What I Learned From Running Hood To Coast
Posted by Stephanie
on Sep 7, 2012 in My Running
Last weekend I ran Hood To Coast, the ‘Mother of all Relays’, I was one of the lucky ones chosen for a spot on 1 of 3 Nuun sponsored teams! It was my very first relay race, so I had no idea what to expect.
Hood To Coast is a 199 mile relay that starts up on Mt. Hood, Oregon, it’s route runs through Portland and ends in Seaside, Oregon on the beach! There are 2 vans per team and 6 people in each van. Every person is responsible for running 3 different legs that vary in length; anywhere from 3.5 to 9 miles. It’s done over a period of 24+ hours and you spend your time running, but also eating/living/sleeping inside a smelly van. Sound fun, right?
It was not only fun, it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Not only did Nuun go above and beyond with taking care of us, the other runners were nothing short of spectacular.
There was surely a variety of runners, everyone was different, but we were all there for 2 things; to run hard and to have fun doing it!
So, what did I learn from my first 200 mile relay experience?
- It’s not just about the running. Sure, it’s a race and you have to actually run, but I came out of the weekend feeling so lucky and fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful women from around the country. It was more about the teamwork, the community, and the relationships made in the process.
- Be careful what you eat. Luckily, I didn’t have problems with this, but a lot of people around me did. I did have some minor stomach issues, but I don’t think it had to do with what I ate. I tried to be super careful and mindful of what I was eating and when. I chose a dinner that had a very low amount of fiber (no salad!) and I made sure to stop when I was full.
- Runners are inspiring. This one’s a no-brainer. My friend asked me last week if I was feeling burnt out from marathon training and my answer was surprisingly “No”. Coming back from Hood to Coast left me feeling renewed, it reminded me why I love to run and that I want to keep going. There were so many FAST runners all around me and I thrived off of all of them. I’m not a fast runner by any means, but it was so inspiring and motivating to be surrounded by so many modest runners. I hope I grow up to be like them one day!
- Sleep is overrated. I went into this race thinking I wouldn’t sleep at all, which turned out to be the correct attitude. I did manage maybe an hour or two of sleep in the van, but there is so much adrenaline going on around you, who wants to sleep? I didn’t want to miss a single second!
- I love running on a team. Running on a team gives running a whole new meaning. Going into this, I was worried about letting people down if I didn’t run a specific pace, but it wasn’t like that at all! None of us were in it to win it and the camaraderie and support from all of the teams was amazing. I not only ran hard for myself, but for my team! Even though nobody actually cared how fast I ran, I knew they were counting on me to keep us going strong.
Running Hood to Coast with Nuun was and will always be one of the best running experiences of my life. I don’t know how I will ever run another relay after this, it’s going to have a lot to live up to!
Would you consider running a relay race? Have you run or heard of the Hood to Coast Relay? What are your tips for a relay race? Please share in the comment section below.