After-Nuun Delight

Hood To Coast – The End

I must admit that this last recap of Hood To Coast is going to be a little picture intensive.  Not sure how much there is to say about spending an afternoon on the beach!  I don’t remember what time we actually got to Seaside.  Thankfully we didn’t have to sit in traffic for very long – if you’ve read other recaps you’ll already know that it turned into a major parking lot.  As Van #1 we were able to get to the beach with plenty of time to get settled and wander around.

      
We got to enjoy the scenery:

I must have taken this shot – note the slightly skewed horizon.
And the food (anything was good at this point):

Mason, Jocelyn, Emily, Lauren, me – it’s hard to pretend to eat penne…

There were lots of things to see:



And people to meet:

A bunch of us with Hood To Coast founder Bob Foote, left in blue, and random dude (behind me).
Lauren with Bart Yasso of Yasso 800s fame.
We got to cheer for our teammate: 

Megan running to the finish
And for ourselves:


We wrapped up the day knowing we’d gone through an amazing experience with new friends:

I’d love to be able to tell you that this is the absolute last post about HTC.  Unfortunately I can’t do that just yet.  I have at least 2 more and they’re important: a huge thank-you to all of the companies that supported us (no, it wasn’t just Nuun) and what I learned during what can only be described as a whirlwind trip.

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Hood To Coast Leg #25 – And The Ugly

Saturday 27 August 2011 – Very Early A.M.


Before we get to the “fun” that was Leg #25 let me tell you about our driver, Mason.  You have to figure that any guy who is game to drive a bunch of strangers around for 3 days is going to be great.  Factor in a willingness to don a sparkly pink skirt, allow photographic evidence of it, run 17 miles (yes, you read that right – 3 legs of the relay) with our runners to keep them company and feeling safe in the dark, and you have an amazing person all around.  Oh, and I seem to have forgotten to mention that he’s the President of Nuun.  Yeah.  Had you asked me if I thought a) I’d be hanging out with him and b) that he wouldn’t be a stuffed shirt before the race I probably would have said no.  Not only is Nuun a great company, but (and I know everyone else on the team has either mentioned this or they would agree) they have a superstar staff. 

Much of the evening after my second run is a blur.  Mostly because I was fading fast.  The longer it was dark out the more I wanted to go to sleep.  Unfortunately my body didn’t want to let me.  I would have been chugging Pepto sooner – yes, the now infamous pizza strikes again – but our other van needed it too.  I had to wait until we could steal some out of Nuun Platuun’s van.  My dinner was sitting like a lead weight in my stomach and there was nothing I could do about it.  At one point I seriously considered making myself throw up just so I would feel better.  

Once we got to the van transition (and after finding our keys) we decided not to spend the night there, but drive on to the next one and catch a few hours there.  A good idea in theory, but not in practice.  Once we were close to Mist – the site of my 3rd run – we hit traffic.  Yes, in a relay there is the possibility of a traffic jam at 3 in the morning.  It took us 2-1/2 hours to go about 31 miles/50km.  It should have only taken us an hour total.  Thank goodness we didn’t sleep at the last transition.  We would have been S.O.L. the next morning and most likely would have missed our exchange.  

At this point all I wanted to do was get what little sleep I could before my run and make my stomach not hurt.  I got one of the two.  We crawled into the parking lot sometime after 5am.  Since only a few of us were awake we pulled out the necessary sleeping bags and all crashed in the van.  I think I went to bed at 5:45am and got up again at 6:30am.  That was the first sleep I’d had since 5:30am Friday morning.  Not entirely enough to feel ready for my run.

Upon waking I was hoping my stomach would feel slightly better. No such luck.  I ate half a banana, gathered myself as best I could and waited for Megan to literally appear from the mist in Mist.  As I started my knee felt much better.  I’d been able to get some insoles at Safeway at one of the exchanges.  Thankfully they were a sponsor and were open at 2am.  My  pace was decent and I had the start of “Let’s Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas on repeat in my head: “and runnin’ runnin’/and runnin’ runnin’/and runnin’ runnin’.”  It really is a beautiful area and it was the perfect temperature – just cool enough to need a light long sleeved shirt.  My groove was short-lived.  Between my stomach (a nice way of saying GI issues), the start of chafing (sleep deprivation = no Body Glide), and my shin starting to act up I’d slowed down to a walk.  When our second van drove by I just pointed to my shin as they drove by as an excuse for why I was walking.  There are some things that just don’t need admitting.  Except that they turned around and came back to check on me.  I can say after the fact that it really was appreciated.  However, at the time, I was more than mortified about my issues.  Jen, Mel and Kelly hopped out to see how I was doing and I promptly fell apart.  They were extremely understanding.  In fact, Mel sacrificed let me borrow a pair of capris.  Now that is teamwork.  

