Ten weeks out, I just got a tad more scared. Hood to Coast teams that got through the lottery system that determines whether you’ll have a summer full of intense running trails or a relaxing summer enjoying leisurely jogs, perhaps running that lovely race in the wine country, are firming up plans. Some team members have dropped out after the initial excitement of entering the lottery almost 9 months ago. Running 15 miles in 24 hours while driving across the state in a van in the dead heat of August no longer sounds appealing to some people. That means spots have opened up…and I took one.
I’m not really a runner, it’s the solitude and lack of opportunities to talk that throws me off. I’m more of a team player but I’m still competitive. I quit soccer in eighth grade because as I got older, the coaches made me run miles and miles for no reason…or rather for ‘conditioning’. And just forget about swim team, I quit that very early on. I learned quickly that no one can hear me talking underwater and for that matter, I have nothing to say at 5 a.m. practices. I continued playing volleyball because there are about 12 other people to talk to and I assumed that there isn’t a lot of unnecessary jogging. But even those coaches made me run one mile every single day. I would dread that mile all day at school while plotting ways to get out of it. By default I have some running experience going into this relay race. And Hood to Coast constitutes a team sport, right?
I’m still not entirely sure I have good reasoning for committing to the largest relay race in the world. I tried signing up three years ago and took a deep sigh of relief when our team wasn’t picked in the lottery. Now I’m 10 weeks out and I lie awake at night worrying I’ll twist my ankle, faint in the heat and the ambulance won’t be able to find me, or throw a tantrum at 4 a.m. when someone eats the last Clif Bar and my team leaves me on the side of the road. There are a number of things that can go wrong.
The reason I did it? Bragging rights…obviously. I said I was competitive and who doesn’t walk with a little more swagger on Monday morning at work and can say, “I missed that meeting because I was running Hood to Coast, that means Mt. Hood to the coast…no big deal. How was your weekend?” The accomplishment of doing something so out of the ordinary and difficult for me will clear me for at least another year on having to make any new goals. But I need help accomplishing this goal.
I have taken to the social media world and asked people I know and people I don’t know. What’s your best advice for running Hood to Coast? I am looking for the real advice, the advice that will help me through the middle of the night when I want to quit or the post 6-mile-run van ride.
These tips are not scientific and I take no responsibility if you actually follow them and mayhem ensues. Here are my top 10 do’s and don’ts for running Hood to Coast in no particular order of relevance:
- Do take 4 Advil and drink a beer before your last leg
- Do bring diarrhea medicine
- Do fill up a water bottle with Starbucks Iced Via coffee for the middle of the night leg
- Do bring a foam roller for the van to ease post-running stiffness
- Do train by running hills, hills, and hills!
- Do decorate your van to increase your festive mood at 4 a.m.
- Do strategically pick your sleeping spot at the rest stop in the middle of the night because it’s likely another sleep deprived van driver will run you over
- Don’t eat a hot dog when your team’s vans are out of cell range as your next leg is likely to be next up and you don’t know it (maybe this was just a personal lesson learned for this guy)
- Don’t drink an abundance of Gatorade with energy gummies as they can create the perfect storm in your stomach while running
- Don’t do it…at all (thank you for that advice, but it’s too late now!)
Give me your best advice for running the ‘Mother of All Relay Races’. We all know I’ll need it.