Marathons are so last month.
It’s August, which means… it’s time.
It’s time to relay.
Despite a break last year (after five straight Augusts of togetherness), turns out that I just can’t quit you, Hood to Coast. We started out strong in 2008 and fell in love real hard, real fast. And then we had some ups and some downs and I even stepped out on you a couple of times with another relay. But I never stopped loving you and I never stopped thinking about you and I’m so excited that we’re about to give it another go next week.
And who do we have to thank for playing Cupid this year? Why, my good buddies at Nuun, of course.Two years ago I applied to be on Nuun’s HTC team and did not get selected, but my kickass consolation prize was a spot on one of their Ragnar Relay teams, and then I also ran Ragnar Vegas with them last November. But always, always creeping around in the back of my mind was Hood to Coast. So when Nuun again put out the call for applications earlier this year, I jumped. This time I was selected as an alternate and a few months ago got word that there was a spot open for me.
So this is why, ass early next Thursday morning, I’ll be heading north to Seattle for less than 24 hours of team togetherness before heading south again to the start line at Timberline. A little counterintuitive I know, but since Nuun is based in Seattle and the majority of the team is coming from all over the country, it makes sense to meet there and spend some time getting to know each other, drink of the beer and eat of the food, decorate our vans and then make the trek to Oregon to run. You can take a peek at all the cool kids I’m going to meet very soon here.
Right now, eight days out from the start of the race, the thing I love the most is that I both know exactly what to expect and not at all what to expect. After I ran Ragnar Vegas in November, I talked about what relays mean to me and how after a mere 30ish hours together, people you previously knew nothing about, are somehow your family. Even though at this point I’ve exchanged little more than social media niceties with most of my teammates, I feel almost certain that by sometime around 9 or 10 p.m. next Friday (and quite likely before), I will have added at least a handful of new folks to my tribe. The whole thing is both an unknown and a comfort and after kind of ignoring it all for much of the summer because I was so deep in marathon prep (and then recovery), I am really, truly, FINALLY excited and ready to do this.
Has anyone picked up yet on what I haven’t talked about in this post? The actual running part of Hood to Coast. Um… well… that’s because… uh… Ihaveonlyruntwiceinthelastmonth.
The Missoula Marathon was one month and one day ago, and in the time since, I have logged somewhere in the neighborhood of six miles. Total. First it was recovery, then it was kinda being lazy, then it was, “God, running sounds like SO MUCH WORK.” So I didn’t and I haven’t and I’ve felt mostly okay about that. I have spent the last three years training consistently for one race or another. Nonstop. That doesn’t mean that I’ve been insane about it or log 100 mile weeks or anything, but it has been over three years since I didn’t have a training schedule always there, always in my brain, always reminding me that I was (or more often wasn’t) hitting my mileage. This last month of relative, blessed inaction has been surprisingly nice. But it’s time to pull the shoes outta the corner and run on legs that (after so much time off) had better be fresh.
I’m well aware that if any of my teammates are reading this, they may very well be thinking, “WHAT THE HELL? This chick hasn’t run more than twice in the last month?!” Let me just say – admittedly to a whole bunch of people who have never met me – guys, I got this. Really. I will run some between now and next Friday and I’m healthy and uninjured, if maybe the tiniest bit rusty. It’s going to be fine. Really. Really. Okay, maybe that last “Really” was a little bit to convince myself as well…
I’ll report back when it’s all over to let you know how it went and what it felt like to bomb down a 1,500 foot descent in my first leg (I’m running legs 2, 14 and 26 for those who are interested in that sort of thing) and how much of a dick I was at 3 in the morning when I was tired and cranky and most importantly, how much more deeply in love I’ve fallen with the race and joy and mess of it all and the people I don’t yet know, but am about to have a whole lot of fun with.