- 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:
It's been a week since Ragnar, and I'm just now getting this posted. Honestly, when it comes to an event like a relay, it's hard to capture the essence of it, and even harder to describe ALL of it! So if you have any questions, feel free to ask :)
The Trail Nuts have run the Hood to Coast Relay the past four years--it was our first relay, and until this year, the only relay that any of us had tried. After four years, we decided that it would be good to branch out and get a different relay experience. We asked around, and so many runners loved Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage that we decided to give it a try.
Race name: Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage
Date and time: Friday July 18th through Saturday July 19th, 2014
Registration fee: $1320 per team
Location: Blaine, WA to Langley, WA
Events offered: 12 person team, 6 person ultra team, 12 person high school team
Number of teams: approximately 600
Beneficiary: It Ain't Chemo; ALS Association Evergreen Chapter
Team name: Trail Nuts (team #108)
Van 1: Den, Tom, Juliet, Dave, Lilly, Mike
Van 2: Chris (captain), John, Rene, Pat, Joy, ME!
Team product sponsors: Zico Coconut Water, Onix Sports, and Trail Butter
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.