Wow, that was a crazy and fun race weekend. Hood to Coast 2010 found me joined up with Monkey Butter Express, a team consisting of a few old friends and a whole bunch of (now) new friends. For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to break my report of it into two section - The Run and the Fun. This one will be mostly about the running.
I was in Van one (Van-tastic!) and my legs were 5, 17 and 29. After our runners 1-4 got the pounding downhill from Timberline out of the way, I took over on leg 5 and had about 3 miles of flat before three miles of a pretty good uphill.
Since the elevation was so much lower than Reno, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel out there - sometimes I don't notice much of a difference, like at Northern California races, but I sure felt the extra oxygen in Oregon. My speed surprised me - I had thought I'd be in the 8-8:30 mile range for the flats, and 9:00+ on the uphill, but the miles kept coming in lower than I thought. Turned out the first half all came in under 8:00/mile, and even on the hill it was more like 8:40. And I was smiling, even while going up -
After a crazy van exchange handoff, we had some dinner, a little rest, then headed out to our next set of legs. Nighttime now, and wearing all sorts of reflective and flashing gear. My leg, 17, was pancake-flat on the race packet course description elevation profile, but turned out to have some annoying hills. But I do like running at night - feels like you're floating - and the miles kind of just slipped away.
This leg took me past a whole bunch of churches, and some weird religious chalk graffiti on the road - "Sandie, come back to Jesus" and stuff like that. Also, some of the faster teams were starting to pass us at this point, so every once in awhile a speedster or two would blow by and give me something to follow for awhile. I kept my mile splits all right around 8:00 here, for an average of 7:56.
More crazy van hand-offs, some getting lost in the middle of the night, and finally a little rest, we were up early for our last set of legs. By the time I ran leg 29, it was getting pretty warm.
The elevation profile of this one was almost a perfect pyramid. Up 3 miles, down 3 miles. The first couple miles of the climb were nicely shaded, but the last mile (where it got the steepest) were in direct, beating sun. Had to take my glasses off and wipe sweat out of my eyes a couple times during that section. My wonderful teammates stretched toilet paper for me to break though at the top of the climb (apparently a tradition) and the downhill was deliciously in shade.
All that was left was a ride to the beach and a seat in the beer garden!