will continue on to the next installment…

[part 3]

Sarah OUaL


19 thoughts on “The View from Runner 5 – pt2 (Hood to Coast Recap)

  1. that was a tricky leg…our runner ran this one with Mason to make sure they did not get lost! I think I would have gone in mini panic mode if nobody was at the exchange! We wanted to come and get you I remember…


  2. never heard the full story on your leg but knew something had happened. you handled it quite well :) agree with you on wanting to be runner 1,6, or 12. i’ll add in 7 for the same reason. i wish i had a stomach of lead like yours so that i could eat all of that goodness in the middle of a race.


  3. Pingback: The View from Runner 5–pt3 (Hood to Coast Recap) | Once Upon a (L)ime

  4. Pingback: Running Into Trouble | HEAVY MEDAL

  5. Pingback: Hood to Coast: The Mother of All Relays – Leg #3 |

  6. Pingback: The View from Runner 5 (Hood to Coast Recap) | Once Upon a (L)ime


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s