Eventually Tricia caught up to me and passed me.  I was pretty much done by then, had no idea how far I had to go and the little hill at the end didn’t help.  As much as I wanted to chick the guy that was even with me at the bottom of the hill I just didn’t have it in me to push it.  Handing off the baton was relieving.  It just sucked that I’d once again made my team wait for me.  I was 12 minutes over the expected time.         

Once we moved along I was finally able to get a little sleep.  I think I was out for about an hour during Kimberly’s leg just curled up on the back bench.  It was nice to both sleep and sleep off the disappointment of my run.  After that I was able to enjoy the rest of the legs and once we were all done we were off to Seaside!

Next: Saturday 27 August 2011 – P.M. aka Things Are All Good Again  



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


Hood To Coast Leg #1 – The Good

26 August 2011 – A.M.  Mt. Hood To Portland

Friday, as noted previously, started bright and early!  It was Hood To Coast Day!!!  We posed for the obligatory team shot.  

Mason, Jocelyn, Emily, Dorothy, Kimberly, Me, Lauren

It was at this point that I “lost” my first item.  Of course, it was my camera.  I knew that I’d thrown it down on my seat, but for the life of me couldn’t see it when I got back into the van.  I wasn’t able to locate it until we stopped for coffee a while later.  Turned out that it was under the front bench and I just didn’t look hard enough (which would be a continuing theme for the next 2 days).

Once we were packed in like sardines – between ourselves, our gear, 2 photographers and their stuff (including a bike we loved to hate) it was tight – we were off.  It’s a long drive to Mt. Hood.  Generally our time was taken up stopping for coffee or bathrooms and learning the ins and outs of Twitter.  I learned a great deal, but mostly felt out of the loop since I don’t have a phone that can use it.  My iPod was my friend after a while…

I honestly have no idea how long it took to get up to Mt. Hood.  But the reality of what was going to happen started to kick in once we started seeing vans for other teams as well as transitions and runners.  It was crazy to think that people had been on the road since 3:30 am!

It was at this point that I put in my music and started to zone out.  Yes, I could see the mountain looming larger, but I was happy to just shut it all out.  It’s not that I didn’t appreciate the beauty of the route or want to see what all the legs looked like (albeit backwards).  I just didn’t want to psych myself out and it looks an awful lot like British Columbia anyways.

We got to the top at about 11:45 and since I was set to start us off at 12:30 we didn’t have a lot of time to look around and take pictures.  All of us made sure we had our Nuun tattoos and we took a few group shots.  Other than that it was making sure I had all of my stuff together – a quick sprint back to the van for sunscreen was absolutely necessary – and getting to the start line.  Tricia and I both got to the line and before we knew it we were off!

It is definitely surreal to not only find yourself starting a 200 mile relay and running down a mountain, but to have your own personal photographer/videographer as well.  Becker tracked us from his bike as we ran.  I felt a little odd trying to focus on running and not turning to wave every 2 seconds.  I’m excited to see the footage, but also scared to see what my form looks like!
I finished my first leg about 2 minutes over the predicted time, but I’m super happy with it.  I found a last little bit of speed to track down a runner from Handful right at the end.  It wasn’t much but I think I got 2 “roadkills” for the leg.  Unfortunately that would pretty much be it for those for the rest of the relay.  I forgot to write down my times (a little disappointed about that) however I think that it was about 51 or 52 minutes for 9.08km/5.64mi; about a 5:40min/km.  At that rate it would have been a 10km PR!
The rest of the day sort of went by in a blur.  It was a lot of stops and starts to let out runners, give water to said runners because it was so hot and do it all over again until all 6 of us were finished!  Everyone did so well!!!
Next: Friday 26 August 2011 – P.M.  Portland and Leg #13 aka Things Go Awry

Team Nuun Tuesday – Let The Reports Begin

I can’t quite bring myself to say that this is the last Team Nuun Tuesday.  I’m pretty sure that I’ll have enough to write about until at least next week!  Let’s begin with a recap of Thursday’s activities, shall we?

