Wednesday’s Weakest Link

Hood to Coast Finish Line by Jean James

199 miles through the Oregon countryside…check!  Consider this Hood to Coast cherry popped!  Would I do it again?  Hell yeah!  Hood to Coast is one of the largest relay races in the country with 1087 teams entered this year.  Each team consists of twelve runners, two vans, and a crazy theme that defines who you are, where you come from, and how you got there.  There was no shortage of creativity.  I saw men running in kilts and Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader outfits, and women running in tutu’s and sparkle skirts.  I ran past wigs, and makeup, crazy socks and superhero capes, and a whole lotta chutzpah!  Who knew runners could be so much fun?

With only two months to train, and no clue what I was in for, I’m happy to report I managed to run all three of my legs within my estimated time.  My teammates were amazing.  With only three hours of sleep, this band of brothers (and sista’s) ate, slept and ran together in perfect harmony.  As a newcomer to my running group, I was greeted warmly, and treated like an old friend.  Many thanks to my awesome teammates for making me feel like one of the gang.

Oregon is a beautiful place to run, that is when you’re not running at night, solo, on a lonely trail, blind to anything but your flashlight beam.  But at early morning light, as the sun glimmers through the forest trees, and the sound of the stream running down the mountain greets you like your first cup of coffee, and the steam from your hot breath on the crisp mountain air sparkles like a vaporous memory, you’re reminded of what feeling alive is like without the static of modern-day life, and for that brief 6.8 miles of road it’s just you (and maybe a few people passing you if you’re a bit slow like me) and that is what I would describe as runners bliss.

To everyone who ran the Hood to Coast relay my sincere congratulations.  This was no easy feat no matter how great a runner you consider yourself to be.  If anyone out there is considering running this race I would highly recommend it.  This was truly a combination of fun and hard work; a test of endurance and patience, and a balance of nutrition and digestion while on the run.  FYI, if you’re too shy to poop in the port-a-potty known as the Honey Pot, then this race is definitely not for you!

I had a lot of fun with the Wednesday’s Weakest Link posts, and I’m not feeling so weak anymore, but it’s time to sign off on this one for good (or at least until next year).  Thanks for taking the time to read my posts.

Happy Running!

Wednesday’s Weakest Link

Weak Link by Jean James

Weak Link by Jean James

Ok I know Wednesday has come and gone, but I’m on vacation with my family, so writing has become incredibly difficult.  All those damn kids want to do is swim and play and eat and run around.  Those conditions are not very condusive for my computer.  So I have a quick minute to update my Wednesday’s Weakest Link.

My past week of training has improved.  I managed to upgrade from the trail to the street, which I have found to be way more difficult, but most of my running in Oregon will be on the street.

I just had my first meeting with the group of people I’ll be running with.  They all seem cool.  They better be, I have to live in a van with complete strangers at my smelliest;  best to have a good sense of humor.  I’ve been given my assigned legs of the race, and for the most part I’ve lucked out.  Two of the three legs are looking good, but there’s one leg I’m afraid is going to either make me or break me.

My middle leg is 6.8 miles long, is rated as hard and has a one mile uphill grade at the beginning.  Oh yeah and did I mention I’ll be doing this at night.  The only thing I have working in my favor is the many years I’ve spent up all night as a nurse working the late shift.  Although at least then I could take a nap.

So far my max run has been 5 miles, so I really have to kick it up a notch this week and try for 6.  I’m also eating like shit since I’m on vacation and I’m eating out every meal.  Today was the first day I even ate a piece of fruit.  I am, however, doing a lot of swimming with the kids so I guess that’s something.

I was told at my runner’s group meeting that I have to provide my own energy stuff.  Any suggestions would be helpful.  Someone mentioned something called ‘goo’?  I don’t have a clue.  Also any suggestions for energy bars would be helpful too.  Because we are living out of these vans, food needs to be non-perishable.  Things like peanut butter, beef jerky and salami were mentioned as possible grocery list items.  If I had to run on a belly full of salami I just might puke my way to the finish line.  I have a funny feeling I’m going to come home a few pounds lighter.

The night after my runners meeting, I ended up going out to the Bryant Park Cafe in NYC for dinner.  The food was amazing.  They happened to have the Quinoa on the menu, but after that ‘dirt’ comment, I chickened out and got the Bronzino instead.  I’m sure I made the right decision.  But I’m not counting it out, just building up the courage.