Okay I am promising (myself) that ALL Nuun Hood to Coast posts are being posted this week. Let’s do this!
This year for Nuun HTC I was runner #4 – the same leg I ran last year. And the funny thing is that I requested the same leg as last year. While I love to come off as spontaneous and “go with the flow” type of personality, I realized last weekend just how far from the truth that is. Turns out I’m much more Type-A than I thought (more on that later). When I requested the same leg as last year, I really liked the idea of knowing exactly what to expect on my three legs. It was comforting knowing what to expect as the race approached. I worried less about the running – and focused on socializing, spreading the Nuun Love and taking awesome photos (priorities).
Let’s start with Leg 1.
Kelly starting off Team Noon.
Pre-Running: After spending a hour and a half on top of Mt.Hood (I wish we could have stayed up there forever), Kelly toed the start line for Team Noon. I don’t think it finally hit me that I was going to be running 7.18 miles for my first leg until approximately 30 minutes before I actually started running (aka when Laura (Runner #3) started asking if we should practice the snap bracelet hand-off)….”Oh shit I forgot about running!” (I thought to myself). Don’t get me wrong – I had completely come to HTC prepared and trained to run, but I just didn’t realize that everything would happen so quickly. Especially when you have 3 fast runners ahead of you in the line-up (Kelly, Laura and Laura all crushed their first legs.)
The Run: 7.18 miles in 57:35 (Average pace: 8:01)
As I waited for Laura at the “hand-off/exchange point”, my stomach started to rumble. I think I’ve mentioned before that I have the opposite of a “stomach of steel”, more like “stomach of a chemistry experiment gone badly”. I just thought to myself, “I don’t care if you feel like dying when running, you will run as fast as you can.” (You will realized that I had an inner dialogue going on the whole race)
Okay back to the relay…
Hand-off from Laura (ehhh we need to practice that) – and I’m off!
(Photo stolen from Sarah.)
While my stomach wasn’t feeling stellar, I saw a 50-something year old (age debatable?) in front of me wearing just a sports bra & booty shorts (I made a mental note to ask the women her secret to 6-pack abs), and I knew I had to pass her. 1 Roadkill! Boom.
I looked ahead and I could see a bunch of runners that I was hoping to catch.
THEN I watched as a swarm of runners running a 6 minute pace (?) starting passing me one-by-one. F-WORD! I thought “But I’m running Sub-8 minute miles!!!”
And then the stomach hit me again, and I felt like when Voilet in Willy Wonka that turns into a giant blueberry. I swear my stomach was expanding with air. Should I just start rolling down the hill?
I passed a couple more people which boosted my confidence a little.
Jess from Team Morning passed me around mile 4 (she was as nice as could be when passing me) and all I could think was “Damn it, now I definitely have to start doing Crossfit and taking some GNC protein shakes!”
At Mile 5, I saw a shirtless guy about half a mile ahead of me. He became my target for the rest of the run. “Just catch HIM.” I passed him with 1/4 mile left in the run, and then just as I was getting my snap bracelet ready to hand off to Sarah, he catches up with me and we race to the exchange point! (Exciting stuff.)
After the Run: Can you say “runner’s high”? An 8:01 average pace for 7.18 miles is really, really good for me. And I had no idea I was running that pace (Garmin was set to bike mode, so I turned it off at Mile 2). It was great to just RUN, and run as fast as I could at that moment. It was glorious.
The moment I finished all I told Casey that I really wanted some Fruit Punch Nuun. Casey (CFO of Nuun & our Driver) said with a smile on his face, ”I think we can get you some Fruit Punch Nuun.” The perks of being sponsored by a Hydration Company!
Up next: Night Running