- Stick with what you know. Whether it's food or clothing or shoes, treat a relay like any race when it comes to new things--DON'T DO IT. There's a chance it might end up fine, but when you're going to be stuck in a van for about 30 hours with no sleep and don't know when you'll see another store for supplies, you're better of sticking with what's tried and true. You want to be as comfortable as you can, both mentally and physically, because a relay has so many more variables than a regular race.
- HAVE FUN!!! Having fun is why we do relays, right? Remember this, even when it's dark and scary, or the porta potties are extra stinky, or when you're tired and cranky and your feet are blistered--THIS IS FUN! Every time I've done a relay, I swear and curse and wonder why I run at all, and question my sanity for running a relay... and yet I just manage to get sucked back into the FUN year after year! :)
Hood to Coast is just twoooo days away!!! Can you believe it?! I made a list a few years ago, but this has been revised as I've run more relays :) Before we get to the actual packing list, a few caveats and bits of advice:
I meant to update from my iPhone during the race using the Weebly app, but coverage was spotty to nonexistant for most of the race. So here's what happened to Team 518 - the Trail Nuts.
Our van felt pretty good after our first set of six legs. All of us had run strong and fast. We grabbed dinner and took showers at a teammate's house, and then went to meet up with Van 2 near OMSI for the exchange.
I ran Leg 13 (4.21 mi) through downtown Portland around 7pm. The temperature was just right and it was a nice, fairly flat run. My legs were a little tired and stiff, but I managed to finish in 39:45 (9:22 min/mile pace). I got a little sleep in the van while my teammates ran their legs, and on our way to the next major exchange. A fire had shut down part of highway 30 and caused a couple of changes. Traffic was pretty bad along other parts of the course anyway, so it got a little stressful in our van. Everything was kind of a blur until I had to run my last leg at 5am.
Leg 25 (3.75 miles) is in the middle of nowhere on a country road (technically from Mist to Birkenfeld, OR). It was dark and I was tired and just wanted to sleep and eat and sleep some more. I ran as fast as I could make myself run, which ended up being kind of slow (10:30-11:00 min miles I think?). I was really glad to be done, and slept some more until our van finished our last set of legs and could head to the beach to wait for Van 2 to finish.
Once Van 2 arrived at the beach, and the last runner came in, we all crossed the finish line together. Our team was 350th overall (out of 1070 total teams), and 77th out of 362 teams in the Mixed Open. We skipped the beach party in favor of the food and drinks that were waiting for us at the beach house we rented, where we ate and drank and fell asleep by 9pm.
Yep. We were pretty tired.
We came home from the beach mid day, and I'm going to try and get back on track with eating healthy (basically the past two and half days have been nothing but eating and running. And more eating. And more running.)
I almost didn't run Hood to Coast this year, but my team pretty much made me do it. Who you run/live with in a van for three days makes all the difference in the world, and I'm lucky to have such awesome running buddies. We all ran hard and had a good time, in spite of all of the crazy stuff and lack of sleep. We were all pretty disappointed by how Hood to Coast was run this year (although the volunteers did an awesome job, as always--thank you so much!), so we're considering finding a different relay for next year.
Have you run a relay? Or is it too crazy to even think about? :)
Until recently, I'd LOVED races--loved the camaraderie, the swag (t-shirts! medals! Jamba Juice!), the energy. I looked forward to them, and that anticipation made training somewhat fun. I would just go out there and give it my all.
After having done two marathons this year (Seattle Rock 'n' Roll and Eugene), I've been kind of burnt out on running. The stress of months of training and several VERY disappointing races had taken a lot of the fun out of it. I felt like my body and I were at odds with each other, and I became really critical of myself because I wasn't meeting any of my time goals. I decided after my last race (Lacamas Lake Half in July) that I was going to take a break from racing, and just run for fun. I wasn't going to worry about time or pace, just run when I felt like it, and spend more time doing other kinds of exercise.
The only kink in my plan was Hood to Coast--a 200 mile relay with 12 person teams. I'd committed to doing it a year ago, and couldn't back out on my team so close to the race. I dreaded the 200 mile relay for weeks, but didn't want to be a Debbie Downer for my team, and reminded myself that if I gave my best, my friends would be proud of me no matter what my pace was, and that we had decided to run H2C a second year because it was FUN--we weren't going to win any division, but we had a great time doing this crazy relay anyway.
I feel really guilty about neglecting my blog for so long. I've being going through a tough time, and a lot of things in my life were set aside while I was trying to "fix" things. As I was cleaning the other day, I realized my shoes were an analogy for my life. I have a lot of pairs of shoes. More than 35. Some of them are just adorable, like my Cole Hahn ballet flats with Nike air technology. They retail for around $180, but I bought off a ebay for around $70 a year or two ago. These Cole Hahns are probably the most expensive shoes I own (besides my running shoes). These shoes are gorgeous turquoise leather with little crystals on them. Just look at them!
I always get compliments when I wear them. The thing is, they hurt like hell. Even with Body Glide. They're painful to wear. I've worn them fewer times than I can count on both hands. But because I spent so much money on them, and because they look so cute, I kept them.
Yesterday, when counted all of the shoes that I own, I decided I could let go of those Cole Hahns. I have plenty of cute shoes that don't hurt my feet. No, they're not as pricey or glamorous as my Cole Hahns, but they're more comfortable. So I'm going to take those fabulous Cole Hahn ballet flats to a consignment store. Besides, I don't have room on my shoe rack for all of my shoes. And who knows, I might find an even better pair of shoes...
This isn't just a story about shoes. It's about anything in your life that you want to hold on to--objects, goals, jobs, or even people. Maybe you hold on because you've invested in it, because people compliment you on it, because it was a good deal, or because of any number of other excuses out there. But if something isn't right fit for you, then the best thing that you can do is to let go.
What's been keeping me going through all this? The Hood to Coast Relay! There have definitely been a few days where I thought about dropping out of my team, but I just couldn't do it to them so close to the race, so I've kept training. This will be my first year doing HTC and it's on my bucket list, so I figure I better do it now even though I've been feeling like a mess. And I figured I'd be in an even bigger funk than I am now if I backed out. So here's what I've gotten myself into: