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Need to catch up? Find the Hood to Coast Pre-Party Here. And my giant kissfest with Nuun & Co. here.

We Watermelons piled into Van 2 and headed out of Seattle around noon. We didn’t anticipate starting running until about 6 p.m., and as Runner 11, I likely wouldn’t be on the course until 9. Cue a very leisurely ride to Sandy, OR. Let’s use this time to introduce you to my van-mates.

View from the van on the drive to Oregon.

View from the van on the drive to Oregon.

Runner 7 was the little powerhouse Meghan B. She is from Jersey, she is young (23!), she is confident. Speed honed in youth aside, If her constant smile and can-do attitude is what running competitively in high school and college does for you, then I really hope my daughters continue to run.

Runner 8 was Megan H., also a young’un, also a speedy East-coaster, she writes for Runner’s World and loves the sport. She puts together a lot of the motivational quotes for the RW site, and for good reason–she was very encouraging along the way.

Playing the unfortunate role of Runner 9 was Laura T., a Nuun employee from here in the Atlanta area. She is a rock–a solid runner who attacked all three of her difficult legs and never uttered a word of complaint. She is also so kind and thoughtful–great qualities in a van-mate.

Handing off to me was Runner 10, Lisa M. She is very transparent online so I knew from our Twitter conversations and her blog that she is a genuine, caring person. She also has some knowledge of chronic pain and of injury so for me, she was particularly good to have around as I struggled through the mental and physical strain of doing this race injured.

Runner 11: Yours truly

Our anchor was Devon M., who is just an all-around awesome lady. She is collected and even, and has her head on straight. She is a solid runner, and completely drama-free. Not to mention adorable. I’d like to have a Devon dolly to keep in my pocket just to cheer me up sometimes. 🙂

And let us not forget the fearless Warrior Behind the Wheel: Casey. Nuun CFO and devoted Huskies fan. He drove that 15-passenger van like it was a Miata, and only took out two curbs that we know of.

All the sparkle, none of the drama!

All the sparkle, none of the drama!

 

Can I just say how nice it is to have a drama-free van? I’ve been fortunate to have very little van-drama in most of the relays I’ve done, and frankly, I don’t know why anyone would want to create drama. The race hands you enough true, drama–save your energy for that.

About the worst thing that happened along the way was our first trip to Safeway, in which we were denied on our quest to invite Stacy into our van. It’s a relay essential, y’all, and we very nearly did not get them. Luckily all was righted at our next stop and we were pretty much Powered by Stacy for the rest of the relay.

All the Stacy's

All the Stacy’s

The Nuun bar. All the electrolytes you could desire.

The Nuun bar. All the electrolytes you could desire.

 

So, here’s the part that tells you how yes, I have a little bit of the sad over being in Van 2. See, Van 2 does not get to go up Mt. Hood. Hence, like half of all Hood-to-Coast-ers, I have no awesome jumping-with-the-mountain-behind-me pics. I get why that is, with traffic going up and down a big ole mountain but if you’ll allow me a moment… *Whine.*

Okay, all done.

We made it to Exchange 6, which was in the parking lot of a Safeway in Sandy. We all got waaaaaay too excited about seeing the Dead Jocks van as we were pulling in. Also, we were cutting it pretty close so we got Meghan all safety-geared up and sent her out on the course to take the slap bracelet baton from Catey.

Look closely and you can see the Dead Jocks van!

Look closely and you can see the Dead Jocks van!

Afterward, we gathered everyone who was still there from the Nuun teams together for a picture. Team Lemonade had arrived, all of Watermelon, minus Meghan, was there, and even parts of Nuun’s competitive Team Cherry Limeade were still on site. What I did not realize was that the person who was gathering us for the picture had nothing to do with the teams… except that he is a race director wants a certain member of Team Lemonade to help him promote his race in Oregon. And so, after he’d taken the picture he loudly exulted “Yeah! It’s HOLLY ROBERTS TEAM!!!” and got on the phone to… tell someone he’d been successful in finding her? Who knows, but it was funny. Holly told us what was going on and we giggled and giggled. Since she was so mortified, and since I am just that mean, I pretty much took immediately decided that the #teamhollyroberts needed to became a thing. And so a joke was born. Holly, it was an honor to be on Team Holly Roberts. May it happen again. 🙂

Team Holly Roberts.

Team Holly Roberts.

Soon after we needed to get on the road to make the next exchange. The two Meg(h)ans are speedy and were on fresh legs. The slap bracelet went from Meghan to Megan to Laura to Lisa and soon I was up. We were pushing it coming into Exchange 10. Dark was coming on, and we stumbled to the exchange not long before Lisa came in.

Lit up for my night run. How cute is the pink Amphipod flower and vest?!?

Lit up for my night run. How cute is the pink Amphipod flower and vest?!?

I was nervous going into this run. Like, nervous to the point that I’d had to really work hard to enjoy the trip up to this point. I will tell you that getting on the plane to Seattle was pretty much one of the most selfish things I’ve ever done. I flat didn’t know if I’d be able to run. I said that know matter what I’d finish the legs–I was not going to let anyone run for me as I’d had to do during Ragnar Chicago. But I didn’t know what price that would come at: Either what I might injure or re-injure, or how much time I’d cost the team. I’d been in a lot of pain during and after Thursday’s Green Lake run. My IT Band is pretty much well, but other parts of my body have been doing a lot of compensating. But my left glute and hamstring were so tight and they were hurting a lot. The top of my right hip has also been acting up, in the form of sharp pain. This is an injury that I’d struggled with in 2012, but which had disappeared after I switched shoes last fall, had suddenly returned about a week before. That said, I do not advocate using a ton of NSAID’s, especially during running. But for this, I took Advil prior to the run, and it got me through. Kisses for you, Advil.

Leg 11 takes you on a paved trail through parts of Portland;  mostly industrial. I’m not a huge fan of paved walking trails, as they tend to attract backpack-carrying Hoodie wearers, which is all well and good but who tend to look creepy after dark. Sorry, backpack-carrying hoodie wearers of the world. But there also were several cyclists out there and a lot of runners so it wasn’t too creepy, even though the area was so very industrial. Looking at the satellite of it now, I’m a) glad I didn’t look at the satellite imagery of the area earlier and b) glad I was running it at night or else I’d have been bored looking at the warehouses. The path was traffic-free except where it crossed streets (and the volunteers were pushing the light-change buttons for us) and great to run on, save one thing: The path went by some sort of Food Truck Extravaganza. And yes, it was 9 p.m. and we hadn’t yet eaten dinner. No, I did not stop. Yes, I wanted to.

 

This run was the best of the three for me, and that ain’t saying much. Everything hurt but I was so, so happy to be out there, and running, and numbed enough by Advil that I could ignore the pain. I came into the exchange happy to be there, happy to be done, and happy to be sending Devon off to finish up our first legs.

Up next in my Leg Two Recap: Don’t Be Cruel, and A Seat at the Table for my Foam Roller.

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