If you want to see what the elevation profile of what runner number 10 (my leg) of the Hood to Coast Relay is, this is not the recap to read. Looking for detailed descriptions of planning and executing a flawless transition between all runners with secret shortcuts to get your vans where they need to be before every one else? Yeah, you won't find that here either. Nor will you hear about how many people I may have passed during each of my running legs. Details surrounding the exact specifics of the race itself can not only be found more handily in many other places but they can be told to you by people who have experienced the HTC, five, ten, even thirty times. As for how I ran specifically, for the most part, not many care.
This is, instead, a recap about intensity, gratitude, kindness and fun.
begin, in my very first leg of this relay, it appears I
aggravated/created a partial tear in my Achilles tendon/gastrocnemius.
Not the end of the world but a definite end to my immediate running
plans. While I finished my other two runs, I did so gingerly and paid
close attention to any potential damage I would cause. No race ever is
worth long-term health. Fortunately, I was able to finish without much
worse for the wear, especially since I was such a late addition to this
are fantastic because of the intensity one can have during their own
running and the silliness which can happen when they are not. The
seriousness each runner takes with their own leg is balanced by how
little others actually care about their teammate’s performance during
those very same legs. Didn’t run your projected time? So? As long as you
had fun and gave your best, the team is happy. Very few will berate
their buddies who gave what they had that day. And if they do, I have a
feeling those people are the ones who never get invited back.
get me wrong: people take this race seriously, even if they are
sandbagging how much they actually do care. This is because people do
not want to be the weak link. They want to be the one who can be
depended upon. Need someone to run an extra mile (or four) because van
traffic is so bad that vehicles take over two hours to go two miles
(this happened and as of yet there is no real explanation as to why it
did)? Well, pretty much every runner is happy to add to their total for
the sake of the team. The team comes first.
fact, the “team” becomes this amorphous entity which takes on a life
and presence of its own. Even within the two separate groups of runners
who barely interact, an ego and an id can rise and fall to balance one
another out. One van is more stoic and anal; another is more wild and
flying by the seat of the pants. Then that ingrained irrevocable
identity can switch magically in the middle of the night from one group
to the other. The “team” is finding its own yin and yang.
team, the Fighting Squirrels, was comprised of 11 other great guys. It
was an honor to be amongst them on this journey. In a little over 25
hours, we experienced lost runners, mixed up exchanges, nearly
overturned Chevy Suburbans, tremendous gastrointestinal distress and
more inside jokes than normal people gather through months of being
around each other. (“How many is a Brazilian?”)
the end, crossing the sand to the finish line (albeit a tad hackneyed
in its manufactured-ness even if I understand why) was not a spiritual
experience. But it wasn’t far from one. I knew just one of my teammates
before the race started. Now five of them are good friends and the six
in the other van are, at the very least, close cousins.
Squirrels put on a great show and ran well. More importantly we had a
great time doing it. In addition, it sure is nice to know I picked up
eleven more local running buddies. I can't wait to go searching for nuts
Wait...that came out wrong. Where's the damn delete button?