25 August 2011

I had the luxury of driving down to Seattle to begin my epic weekend.  While to sign telling us that the border wait was 50 minutes was accurate it wasn’t any fun.  Especially when we discovered that the lane we were in was not the one that splits to go to the other booths at the end.  And it’s even less fun when all three of us started with the requests for the washroom with about 20 minutes to go. 

There’s a sign when you enter the United States that shows a bunch of national landmarks and Spud wanted to know what all of them were.  Thank goodness the Space Needle was on there because he kept asking to go see them.  Sorry, Bud, but the Statue of Liberty and St. Louis Arch are a little too far to drive today.  Guess what Colin got to do after they dropped me off?  After waiting so long to cross the line I decided that it didn’t much matter if I got to Seattle too early.  I’d already missed the first of the bunch that came in on early flights and knew that even if we drove straight down I probably wouldn’t have that much time to hang out.  It turned out alright, though, since I got to spend about half the day with my boys.

We’ve been down to Seattle enough to roughly know our way around.  I figured out about 1/2 hour outside of downtown that while I knew the address and which side of the freeway the Nuun office was on I didn’t actually have a map.  Oops!  The other problem was that we usually are able to take the express lane and it has different exits than the regular road so we didn’t see the one we were looking for.  Thankfully I’d remembered that they were near the medical centre so I knew to go north…  and we drove by the hotel on the way there too.  Our fears were all for naught since we got where we needed to be with minimal aimless driving.  After circling their block to find parking in a slightly sketchy area of town we went up and I got to meet Kim (event marketing and Nuun-Platuun-er)  for the first time.  It was a brief introduction and then Colin and Spud walked me to the hotel.  They didn’t have time to stick around because of parking so we said our goodbyes and I did my very best not to cry.  Tear up, yes.  Outright cry, no.  

I think I waited about an hour – reading the free Seattle magazine – before Melody called me and said they were on their way back from Pike Place Market.  I felt bad because it was hot (PNW hot, that is) and the walk was uphill.  In the meantime Tonia (toe-knee-ahh if you need the intensive or just call her T) arrived and got settled into our room.  She was very nice about me butchering her name at least 3 times!  We decided to go downstairs to wait for everyone in the lobby and I was pleasantly surprised to see about half a dozen bloggers sitting around chatting.  It amazes me how not awkward it was to meet everyone.

Once most of us were at the hotel we started with van decorations.  Let me just first say that our team went with an “ignorance is bliss” and “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission” attitude.  We hadn’t been told an outright no in terms of writing on the vans and not just the windows with our markers.  This is what we came up with:

I loved our design.  We made sure that people knew we were from Nuun as well as letting them know they could follow along/contact us during the race.  And I loved that it was rainbow-y.  It turned out to be really easy to spot out on the road and in the middle of a field parking lot.  I’m a little bummed that the photographer/videographer wasn’t there to document our decorating abilities since we did have a lot of fun doing it.

Once we were done it was time to head over the Nuun office to meet everyone and have dinner.  I have to admit that I love their office.  It’s on the fourth floor of a warehouse conversion and it’s just cool.  Yes, that is the historian in me talking…  We were introduced to the staff that would be joining us (Kimberly, Kim, Caitlin, Mason, Casey, Alex and Ken) as well as those that were just still around for the day.  After a round of get-to-know-you with everyone it was time for pizza and salads, beer and Nuun.  Ask Megan what happens when water accidentally gets into a Nuun tube and the lid is put back on!  After a couple of hours and a gift exchange – I got a sweet Austin, TX shirt from Tricia – we all headed back to the hotel.  I thought I wasn’t tired, but with an early wake up call (5:30 – ew!) I ended up going to bed at quarter after 9.  Since I was paranoid about missing my alarm on my watch I woke up at least 4 times before it went off…

Next up: Friday 26 August 2011 aka The Day I Started “Losing” Stuff 


Monday Musings: HTC 2011

This is by no means a recap of this past weekend at Hood To Coast with Nuun.  I’m pretty sure it’s going to take a week’s worth of posts to get all that down!  Here are just a few random things to tide you over….

