Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hood to Coast - Round 2

Sun setting over Portland

Moon between overpasses

Nothing like a relaxing weekend at the Blue Room Spa

Exchange 12
The Hawthorne Bridge

Jaime bringing it home for van 2

With our first round of legs over, we were able to get some dinner (Subway never tasted so good!) and freshen up at a teammate's apartment in Portland.  Most of my vanmates were able to get at least a little shut eye but, just like every Hood to Coast, I couldn't relax enough to sleep.

At 11:30pm, we loaded up the van and headed out to Scappoose.

This section of the race is terrible for traffic.  We had the same problem in 2007: traffic coming into the exchange get so backed up, the previous runner passes the van making the next runner and time-keeper race to make the hand-off.

Runners in the night

The thick dust clouds on legs 20 and 21

My turn to run came around 4:30am.   Leg 22 starts with over 1.5 miles up hill.  I took comfort knowing that once I finished the climb, the hardest part was over and everything was literally downhill from there.

The temps had plummeted from the mid-70s in Portland to the low 40s.   The run was very peaceful; watching my breath in the headlamp's glow, shooting stars and Milky Way peaking out from between the trees, the sound and smell of a creek or river to my left.  One of those wonderful moments during Hood to Coast that you realize just how unique of an experience this is.

I was generally alone, overtaking a few runners and occasionally becoming the road kill.  Vans zipping down to the exchange and a handful of on coming cars would momentarily light the way.  A couple stretches of road I got a little paranoid.  I could not see a runner in front or behind me.  The white fog line was tripping out my sleep-deprived brain.  And of course my mind goes straight to the "if an ax murder pulled you off the road, there'd be no one to hear you scream" type of thoughts.

Soon, the glowing red lights of the exchange traffic jam could be seen.  Even with some walking on the up hill, I finished in 1:08 - dropping my pace down to about 10 min/mile.

Sunrise in Mist
My body finally crashed and I was able to sleep for about an hour while we drove to the last super exchange.

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