Hood To Coast Leg #13 – The Bad

Friday 26 August – P.M.

Once we finishing up our first 6 legs we decided to travel on to Portland in search of food.  We’d decided on pizza, but Twitter kept displacing the need to settle on a location.  It took a while – eventually light-headedness won out over debating how good the place should be – but we stumbled across Pizzacato.  Seriously good pizza.  And it was meant to be because when we walked in we discovered that they had a gluten-free crust option and their menu’s “new” logo was a Nuun-esque N in a circle.

Excellent one-time-only parallel park by Mason.

If you are wondering about the title of my post and why I labelled this leg “The Bad” the pizza started it off.  Yes, it was absolutely delicious, but apparently relays – and the ensuing starvation – will make you forget things.  Like how much peppers (in this case red roasted ones) fight with your gastrointestinal system.  Relays also mess with your time management skills.  We ate around 6pm maybe, but I seriously thought that I was running again around 10:30 or 11.  Umm, no.  Try 9:30pm.  The 3rd piece of pizza let me know it was a bad idea later on.

Took a picture so I could remember the name next time I’m in PDX.
Like my fashion sense?
Who wouldn’t want to be seen in compression socks, long shorts and a sparkle skirt?

Once we finished up with dinner we figured it would be a good idea to get ourselves to the next van transition area.  It only took us a couple of wrong turns and bridge crossings before we found it!  Since I was running I made sure I was all set with my lights, vest and other various necessities.  I somehow managed to lose my team for a few minutes – my idea to look for Mason was thwarted by the fact that most of the guys there were tall… – but I eventually rejoined them.

My hip started to give me grief so Kimberly was kind enough to tape it up.  I thought I’d try a little jog across the parking lot and back before my run and knew something was up.  The tape was doing its job, but my knee was starting to twinge a bit.  I thought that maybe it was just the after-effect of my long downhill and then sitting for hours in the van.  I thought I could tough it out and then tape it up too after the run.  I should have known better…  

The transition area was very busy and for all the looking for Megan that we did we still ended up not hearing our number.  All of a sudden she was there and I was yelling, “Hey, hey, hey” like an idiot as she passed me.  I took off like a shot and had high hopes for my second leg.  I met up with Becker (our photographer) on the deck of the Hawthorne Bridge and he took shots of my crossing.  Unfortunately I got to the middle of the bridge and discovered that the gates were going down for the bridge to go up.  ARRGGHH!!!  I was (along with about 20 other runners) delayed by 6 minutes for a sail boat to take it’s sweet time going down the river.  Once the gates were up we all were on our way again.  However, this is when I knew that my run wasn’t going to go all that well.

When ever I get knee pain – generally below my knee cap – it’s my shoes.  Seriously?!?  What worse time could they go?  I knew I had a lot of mileage on them, but really thought that they would last until after the relay.  I guess the run down Mt. Hood and the lack of time for the foam to rebound really killed them.

Leg 13 runs along the river through Portland.  It really was a nice route – lots of people were out for the evening so it wasn’t too scary.  I knew that I was pretty much at the back of the pack from the bridge, but I followed the blinking lights in front of me at pretty much the same pace.  At one point I had to cross some train tracks and am very thankful that I ran my little heart out to beat the train coming off the bridge (it was about 100m away).  Tricia told me after that she got stuck there for 13 minutes!  After I passed that point my knee was killing me so it was walk-run all the way to the exchange.  It was frustrating to say the very least.  Not only had I been delayed by the bridge, but now I was adding quite a bit of time simply because it hurt to run.  For as much as we all said that this wasn’t a race and it was for fun it sucked to think that I was letting the team down.  I hated knowing that they were standing around wondering where I’d gotten to.  I was having quite a little pity party until Nuun Platuun’s van drove by and cheered for me.  After that I started making deals with myself about how far I’d run before I would allow myself to walk.  Since I was running blind (no GPS and I think in km not miles) I was so grateful to see the exchange.  I handed the baton/bracelet to Dorothy and I was done!

You can’t say you didn’t see me coming!
(headlamp, vest w/blinkers, fluorescent sleeves, shoe blinkers and reflective laces)

This run was a struggle.  As said above, it’s hard to feel as though you’ve let down your teammates in some way.  I’m not the fastest runner by any means and I know that I was probably the slowest runner in the van.  To come in 10 minutes (at least) over the predicted time was crushing.  Obviously I made an effort at the end because everyone thought that I looked like I was doing really well.  The pizza that was so good a few hours ago also wanted in on the party and kept trying to come back up.  A few hours later I would have been pleased if it had…  Hard to stay positive when the only word you can come up with when you’re asked how the run went is “shit”.  

The interesting thing about a relay is that you can’t dwell on things for long.  The run blew.  There’s no other word for it.  Yes, there were extenuating circumstances.  I couldn’t control the bridge and I thought the shoes would be okay.  But it wasn’t like I could sit down and cry about it (stand, yes).  You just climb back into the van and hope you get to the next exchange when your runner does.

Next: Saturday 27 August 2011 – A.M. aka You Thought The Last Leg Was A Soul Killer


5 responses

  1. i would have totally gorged myself on pizza. way to get it done!

    September 1, 2011 at 11:03 pm

  2. I hear ya on the knee pain 😦 so frustrating. I have to admit, it's kind of funny now that we didn't see each other at first for the exchange. We made it through though, that's the important part!

    September 1, 2011 at 11:09 pm

  3. You guys got food? ?!!! Seriously, I had 4 proten bars, a cup of nuts, and a can of tuna during the relay 😛 We never stopped for food.

    I am so sorry you had such a rough go there 😦 You are such a team player, Alanna. Your kindness and assistance at the finish there really made my afternoon. I wouldn't have survived w/o you. I would take that over speed any day 🙂


    September 2, 2011 at 12:31 am

  4. Wym

    Pizza! I dream of good pizza. South Texas only knows bbq. This makes me wish I lived up north for sure!!

    September 2, 2011 at 1:39 am

  5. Pizzacato is a Portland MUST-HAVE! Way to persevere and get er done! The best part of being on a relay is you are on a TEAM and everyone is there to support and build each other up! You ladies have all inspired me, and on October 12, I will be submitting my application for Hood-To-Coast 2012

    September 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm

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