  • I am actually not that sore.  Surprising, considering that I ran down a freaking mountain.  It must have been the almost 3 hours of rolling with the stick I did sitting in the border line up waiting to get home last night.
  • I am emotionally overloaded right now.  There were so many ups and downs (both literally and figuratively) this weekend that I’m trying to process.  Being the most introverted person in the van will bring that on.  Holy overwhelmed, Batman.  
  • Canada needs better data plans (re: cheaper).  My sad little flip phone was a slight embarrassment when everyone else had a pretty iPhone/Blackberry to tweet with.  I mostly just read over their shoulders and listened to my iPod.
  • I had an amazing team and I wish I got to spend more time with Van 2.  It felt like we only saw them for a couple of hours during the whole event.
  • How many companies do you know of where the president is game to not only wear, but run, in a sparkly pink skirt?  
  • We had an official photographer/videographer for the weekend.  I love this shot:
Taken on Becker’s iPhone
  • Watch for Nuun to be bringing out new flavours some time in the near-ish future.  We’ve been sworn to secrecy since they’re still testing, but there were a couple of good ones in the batch we got to try.  Sorry, Mason, but you know that one was just gross.  And, yes, I know that you didn’t force me to try it…   
  • Our team finished (unofficially) in 28:12:46, which was good enough for 4th in the Women’s Corporate Division!  That should mean an official invite to come back next year.  So, Nuun, do we get to make up the team again?!?  You know we’re all game!
This is going to sound exceptionally cheesy, but you’ll understand if you’ve run it: it’s a life changer.  Although I’m still decompressing – and it’s going to take a while – it totally lived up to the expectations I had.  Not just about meeting other bloggers and learning from them, but learning about myself too (that’s going to be a post in and of itself, I think).  

I’m going to miss everyone I shared a not-so-stinky van with.  Our relationships started as only having blogging (or Nuun) and running in common.  That was enough, though, for us to get each other.  This is an amazing community to be a part of.

Thank you again (and always) Nuun for choosing me!  
It really was an adventure of a lifetime!


Sorry, I Can’t Blog Right Now. I’m Busy Running Hood To Coast!

What?  You didn’t know I was running a 200 mile relay this weekend?  Have you been living under a rock or do you not read every post I write?  If you’re on Facebook you have no excuse not to know – 90% of my updates have been HTC related since the end of June! 

Anywho.  

Hood To Coast starts on Friday!  Guess it’s finally real since my stuff is all packed up and ready to go.  I’m not sure if I’ll even have time to think once things are underway.  Luckily both Nuun teams – After-Nuun Delight and Nuun Platuun – have the same, non-cringe-inducing start time of 12:30pm (it’s a staggered start from 3:30am – 6:15pm).  We received our detailed itinerary and, while most things are looked after, there are things expected of us.  Yes, we need to bring our own general supplies and such stuff, but we need to make Nuun look good too.  As Ambassadors we’ll be responsible for promoting Nuun and educating other runners about their product.  It’s actually quite a big responsibility if you think about it!*

Obviously I will be incommunicado over the next few days.  I don’t have a fancy, or even not-so-fancy, smartphone.  And even if I did I would have such a huge long distance/roaming charge that it wouldn’t be worth my while.  Here are a bunch of ways to follow along: 

Facebook: Nuun

Twitter: @ministryofnuun  and #nuun

The whole team on Facebook: Bloggers Spreading the Nuun Love Hood to Coast

After-Nuun Delight Twitter: @AfterNUUNDelite

Nuun Platuun Twitter: @NuunPlatuun

For official HTC updates:

Facebook: Hood & Portland To Coast Relays 

Twitter: @HTCRelay and #HTCRelay

To specifically follow me you can check at approximately the following times:

12:30pm (Leg 1)

9:30pm-ish (Leg 2) Based on HTC predictor. 

6:40am-ish (Leg 3) Based on HTC predictor. 

Check back often and look for references to #alanna (for all you Twitter-illiterates like me you can type that into the search) – that’s me!  



* Hopefully some of you have learned something new in the last couple of months too…