Normally I would not do separate parts to posts but since this trip was five days long and covered more than 200 miles with 36 wonderful women, I deem it necessary to split the fun into three separate posts. This is the second installment of my Nuun Hood to Coast Relay recaps.
Where did we leave off? Oh yeah, driving down to Oregon. It was a relaxing ride down and gave all of us time to calm our nerves. Thanks to Twitter and our ever trending #NuunHTC hashtag, we were able to keep tabs on everyone who was in our first van. After stopping for lunch at Panera and taking in all the scenery that Oregon had to offer, we made it to the infamous Safeway.
This was the first major van exchange point and everyone’s spirit was out in full force. The Dead Jocks in a Box were parked near us and as we made our rounds to tattoo everyone we could possibly find, I ran into some friends from back home at the Knoxville Track Club. Seeing them and conversing for what tiny bit we had was really motivating and made me excited to start this journey. That Safeway parking lot held more spirit than an arena full of cheerleaders. The commraderie could not be rivaled.
Robyn came barreling through the exchange point and Emily took off! The next few hours literally flew by us as we were in constant pursuit of making it to the next exchange point. It was probably 70% driving/cheering, 20% hustling, and 10% waiting. This portion was incredibly entertaining. Each team had a book with leg assignments and projected times so we had a roundabout way of knowing approximately each time our runner would hit an exchange.
Before I knew it our rotation had ended and it was my turn to run my first leg of 6.23. Dundundun. I geared up in my pink sparkle running skirt adorned with flashing lights, head lamp, and a reflective vest. My first leg was on a bike path through a woodsy area. Since our team started so late in the day we did not have too many runners out there for companionship. I enjoyed the solitude (and the random racoon sightings) and just ran and ran. Unfortunately there was no spot for my van to see me on this part of the course so it was just me and the night. Very appropriate for our team name.
The best part about leg 12 is that you end at a major van exchange point so not only is your individual van there waiting and cheering you on but also the van 1 ladies from your team. This was a huge motivator and thankfully I was able to always kick a little at the end and finish strong in front of my team.
By this point it was past midnight so we found a local grub bar to stock up on some greasy food and rehydrate. Food was much welcomed as was the bathroom. I was able to clean up some thanks to my shower pill. Once we loaded back in the van it was almost an instant slumber. Sleeping in a van with seven people isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, but it was so so worth it after a long eventful day.
By the time that morning came it was time for the next rotation and our van was up and running again. This portion was a little slower than the last since exhaustion had set in and we actually knew what we were doing by this point. Being able to cheer on each other is what kept most of us motivated and going. I was a little nervous about my second leg since it was bitterly cold outside and I had just left 90+ temps back home in Tennessee. But I just opted for a sleeved shirt and I was on my way. I was super grateful to be running in the sunlight so that my van could stop and cheer and I was able to take in some scenery from the run. I’m not a big fan of “ohhh look how pretty it is I’m so glad to be running and seeing all these pretty things” normally but this was an exception. The views combined with crisp air were phenomenal.
I was so happy to get to that exchange and see ALL the Team Night ladies. The crowd support was unreal and very humbling. Plus I finally got to put my second check on the van. Leg 2 was around 5 miles and after talking to some HTC veterans I knew it would be the toughest mentally. They were correct but I was just happy to be done!
In my next post I’ll touch on Leg 3 (it was a doozie) and the HTC aftermath.