Up until this year I’d run Hood to Coast 4 times with the most recent time being 2011. I’d had a good run, 4 successful years with only some minor knee issues. And then honestly I can’t remember why I quit. I think 2012 rolled around and my knees were pretty sore or I didn’t want to risk injury and considered myself retired. In 2013 I was pregnant so it wasn’t even a question and in 2014 I had a 6 month old and was nursing (and not in shape) and then 2015 I was pregnant (AGAIN) and then in 2016 I had a 3 month old and really not in shape. Chris continued to do it all of the years but 2016 because he had just had knee surgery.
So sometime this winter Chris found out his buddy got a team and I was in pretty good shape and honestly thought training for it would help me loose the last of my baby weight so I said I’d sign up to be an alternate, thinking even if I get on the team it wouldn’t be until later in the summer if someone dropped out and I could see then if I’d really want to do it. Well fast forward two or 3 days and I got an official invite to join. So I did. I didn’t really think much about it until end of May, beginning of June when I started training. 3 days a week I ran. Started with 3 miles and ended up working my way to 6. I actually pulled out my Nike+ app and realized I hadn’t run in about 4 years! But I did it and actually felt pretty darn good. I did not however loose any baby weight, in fact the opposite happened and I gained weight! Turns out my body likes weight based exercises and long stints of cardio doesn’t really cut it :( That part was definitely frustrating as was the fact we struggled most of the summer with finding a babysitter and I almost had to drop out but my mom came in the clutch and said she’d watch the kiddos.
I ran so much this summer – Sunriver, the beach and lots of lunchtime runs around the Hollister trail. The whole summer I felt pretty good which was rare, limited knee and IT band pain up until about 3 weeks before the race when I got new shoes. Same Pegs I’d trained in but an updated model. And every time I ran in them my right knee started to hurt. So much so I went to acupuncture and the lady told me I shouldn’t even run! So I actually dropped out. A week before. The team replaced me and I spent one day incredibly conflicted. Do I risk hurting my knees or sitting around that weekend bummed I didn’t do it. So the next day I begged the captain to get back on and after some shuffling I was back! And in a last resort went back to running in my old (gross, muddy, sandy) shoes.
The day of the race comes and everything seemed to go off without a hitch. The weather was perfect, our van was great – two people I’d never met and who had never run the race before but they were so great! I ran leg 4 and ran a 7.3 miler at 11:30, a 4 miler at 11pm and another 4 miler at 7:30am. My first run was tough because it was long and hot and I was running down hwy 26 surrounded by semi trucks and nothing beautiful. Leg 2 was on hwy 30 which was equally ugly but the stars were out so I kept looking up and appreciating the beauty of what I was doing. And leg 3 was just freaking gorgeous. Out on Jewell along country roads just as the sun was rising. So pretty.
Our van was done by about 10:30/11 so after handing off to Van 1 we went to Aunt Randi’s to shower and relax before heading to the beach to meet van 2. The weather was incredible. By far the best beach party weather yet. Our team did the whole thing in about 28ish hours, coming in 37th in our division and everyone had a blast. Besides runner 9 having to run a couple extra miles there were no issues. It was literally the perfect Hood to Coast and definitely made me want to sign up to do this again which is crazy because going into the race Friday morning I said this was the last time I was ever going to do this crazy thing ;)
In the end, I am so happy I did it. This has been quite the year for me – having my 2nd kiddo and then the whole first year with him and the colic, reflux, no sleeping. And the craziness of work and a new job and adjusting to life with 2 kids and struggles as Chris and I found our grove. I thought about all of these things as I was running and about how different this race was than the past I’d run. About how this year even though my pace may have been a little slower I was so much stronger than ever before. And that even with two kids and in my mid 30’s this mama still had it!