Hood to Coast Relay Race Recap

Here is my Hood to Coast Relay Race Recap! But really, there is no way to truly share all the FUN and epicness of a 199 mile relay with 11 other runners. These are the highlights/parts I remember….

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(source Runner’s World instagram)

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I was on the Runner’s World belVita Team. The team included RW and belVita employees – including the legendary Bart Yasso and um, me. Not sure how I managed to snag an invite to this party, but I am so glad I did!

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First thing in the morning we headed up to Mt. Hood. The race starts on the mountain HOOD and goes all the way to the COAST, hence the name.

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I was in Van 1, runner #2. So, I was ready to run first thing since I would be going on the first hand off.

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We saw our first runner start and then headed to the hand off so I could get ready.

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My first leg was all downhill, which I love. I flew down the mountain thanks to gravity. I knew that I would regret going out so fast on leg 2 and 3, but I couldn’t help it. I just focused on keeping my body relaxed and going with it. My pace is super fast for me and I realize that’s as good as it gets so I am okay with it (even though my quads did get super tight after!).

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(source Runner’s World instagram)

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Plus I had to show Bart Yasso I was cool enough to hang out with him! Totally worth the burn.

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Leg 1 done and done – time to cross it off the list!

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Everyone in our van killed their first leg! Beachy was the last runner in our van. We handed off to Van #2 at the transition and wished them luck on their first legs.

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(source Scott’s instagram)

By the time we finished our first leg it was around 1pm and we were HUNGRY. We decided food before anything else and were on a mission to get fuel.

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Someone spotted an Olive Garden and it was pretty much unanimous. We needed to make this happen.

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We all thought going to the Olive Garden was super funny though – no one had been there in years. So, we needed to toast to the endless salad and breadsticks.

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Follow my Van… Scott, Robert, RER, Steph, Seth and Beachy

 

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I got this Chicken Abruzzu-something or other dish and it was delicious.

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From lunch we headed to Portland for a quick shower stop. Yes, you read that right. We had a hotel room to hold our stuff and had about a half an hour to shower leave our gross clothes and meet up with Van 2. Isn’t that fancy?! #PerksofRunningwiththeBigBoys

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We had some time to wait before the Van 2 back to 1 transition so we hung out, hydrated for our leg and enjoyed the fun HTC ambiance.

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My second leg was fairly flat with a few rolling hills. But my legs felt pretty heavy from the first downhill leg. It was a little challenging and I didn’t push it because I wanted to save something in the tank for my last DARK leg (because I was scared).

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But, I did try to finish strong and when I got close I sped it up to hand off to Scott. I saw him just a little bit away and heard our team number being called out so he could be ready. He had his arm ready – we took our slap bracelet handoff seriously – so I ran toward him and the volunteer reached out and grabbed me to stop me. They were directing traffic and I guess a car was just given the “go” and I didn’t see or hear it! I had to stop for a second and then made the handoff on the other side of the street.

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And it’s a good thing I didn’t die because right after I was done with leg 2 I met reader Jordan! She was actually tackling 4 legs!!

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Our next runners finished up their legs just as it was getting dark. I thought my second leg would be the dark one, but that’s not how the time worked out this time. Both of my previous relays had me doing my second run at night.

We got our last runner, handed off to the other team and then headed to the next big transition.

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Robert ready to go for his dark shift.

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Check out my insta video for 15 seconds of a handoff.

After our van was done with leg 2 we tried to get some sleep before we had to run again. I came somewhat prepared with a sleep mask and ear plugs. Except I should have brought a heavier jacket because I was freezing.

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I’m pretty excited that I did get a little tiny bit of sleep – probably about a 40 minute power nap.

But it was quickly our turn to run again. I didn’t want to get out of the car because it was so cold and dark so I talked myself up and rallied.

I told everyone about my first night leg experience and how scared I was to run in the dark. Robert suggested I find someone to run with so as soon as I got the bracelet I took off to catch up with someone. A guy ended up coming up behind me and handing me my blinker that fell off and running ahead. So, I tried (desperately) to stay with him. I heard the miles tick off on my Garmin (but I couldn’t see it at all in the dark of night) 3 times. Finally I had to just fall behind (I kinda think he was pushing it so I couldn’t pass him but I just wanted a friend!). I found someone else and it turns out she was in my favorite van name.

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She had to walk so I kept going. But I was terrified. I glanced back once to see if anyone was coming up behind me so I could slow to run with them but that was even scarier to just see pitch black behind you.

Moral of the story: Don’t look at where you’ve been, just keep going. #ThatsDeep

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I finished!!! I just kept thinking “Chase your fears” and I did it.

I was so glad it was over!!! You don’t even know.

