Published August 27th, 2008
When last we left our intrepid runner she was suffering from a mild case of vertigo as she readied herself for her first leg. We now turn to her official race report.
Dubbed the “mother of all relays,” Hood-to-Coast stretches 197 miles from Mt. Hood to Seaside, Oregon. More than 12,000 runners participate; each team has 12 runners in two vans who run three 5-mile legs (give or take a couple of miles). I ran it in the mid 90s with a corporate team and have been eager to run it again ever since. It’s become so popular, race organizers instituted a lottery system a few years ago.
When I saw a couple of my fellow Tapirs were running the race I emailed them in January to let them know I was available (teams often have openings as people drop out due to injury). The Femme Fatale women’s masters team (age 40 and over) had an opening since several members started a supermasters team (age 50 and over). I didn’t realize at the time they were a competitive team that placed every year, guaranteeing entry into the next year’s race.
During our team meeting the night before, our captain Kris handed out our estimated time/paces for each leg based upon the 10K times we provided. I had based mine on my speedy Arlington race, but as I looked at the sheet I thought there was no way I’d be hitting those paces given my vertigo. My first leg (leg 8 of the relay) was an easy 4.55 miles with an estimated 7:53 over pace. Yikes! My second leg (leg 20) was ranked “very hard” as it included 800 feet of elevation gain over five miles, finishing with a 3/4 mile downhill. The estimated pace for that leg was a much more reasonable 9:46. My final leg (leg 32) was a moderate one — 4.1 miles over rolling hills with an estimated overall pace of 8:52.
Because we were a faster team, our start time wasn’t until 4:15 p.m. Since I was in Van 2, I wouldn’t run my first leg until almost 10 p.m. However, that would be the only leg in the dark, so it was good to get it over with. We took off from Kris’ house at 5:30 p.m. for the hour+ drive to the Fred Meyer in Sandy, OR, where Van 1 would hand off to our van. My van mates were a great group of women: Lynnette, an Ironman triathlete running her first Hood-to-Coast (and her first relay); Rebecca, Alicia and Cindy, long-time Femme Fatales; and Kris, our team captain.