September 3, 2014

Hood to Coast– The Race

I woke up Friday morning to an empty hotel room… all of my roommates had already hit the road for Mt Hood. Those of us that were still around, grabbed some breakfast and then finished getting ready.

I debated on whether or not to share this info, but I woke up with some, um, female issues that would prove to be interesting while living in a van for 30 plus hours. But, it honestly wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.

We immediately hit traffic leaving Seattle and basically never got out of it until we reached Seaside. IMG_3954.JPG

It made getting to our first major exchange a bit of a number crunch, but we made it work.

Crossing the bridge into Oregon…IMG_3960.JPG

Major exchanges stress me out. Mainly because there are so many flipping people and lots of people freak me out. I know, I know.. it’s weird, but it’s stressful and can send me into a panic attack.

Melissa handing off to Van Deuce’s first runner, Kevin (who is an absolute beast, FYI).IMG_3965.JPG


Team McGinger representing, at our first major exchange. I’m super sad this guy wasn’t in my van. Sean is one of the most accomplished endurance athletes that I know in person… and I had no clue until I started dragging information out of him. He is extremely knowledgable and an Ironman x2. I still can’t get over the amazing athletes that I now get to call my friends. I’m hoping some of it rubbed off by osmosis or something. IMG_3976.JPGFirst major exchange. ALL. OF. THE. PEOPLE. IMG_3964.JPG



We stopped to give Kevin some Nuun… and I’m pretty proud of this shot right here…. Let’s stop just for a second and talk about the amazingness of Megan Fay. Actually, I am not sure if words can describe how awesome she is… whatever we needed, she got. She was so helpful and always there to offer an encouraging word. She is a ROCKSTAR. Now… back to Kevin. IMG_3977.JPG
He came flying into the exchange before I was fully prepared.. I could see him running and had to haul it into exchange. My watch hadn’t even found satellites yet and didn’t until I was well over a mile and a half into my run. So, I was running blind and totally by feeling. I was feeling so much adrenaline from it being my first leg and kept trying to tell myself to slow it down, this was my easy leg and I had my mountain to climb at night. I could tell my legs were tired from all the walking the past two days and I silently cursed myself for it. It was hot.. midday hot… but somehow I turned it all off and just concentrated on enjoying the run.. I was running in Oregon, with no humidity, with some of the most gorgeous views. I ran through sprinklers when I felt they presented themselves and just enjoyed what I was doing. 
Coming in hot.. (Fun fact. I posted this picture to FB and was proud that I had both feet off the ground and Ann, my coach, comments to stop seining my arms around my body. I loved that way too much.)


Letting my legs recover… van style. IMG_3978.JPG

They called me a Nuun hoarder… they would be right.


We headed to Portland to hand it back to Van #1.. and it was at sunset.

Portland, stop with your breathtaking sunsets. IMG_4001.JPG

Doug is a rebel, I tell ya. IMG_3995.JPG

There was a van full of my people, y’all. IMG_3994.JPGHey Portland. I heart you… I also heart Old Dirty Sneakers and his Go Pro camera… he has some amazing shots, like this one. That I stole. Yours truly is in the bottom left corner.


After we gathered Liz, we went to eat… and now I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was delicious.. Jenny was gracious enough to let us use her house to shower and rest. That was sort of amazing. Thank you SO MUCH, Jenny!

It was after midnight when it was time to gather ourselves back into the van. Somewhere along the way in relays, you stop thinking in actual time, and start thinking in “leg” time. Port O Potty’s or, Honey Buckets in this case, become the norm for bathroom breaks. And 2am rap sessions are a must. Which we did.. not sure where that video is.. but I have a feeling the MULTIPLE videos of me singing and dancing in the van will surface… that’s the price you pay, I guess.

Heading into my next leg, I knew it was going to be tough. It was an almost 6 mile climb with an almost 800 ft elevation gain. Jenny grabbed me at the Portland exchange and said “No one has complaining rights but you. Seriously, your next leg is awful.”

I decided to put on my big girl panties and channel my running partner from Peavine for this run. As I started that first climb, I tried to concentrate on my form and staying steady. I think I did a pretty good job… The van stopped twice to give me Nuun and Megan told me “Take your time, we aren’t in a hurry.” I knew I wouldn’t make it without walking, but I vowed to make this my strongest leg and give it all I had. I continued my climb, and I could tell it was getting so much colder, since it was 3:30 and I WAS climbing a mountain, I was sweating beyond belief. I could see each breath exhaled in my headlamp.It was truly one of those “me and the road” type runs. Anyone that was passing me was sailing on out of sight. I realized that it was mostly men on my legs, and I guess this was why.  Eventually I found my only downhill, and I let it go. It was my only chance to give my body a break and make up some speed. I started passing people like crazy, and I enjoyed every bewildered look from a man as I sailed past them in a sparkly running skirt. It never occurred to me that people don’t know how to race a downhill. Let gravity take you… relax your shoulders, drop your arms, and just let your body recover. About halfway through, we hit the gravel portion of this leg… which was nothing short of miserable. The vans are creeping along next to you, but they are kicking up clouds of dust so thick that it’s like a fog that you can’t see through. I began a love/hate relationship with the vans.. from behind they helped illuminate the road ahead, but once they passed you, you were in a sea of grey. My legs were burning and hating me and I could feel the dust covering my throat and teeth. It was disgusting. But, I could look up into the sky, and see every star in the sky. It was breathtaking. It was so quiet and peaceful… it was worth every crunchy, gravely step.

I came into the exchange to no one… I waited for several minutes before Doug showed up… I was extremely sweaty and cold and just wanted to get in the van, but this exchange was such a cluster. I eventually got in, and immediately passed out in the first bench. It was somewhere around 5:00am and pitch dark outside. I awoke to a stranger sitting next to me and a van stopped in traffic….

To Be Continued…..



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  1. […] stranger sitting next to me in the van when I woke up. Not sure what I am talking about? Check out Part 1 here. Anyway, I woke up out my van coma in one of those “Who am I? Where am I? What year is […]

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