Monday, August 26, 2013

Hood to Coast 2013~My Van 2, Leg 9, Lactose Intolerant Adventure!

My first experience with HTC was in 2011.  Runner five, in van one.  I was so excited to get the opportunity and said, it would be fun to do that again someday. I was also okay just knowing I got to do it once. 
 Well.......
A month or so, Jerry (my husband) and I were asked by our friend Chris if we would be interested in filling in two spots on his team this year.  Jerry had been talking about how cool it would be to get to be on a team and I was happy to do it again.  This time in the other van (van two). So we said, sure...lets do it!
We loaded up Friday about 1:15 pm and headed to Sandy, OR.  Our first six runners (van 1) was already up on Mt. Hood ready to run at our start time, 2:00pm.  It felt strange to just be leaving town at 1:15 seeing posts all over facebook that morning of other teams starting.  HTC has a staggered start.  Teams go out all day Friday because there are so many runners and vans.
Van 1 and van 2....Manic "8" Balls!

We got to Safeway parking lot (the first van exchange), decorated our van and waited and waited and waited for van 1 to come in. All of us were dragging so we went into Safeway's Starbucks and got some coffee.  We got good and caffeinated and now we're ready to run.  We grabbed last minute things like chocolate milk, coffee and water for the cooler and went out to make the big first exchange! 
Ernesto (black and green) just handed off to Mindy (pink)
We talked to our friends in van 1 and waited for runner 6 to come in (Ernesto).  He would be handing off to Mindy, the first runner in van 2.  Then the fun began!  We drove to our next exchange and waited for Mindy, then it was Dave's turn. It was just getting dark and it was my turn. Leg 9.  
My first leg went into Boring, OR.  It was going to be 7.73 miles and was ranked hard. I wasn't worried about this leg.  It was my first leg, I was fresh and ready to go.  I don't mind the dark. It would be cooler and that's good with me! I ran along Hwy 174 (Hwy 212) for a while.  Went from Clackamas to Boring, then turned off onto Springwater Trail for several miles.  It was nice.  I had a few runners ahead of me and a few behind me, but for the most part I was alone in the dark with just my headlamp and water.   The van would not be able to check on me half way since I was on a trail.  I passed a couple runners and saw two volunteers on bikes riding by.  Out of nowhere two runners came up behind me and passed me like I was standing still.  It was the Adidas team! I crossed a few intersections and did a couple switchbacks down back onto the trail and before I knew it, I was at my first exchange.  I handed off to Jerry and I was done with my first leg!  I finished leg 9 with a 7:43 pace per mile and felt really good!  I couldn't wait to eat.  I had a turkey sandwich and knew I had some time to sit back for a bit! 
I had bought chocolate milk at Safeway.  Three of them.  One for after each leg.  I drank one about an hour after I had ran and got back in the van for our next exchange. Then I began for feel very ill.  My runners high turned into a flu like feeling.  I was not doing well and I was stuck in the back of a minivan with six other people in the middle of the night somewhere in the Portland area, but really not sure.  I didn't say anything, just put my head down.  I was sure this 
Jerry being awesome! (runner 10)
would help.  Nope, it actually made me feel worse. Did I have to flu??? What was going on?  I asked for someone to hand me the Safeway bag that was up front.  Someone did, but everyone suddenly realized this could be really bad!  They said, you aren't doing that in here! Our awesome driver/navigator Jeanne drove into a parking lot so I could do my business.  I have never been able to force myself to throw up and so I just kind of stood there realizing I had to do more than throw up.  I walked back over to my van and told them I needed a bathroom now! Jeanne quickly got us a few blocks down to McDonald's.  They wouldn't let me in, just the drive thru was open!  We had to drive a little, but soon came to a gas station/mini mart in Portland.  My van was busy discussing if we should get gas or not and I ran inside and sat in the bathroom for a very long time.  
Mindy, Jeanne, Chris, Jerry and Me
I knew there were people out waiting in line, but I didn't really care. The bathroom was MINE!  I was starting to feel better and went back out to my van and realized I'm still sick!  Over to the bushes I went and threw up over and over again. Nobody came to check on me, they just sat in the van and watched.  That was ok with me, please don't come watch closely!  Finally, after what seemed like hours. I composed myself, walked back over to my team and told them I was ready to move on!  It was that chocolate milk!  It messed my whole system up and we still had two more legs to run!  My body now had nothing in it, and I was scared to eat much of anything.  

