First of all I'd like to thank both Kate and Mike for putting together such an awesome event. They both spent such an incredible amount of time into the planning and except for a few rookie mistakes the whole weekend went well! Thanks guys!
I was in van 2 with Coach Mike, Kim, Nancy, Maria and Jyll. We had decided not to go up the mountain to cheer Van 1 on-instead we cheered from our beds. I however don't think I slept a wink Thursday night-was very wired and excited. We all had breakfast in Gresham together and then headed to meet van #1 at the Fred Meyer exchange.
I was runner #10 and met up with Mike on the Springwater trail.
Here I was waiting for Mike:
The handoff went well and I was on my way at 3:53 pm.
It was pretty warm and I took off fast. For the first 3 miles lots of bicyclists passed me going the other direction but I didn't see a single HTC runner. I was getting nervous that I was on the wrong trail (Nancy's biggest fear). Then I started getting passed by a few faster runners. The trail was nice but the last mile was on city streets-one big hill followed by a nice downhill finish. Garmin moving time was 59:31!
John (my ghostie from Pennsylvania) was running in step with me all the way-I figured he would leave me in his dust 'cause he's so speedy but he was a nice ghost!
I handed off to Nancy, stretched a bit and we headed to the next exchange to drop Kim off - not realizing we were in rush hour Portland traffic and battling battery issues.
First rookie mistake was not jumping out of the van at the exchange but deciding to park first-the parking was about 2 blocks further and down about a thousand steps. My legs weren't liking all those stairs after the run! Kim got there just in time to meet Nancy - with no potty break!
We headed out to get a battery for the van before heading to our sleeping place-Mike did a fabulous job getting the new battery installed and we were on our way in no time!
We were almost to Exchange 18 to get sleep and Mike realized the battery hadn't done the trick and it was really the alternator. We all were doing a bit of praying by this time!
But lucky for us and the whole team- Kim's husband John came to our rescue.
Jyll, Mike and I got a little bit of rest in a nice warm high school gym (this was right before exchange 18) while Kim and Nancy got everything transferred over to Sparky #2. Kim did take a shower first - she was the only one that got one! The rest of us just baby wiped it!
We then headed into our nighttime runs. Maria, Jyll and Mike were all before me. It was after midnight and there were getting to be many many vans on the windy mountain roads. It reminded me of the fair at night. Traffic was really slow. When Mike headed out for his gravel run we told him to take it easy and not try to break any speed records. We drove really slow because we were trying not to kick up dust and then the exchange was really really crowded. By this time everyone in the van except for me was pretty much out of it- except for Kim who was driving. We finally parked and tried to figure out where the exchange was in the dark. I had the timing clipboard as I headed to the exchange and there was MIKE! AGGGGGHHHH! I was trying to get my blinking lights and Garmin turned on while juggling the clipboard. So finally I got down there-talked to Mike a bit-wrote down his estimated time and off I went at 3:17 am.
The run started up a gravel path into COMPLETE DARKNESS. Now I'm used to running at night but this was pitch black. Luckily it only lasted about 1 minute and I was back on the main highway. It was a cool 45 degree night with an almost full moon. The uphill was over before I knew it and then I had a blessed 5 miles of downhill! I was a little slower than I expected but finished 6.81 miles in roughly 1:08. Passed off to Texas gal Nancy who was freezing in the 45 degree weather.
After our legs were done we drove to Exchange 30 and luckily got a place to park the van and sleep-this was the busiest exchange-20 min lines at the port a potties. Here's me in the sleeping bag on the left. I had brought ear plugs but both times I laid down I couldn't find them.
I still didn't feel like I slept but it was nice to get out of the van and lay down for a couple of hours.
To be continued: