Two weeks ago right now I was traveling down I-5 in Washington state with five of my Hood to Coast teammates, along with our rad driver, heading towards the first major van exchange. Nuun Hydration Team Lemon Lime ready to rock HTC! I can’t believe it has already two weeks. I was just getting to know the awesome people that would soon become some great friends. More like family, really. All of us excited and ready to take on the 200 mile journey from Mt. Hood to the chilly coast in Seaside, Oregon.
There is so much I feel compelled to say and while I wanted to do my HTC recap justice, I have found myself feeling super guilty for not writing anything significant, as of yet. I realized today that I need to cut myself some slack, get out what has surfaced, and move on. Because life is busy, no? So, I’ve decided to not write up some big, epic recount of my HTC adventure but rather a condensed version that most importantly expresses my deepest gratitude to Nuun and the amazing people that work there.
Even though I’ve run HTC several times, this time was an experience like no other. Being apart of the Nuun team, a company that I believe in and use regularly, was truly more amazing than I even imagined it could be. They took really good care of us and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to meet many of the employees that make up Nuun. That includes the Chief Electrolyte Officer (CEO) who drove team Lemon-Lime’s van 2, which I was in. He is such a great guy!
The teams were made up of athletes from all over the country. Such a fantastic and diverse mix of like-minded souls. Getting to know my teammates was one of the highlights of the trip!I had plenty of time to get to know my teammates that made up van 2 and they were a fascinating group! We spent a lot of time swapping stories while stuck in traffic. ; )
As far as the running goes, I felt really good about each of my legs. My first leg (#12) was projected at a 7:20 pace. What? Who came up with that??? It was just getting dark when I set off on my first and longest leg which finished under the Hawthorn Bridge in Portland. It was a beautiful night running through the city. One neighborhood was having a block party and even had a balloon arch for runners to pass through as they cheered us along. Very cool, Portland. I ran that leg, 6.25 miles, in 47:59. A 7:41 pace. (I even ran into BFP at the exchange. So cool to see my friend!)
Leg two (#24) was early the next morning. Fortunately, it was light outside. Unfortunately, traffic sucked and we got stuck a mile from the exchange with our runner on the way. I decided to hop out and walk so I’d have time to hit the porta-potty before our runner arrived. As soon as I got the the exchange and took two steps towards the direction of the restrooms, our team number was announced signalling that our 11th runner was approaching. No time to pee. Dang. I used that as motivation to get to the next exchange as quick as I could and it worked. I didn’t get an accurate reading because I didn’t even have time to wait for my Garmin to sync before I had to start running. I missed the first mile but started my watch when I hit the mile marker. I ran the remaining 3.89 miles in 29:10, which was a 7:33 pace. Not bad for having to pee the entire time. I guess that’s what you get when you run for a hydration company!
My last leg was the final leg (#36). The anchor. It was so, so hot in the mid-afternoon sun. I knew I wouldn’t run at the predicted 7:49 pace they anticipated I would and kept apologizing for it beforehand. Really, I just wanted to finish without feeling like I was going to die. The first mile is really rocky and uneven on an old logging road. Once it meets back up with paved road, there is a short climb before cresting the hill and then two miles or so of steep downhill. When I got to the top and looked out toward the direction of the ocean, all I could see was grey. A misty fog was rolling in. By the time I got to the bottom of the hill, it was cool and damp. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so great on my third leg! I gave everything I had left and crossed the relay finish line on the sand in Seaside after running for 40:12, at a 7:48 pace. One second under my predicted pace. Nice.
I immediately spotted my van 1 teammates and was so happy to see their smiling, excited faces. My van had not yet arrived at the finish so we hung out until they made their way to us and crossed the ceremonial finish together. AWESOME!
The rest of the evening was spent celebrating and watching the finish-line festivities from the balcony of the nearby condo Nuun put us up in. There were lots of laughs, stories, beers (and wine!), and even a little yoga. I never wanted that night, or the trip for that matter, to end!
A HUGE thank you to Nuun Hydration for everything they do for the health and well-being of all athletes and allowing me to be a part of it! And to my teammates: I’m hopeful that our paths will cross again in the future. It was an honor and pleasure getting to know you and sharing this experience with you. You all will forever have a special place in my heart!!!