HOOD TO COAST – PART 1

I have used the last two weeks to try and reduce my training a bit and for the better since I was in work most days of the week and I needed to step back a bit before beginning preparations for the NYC Marathon. I welcomed this as the sun rises after 6:30 am and it felt good to “sleep in” to adjust to it.  Gina found a sangria that can actually knock me out after one glass but that was indeed a night that indicated we both were very tired from a long week’s worth of life.

I am using the Hood to Coast relay as a segway into my training plan for NY but adding more running to the fold. This will be my third straight year on the Big Kahunas and Coach has assigned me the 5th spot again. I had this my first year and now the leg total has been extended to almost 20 miles with a very hard, moderate, and very hard rating. I welcome it as a chance to compare times but more so the final leg with its huge hill. I also love the chance to be a part of this team’s dynamic as the roster is stacked for a shot at a personal team best. We are in the Open Over 30 Category and have placed top 3 consistently earning re-qualification. If you don’t know about Hood to Coast, you have to rent the movie that came out last year. It is one of those events a runner has to do and I admit, it serves as a great test of fitness, recovery, sleep deprivation, and most important teamwork. I know many only by their nicknames and by fielding two teams, there are 24 of us sharing a house by the finish line in Portland, OR for four days of running. And that’s all you’ll see the whole weekend the 200 mile stretch from Mt Hood. The weather is awesome and scenery second to none, when you’re not running in the dark.
And so i board a flight westward at 6am having been up since 3. It will be a long travel day, but this is part of the race prep. Almost a forced rest day, but Coach and Sandman will have the crew ready to roll by the time we all sit down to the team dinner.

I am always amazed at how people can eat so much food so early in the morning. Its different if you get a cinnebon or the awesome dunkin donut but pizza? Chicken sandwiches? As if the morning became nighttime. Hilarious and always observable in airports. A half full flight is always a welcomed surprise too. The many years of traveling to events and races has allowed me to comprise a standard for easing the stress related to it. Always book isle seats. I sometime do a B going and a D returning. Switch it. Look for exit rows too or back half of plane. Get that first flight. Pack light and dress light. The crap people go through to get by the gate security and then try to lug a big “carry on” in the overhead bin. Unreal yo. Can’t lift it, check it. Why airlines continue with cart service I don’t understand. Here’s your bottle of water and enjoy your flight. Simple. What the heck you gotta drink wine for on a flight too? Bring that reading/work material. And hand sanitizer.

I got into Portland around 11:30, which means 2:30, but once you get to breathe the air its a second wind for sure. I quickly started to get text messages from some members and soon enough I saw Gasman and Maverick. We were waiting for Blackjack to arrive and he had a rental car as he was visiting family in Idaho. After warm welcomes and bro hugs we were off for the 90 minute drive to the house in Seaside. Its funny how you look around and feel its been a month since you have been to a place instead of a year. Not much has changed it seems. The weather though was beautiful with a crisp ocean breeze. We stopped for a bite as Gasman was hungry but by 3pm we pulled into the driveway of The Reunion House. G-Dog was grillin, Sandman, Coach, Cajun Queen, and Curly welcomed us as a Kahuna would. I quickly made my way to my futon bed and claimed it of which i will spend 8 hrs of sleep the next 3 days. Which means tonight only, then its 50 hrs of adrenaline. Within a half hour i was taking Gasman and Out around town on a 5.5 mile run. It was soooo good with the air, shaking out the legs, and just chatting. Curly rode a rickety bike along, and it was the perfect way to get settled. That and a nice warm shower, which will also be my last for a few days.
The team cooked up an amazing dinner as everyone arrived safe and sound. the house was a buzz with chatter and laughter. It is only 7 pm and i have been up almost 20 hrs., with the occasional eye rest on the plane. I sit by the open windows watching the sun set and it feels good. I am mentally getting prepared. I plan to shut it down by 10 after a team meeting. Our start time is 6:45 pm so i intend to get another run in the morning before we head out to Mt Hood. Kahuna time.

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