Hood to Coast- Part II

It  was finally time to start the relay!  Luckily since I was in Van 2, we didn’t have to leave Seattle until around 10:30 a.m. so I was able to sleep in a bit and take my time getting down to the hotel to meet my van.  I meet my group at the Van and we quickly got settled (me in the very last row) and started our trek down to Sandy, Oregon.

This was one of my most favorite times of the trip because I really got  to know my van mates.  I sat next to Tanaya and quickly got to know her.  She is a massage therapist and is also very spiritual so it was really interesting getting to talk to her….I could seriously talk to her for hours and probably still have more to learn from her.  Tere and Alison sat in front of us and immediately they both felt like girlfriends from home….we all have kids so between talking about our kids and talking about running, we never ran short on conversation.  Jennifer was in the next row up and was right in the mix too- she has a popular blog and is a sponsored runner (she even has a spread in Shape Magazine! :)) so she was super fun to get to know.  Finally, in the front was Emily and our fearless driver, Vishal.  They had the very important job of keeping the tunes rolling and making sure we got to Sandy on time.  Emily had just moved to Eugene the week of the relay, so I was super impressed that she was able to drop everything and come do the relay….clearly this Girl has her priorities in order ;-).  Vishal was a very integral part of our team- he kept us laughing, hydrated and fed and just in general made our lives so easy.

Sweet Tanaya

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Alison getting ready to run…

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Jen and I…and I think that’s Vishal photobombing us :)!

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Our front seat crew- Vishal and Emily

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Tere getting ready to run her last leg…by this time she was feeling so sick but she was a trooper and gave it her all.

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So we arrived in Sandy with lots of time to spare, so we got real familiar with the Safeway parking lot and got to hang out with Megan and her crew while they gave out Nuun samples.  A quick word on Megan who I had talked to for a long time at the Garage event….this girl is seriously awesome!  She handed out sample after sample for HOURS and was still smiling at every person that approached the booth… the perfect person for the job :).

Cherry Limeade Van II Teammates 🙂

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The time finally came for our van to start our legs.  I was the first runner out so I got up to the street ready to see Sara come flying in….and flying in she came.  She had just had a baby 5 months before the relay but you’d never know it by watching her run!  I got the slap stick from her and started my first leg.  It was 6.32 miles and was rated Hard….and it felt HARD.  It was still pretty warm outside and this part of the relay was rolling hills, which have never (ever never) been a favorite of mine.  I knew that the Van 1 Girls had kicked butt and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone so I gave it my all and ended up with a ____ pace overall.  I was very happy to hand off to my teammate Emily :).

The next few legs were pretty uneventful and then the thing happened….you really can’t go into a relay of this nature without expecting something to go wrong.  Unfortunately for us, we had a lot of little things go wrong around the same event which led to  Alison being stranded for over an hour at an exchange point.  It was extremely unfortunate that it happened but by the end of it we were all so glad that everyone was okay, that it put things in perspective.

Jen, Tere and I on our last legs….really kind of literally since we were so tired :).

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We finally regrouped and restarted the relay, hoping that we’d still be in the running for a Top 5 finish.  By this time, two of our runners had also fallen ill and were doing what they could to continue the relay.  We finished up our first leg and had time to stop and eat before getting a little rest and starting our 2nd leg.  The next legs went on pretty uneventfully, although the legs had started to get really congested and we had a hard time getting our runners out in time to meet the ones that  were finishing up.  We all kept pushing hard though and we finally sent Jennifer out to finish up the last leg of the relay.

We rushed to Seaside and got out to meet her and the rest of our Van 1 Teammates at the finish line. It was a beautiful, sunny day and it felt great to cross the line and regroup as a team.  We quickly headed out to eat and drink and it was really fun to get to sit down, relax and share stories. The rest of the day was spent just hanging out with all of the teams….it was amazing to see how much we had bonded in such a short period of time.  I felt like we had all been friends for years and it was sad to only have one more night  with them.  As sad as we were for the night to end, we were exhausted and finally crawled into bed….before the fireworks.  Some people had to be up early for flights and others (like me) had chosen to get up early to do a little shake out run.

How good was that beer, Alison? 🙂

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Not a great shot, but here we are in Seaside 🙂

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I cannot thank Mason, Megan, Vishal, Robyn and everyone else for making this experience happen for me.  I had the time of my life and created friendships that will (hopefully) last a lifetime.  I wish I could rewind the experience and do it all again, but I’ll always have the memories….and $20 in my pocket :).

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About Paige

I am a runner, wife and mother of three. I've been running since I was a kid and had my first taste of victory when I beat all the boys (and girls) in my grade at a school run. Since then, I've had a love/hate relationship with running....I love to run but hate how the training can sometimes monopolize my time and prevent me from doing "fun" things. So, I try hard to find the balance between challenging myself with running, while still having lots of fun on the side.
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