It was now time to drive to "HTC van 2 rest stop" I am not sure where that was, but I didn't really care!  There were lots of people and vans in a large open field.  Three of my team members stayed in the van to rest.  Four of us got our sleeping bags and walked over the the grassy area we were suppose to sleep in.  As I got over to the grass, I
Jeanne sharing with us some of our options for rest vs. showers.  She was our glue!
realized it was raining.  Well, it is what it is and I was too tired to care.  We had to get up at 3:45 (1:45 minutes from right then) so I crawled into my sleeping bag expecting to fall fast asleep.   The rain really wasn't bad, I just put the sleeping bag up over my head and it ended up stopping.  It wasn't very cold out. I was surprised at how good it felt to stretch out on the ground
 but, I didn't sleep much.  I slept about 1/2 hour then had to go stand in line at the port-a-potties again. I slept maybe another 20-30 minutes and it was time to get up!  
We got Mindy off and drove to Dave's exchange. We were having a blast and we're going to be at the finish line by the end of the day.
2nd leg (leg 21), the dusty road!
My 2nd leg was Saturday morning.  I think I started around 6:30am or so.  As we drove to my exchange, we looked for our runner Dave.  I was so glad I wasn't running his leg, it was a brutal uphill and gravel run. We passed what we thought was Dave.  Gave out some hoots and hollers then realized it wasn't Dave.  We later passed the real Dave....hahaha! 
After we parked, I headed over to the port-a-potties and Chris yells...there he is! I didn't get to use the port-a-potty...I had to run, now!  I was glad this was just a five miler, but was worried about this one a little.  It was on gravel and I knew it would be very dusty, plus now I had to run knowing I may mess my pants.  I took off and it was raining a little.  It felt great and was keeping the dust down a little.  I had a bandana over my nose and face but I started to feel overheated with it on and had to keep pulling it off.  About half way, my van went by and cheered for me.  I just love them for that! 

We do a lot of this for HTC!
I was doing pretty good.  Just kept reminding myself I get to use the port-a-potty soon. The rain stopped about half-way and the gravel got thicker. I was glad I had taken my contacts out for this leg with the thick dust every time a van went by.  I soon realized I was at the exchange, handed off to Jerry and boom...leg 2 was done! 7:53 pace!  I thought it would be really cool to break 8 for all three legs but I also knew my next leg, would be hardest of all!!!! I used the port-a-potty and grabbed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and passed on the chocolate milk!!!   My body was low on fuel and I was feeling it!  
plotting
Everyone in my van was coming in above projected times, we were all getting along and having a great time.  It was soon time for our second "van 2 rest stop."  It was now the middle of the afternoon on Saturday.  Nobody really wanted to sleep.  We pulled our mini van in the grass parking lot, put out a tarp and sat around whining about wanting to get on with leg 3 and get to the beach.  We started plotting out a way to cheat our way to the beach and beat van one to the beach house.  Seems silly? Well when you haven't slept in 24 hours and you still aren't done, there seems to be some logic to this!  But, we decided to make it count and "earn" our medals!  Jerry got Jeanne's trusty binder out and we plotted ways to "beat" our own times and honestly make our way to the beach faster!  We now had a plan! Time passed and Mindy was up to run very soon now!  We went up to the leg shoot to wait for our exchange from van one.  It was now hot in the afternoon. 
Dave handing off to me.
I was up against what I knew would be my biggest challenge for Hood to Coast this year. Leg 33. Ranked hard. 7.72  miles on rollings hills on narrow country roads...in the heat to add to it!
I took the baton from Dave and started off up a hill. My plan...to hold an even slow pace up and glide down, over and over and over again.  The first four miles this worked really good.  I even passed a few people.  My van passed me about this time.  I was getting hot and tired but was ok.  Very soon the sadness hit me.  I felt like my nine year old jumped on my back.  From head to toe my body was done.  I felt so weighted down and hot I wanted to quit.  My pace began slipping and I no longer cared about my plan.  All I wanted was to finish and be done with this already!!!!  I was thirsty but water was
Waiting at an exchange, Jerry and I
no longer good. I was hungry but couldn't eat until I was done.  I was hot and had no shower.  (BTW, my buddies in my van were playing in the creek around this time..I was SOOO happy for them!)  I was lonely, so I started talking to people.  A guy I had passed came up behind me and I told him I was going to run with him for awhile.  I have no idea if he cared or not, but I wanted company.  Later I talked to a lady around my age.  Then it got so hard, I decided to take some walk breaks.  This is something I rarely do anymore, but at this point, my friends were just going to have to wait for me longer. 

A few kids were out spaying runners with water, I was happy to have a spray down.  A girl gave me an orange gatorade about 1.5 miles from my finish. Even though I knew I better not drink it now, I took it so I could drink it after.  It got to be such a bother to carry, but all I could think about was the end!  I finally made a turn and started up another stupid hill, knowing I only had about .5 miles to go.  
Chris and Shannon (runners 11 and 12)
There it was...up ahead.  My exchange!  I could cry, but why?  I was freaking DONE! I was able to pull off a 9:45 pace.  Not at all what I had in mind for that leg, but it didn't matter.  I handed off to Jerry and drank my gatorade then went to the port-a-potty again! We drove on and finished all our legs.  After we dropped off Shannon (our closer, leg 12) we drove on to the beach to meet up with our other van and run in together for the finish. 

The sunset after the big finish
The beach was awesome.  Nice sunny day with music playing and good food (again, I was soooo hungry).   We went through the finish shoot as a team, was handed our finish medals and got our team photo taken.  I was really excited to run into my friend Jerrilynn who had run HTC with an Elvis team!  Yeah Jerrilynn!  I was looking for my friend Kelleigh, but I knew her team came in earlier and was most likely gone by now.  
My team rented a beach house only four blocks from the finish line so we had easy access to showers! 
It was fun telling stories that night between both vans.  We laughed and laughed.  The next morning Paul made us breakfast.  Some of us ran, and some walked the beach before packing up and heading home.  
Walking the beach the morning after HTC!
The whole team
Jerry and I were new to this team of friends, but they welcomed us and treated us as if we had been part of the team for years.  They are a great group of people and I was so happy to run with them.  Thank you Manic "8" balls! 
Van 1 and van 2 next to the beach house