After my leg we stopped at a high school to get coffee. I changed there and got eggs. It was delicious – especially since we hadn’t eaten a real meal since yesterday at lunch and it was about 5am at this point.

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Steph scored pancakes from another quick stop.

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From there I happily enjoyed cheering for my other team members. I had the hard part done and could just enjoy the rest of the relay!!!

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When the last runner of our van was done we high-fived the other team and saw our other van off!

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I tried one of the soft baked belVita breakfast biscuits in the van too. Have you tried these? I only had the hard ones that come 3 to a pack before. Rumor has it the banana bread flavor is the best.

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Pro tip: Put some Nutella on a crunchy belVita and your taste buds will thank you.

There are a few transitions with places for people to sleep. One of them even had a whole tent city! This was our last handoff and I just took a peek.

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Done and tired and headed to the coast!

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The victory lap!

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And about an hour later we were at the beach! We made it and waited for our teammates to get there.

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The Runner’s World belVita team crossed the finish together! We did it!

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Bart Yasso was our anchor and ran the last leg. He crossed the finish and led us to the beach to get in the water. Ice bath!

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I had so so so much fun! It is awesome how running and living in a van together for 24 hours can bring people together!! I consider all my teammates friends now. “We can’t stop!!!” <- not a motivational phrase, an inside joke.

Thank you to Runner’s World, belVita and the awesome people who put up with me for the last 48 hours!

Question: What was the best thing you ate this weekend?

Anyone run? How’d it go?

Comments

  1. says

    Looks like you had a blast! :)

    The best thing I ate this weekend was a red curry with chicken, broccoli and spinach that I made. Ridiculously good!

    I had my best trail run maybe ever on Saturday, just shy of 7 miles, and a relaxing 5 TM miles today. A good running weekend!

  2. says

    I went to one of Bobby Flay’s restaurants and had the most amazing dessert: Bourbon Toffee Profiteroles with vanilla bean ice cream. AMAZING!
    Loved reading this post…I just posted some tips for overnight relay races. I’m doing Ragnar Napa Valley in 3 weeks!

  3. Nicole says

    What brand are the mid thigh running shorts you have on and do you like them? I typically wear the Brooks 5 inchers but am always looking for something tight that covers the thigh to cut down on rub…lol. :-)

  4. says

    You are so awesome! Sounds like an amazing experience. My brother flew out from Michigan to run that race, too, and he did 5 legs! I think that’s a little excessive, but that’s him. It does look beautiful, even though the leg in the dark sounds terrifying!

  5. says

    You survived the night leg! Yay!
    Best meal this weekend was yesterday’s dinner at a gourmet burger joint to celebrate my sis and BIL’s birthdays.

  6. says

    I really want to run a relay!! It looked like so much fun. And I love Olive Garden, we don’t have them in Canada (anymore? I’m not sure if we ever did) so I always love to stop at one in the US!

  7. says

    I was following your instagram this weekend and it looked like so much fun. We have a big relay coming up in st. Louis but I’m glad I’m not doing it this year. It’s 98 degrees and so humid my sunglasses fog when I go outside.

  8. says

    Congrats on a great race. Really enjoyed reading this recap. Hood to Coast is high on my list of dream races and really hope to make it there someday!

  9. says

    Oh my gosh this looks like such a fun experience. I’m jealous, I would love to do something like this!

    Had a rough run yesterday morning due to humidity & cramping, BUT made up for it with a good margarita chicken dinner at Chilis :)

  10. Rachel says

    Best thing I ate? Blueberry pancakes with peanut butter and maple syrup. Did I run? Heck yeah! I did a practice half marathon ready for my first official half at the end of September. Furthest I’ve ever run and I am super proud of myself!

  11. says

    congrats!! minus the running in the scary dark, this looks like a lot of fun. love the team camaraderie and the fun team names. hope you had a blast. never tried any belVita anything, actually. best thing i ate this wknd was a homemade veggie burger from a restaurant in the West Village — amazing.

  12. says

    Wow! What amazing pictures. Looks like you had an absolutely fantastic time AND got to rub elbows with Bart which is always a good time. Best thing I ate? Mexican food with the wife last night AND a steak at Shanahan’s Steakhouse in Denver for 5280 restaurant week. I did NOT (sadly) get in a run, as I decided to wait another week to start my running as I’m rehabilitating from four broken ribs and collapsed lung in my last triathlon. SOON!

  13. Molly says

    Thank you for allowing me to live vicariously through your HTC adventure! I walked Portland to Coast last year (my first relay) and had a blast! Glad you had a great time, and I love seeing all the pictures :)

  14. says

    I ran Hood to Coast with Nuun (my first relay) and had an amazing time. Spending 30 hours running 200 miles with 5 other strangers (in my van) really is a quick way to make friends :)

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