Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Hunger Games & A Rainy Windy Run

While I was dying to go see Hunger Games at midnight on Thursday like some of the rest of you crazies, I knew it would probably literally kill me.  But don't you worry your pretty little minds, people throw rocks at things that shine, I still made the movie a top priority.  When we arrived in Las Vegas Friday night, JMan made fun of Molly and I because the very first thing we wanted to do on our mini-vacation was sit in the hotel room and peruse the extremely amazing magazine Molly brought.

Look at this rock star of a People magazine Molly brought along.  I knew I liked her for a reason. 

This was the special edition magazine we were fawning all over.

So on Saturday morning while the boys were still sleeping we headed out bright and early to see the movie.  I'm assuming most of you have seen it by now, I purposely waited on posting this just to make sure (aw, look how thoughtful I am!), and although there's no spoilers below, if you want to know NOTHING about the movie skip the next two paragraphs. 

I don’t think I’ll spoil it for you though by saying I LOVED IT.  Wow.  I was in a complete state of panic / anxiety / fear / tears for the entire 2.5 hours, which I thought was impressive given that I already knew what was going to happen.   For once, I actually thought the movie did an excellent job of bringing the tone and feel of the book to life, TWO THUMBS UP!  I stand by my previous statement though, you should NEVER read the book within a month or two of seeing the movie.  Leandrea and her husband had JUST read the book within the last few weeks and they had a lot of complaints about the movie, but I didn’t even remember any of the plot lines they were mad about not happening, since I read it about 9 months ago. 

Things I didn’t like about the movie version of the Hunger Games: I thought they did a poor job portraying how unsure you are about Peeta’s loyalty in the beginning.  There could have been a bit more character and relationship development for Peeta and Katniss overall.  And finally, I don't know why it bothered me so much, but I really hated the way Katniss got the mockingjay pin.  I understand why they wanted to skip over the business with the mayor's daughter but I feel like Katniss' character wouldn't have wasted precious money on buying the pin.  Other than that though, in terms of my whole book vs. movie battle I was quite pleased!  I was all hopped up on Hunger Games excitement the rest of the day, and my lovely husband made sure to say “Happy Hunger Games!” to many strangers, which was quite funny.

In running news, on Wednesday I met Jordanne for a rainy, windy run.  In that order.  On the drive there it was POURING but luckily it was just regular raining by the time I got to the meeting place.  So for the first 3 miles it was raining on us pretty steadily.  I saw a HUGE dead frog in the middle of the road and screamed.  Typical. 

This is EXACTLY what the dead frog looked like.  Now you know why I screamed.  source

After 3 miles we turned around, and it stopped raining!  And then the WIND started.  We realized why we were easily racking up sub 9 minute miles on the way out, apparently the wind was majorly helping us along.  So the 3 miles back kind of sucked.

And there you have it, 6.4 miles in 59:25 (AP 9:16). 

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Did you go see Hunger Games?  What did you think?  Do you ever scream when you see dead frogs?

Friday, March 30, 2012

How to Have a Dehydrated Run

Common running questions people ask include: 'How do you stay hydrated?', or 'How do you fuel for a long run?'  Others ask, 'How do you get faster?' or 'How do you do speedwork?'  Then they realize that I have no idea what I'm talking about so they ask someone else. 

But the #1 question people ask me, consistently, is: 'How do you have a dehydrated run?'  I know this is a very important thing to learn about running.  It's just like some opinions on the fueling thing: it's better to teach your muscles to go without water so when they get water they're sooo happy.  Right?  Right everyone?!

So here's how everyone can learn to be an awesome dehydrated runner like me.  It's super easy.  Just follow these 6 simple steps.  And send me $19.95 plus shipping and handling. 

1) Go to Vegas for the weekend.  Vegas is key to making the dehydrated thing happen.  You can try to recreate the effects of Vegas but it will be difficult.  Make sure that you run during the middle of the day when the sun is high. 

I'm in Vegas - Check.  In all the times I've been to Vegas INCLUDING living there this is the very first picture of me at the famous 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas' sign. 
2) Stay up way too late.  Since I normally go to bed at 10pm (after having already fallen asleep on the couch, yes I'm a huge party animal), staying up past midnight counts. 

Staying up until 2am (SO late for this old lady!) playing poker might be a mistake.  Look - there's Molly and I's names up there!  We're famous. 

I had to laugh and take this picture.  This is what the sports book at Excalibur looked like around midnight.  Not going to lie, I was jealous of them.  

3) Drink one too many glasses of champagne.  This is KEY in the whole dehydration thing.  Do not, I repeat DO NOT skip this step. 

 Isn't that the most adorable little tiny bottle of champagne you've ever seen?  We had to buy it.  It was too adorable to leave behind.

4) Stay on  your feet ALL. FREAKING. DAY the day before.  If you want to make it worse, wear Glitter Tom's that give you the worst blister of all time. 

 I walked all over freaking Europe the day before. 

5) Fatigue your muscles by participating in handstand competitions.

I determined myself to be the winner in this handstand competition.  It helped that I could just barely touch the ceiling with my toes.
6) Don't drink water.  Ever.  No matter how thirsty you are, see Step #3 and drink champagne to fulfill your thirst instead.  After all, you don't want to get that Legionella bacteria Luxor had in their water.  Definitely don't bring water on the run either.  That is key. 

Further exhaust yourself in grueling punching- and Thriller-related photo shoots. 

And there you have it!  You too, like me, can be a dehydrated runner and can run 6.2 miles and suffer for every-single-minute of those 54 minutes!  I also sadly ended up using this for my 10k for Running with Spatulas' Virtual Race because other attempts to actually "race" it totally failed.  Yes I'm having some issues with running.

An alternative title for this post should have been The Thirsty Games: May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor.

Ever had a dehydrated run?  Do you have any tips to add to this list that I missed?  Has this ever happened to you?   

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Very Hungry Vegas Trip

Yesterday I talked about my Vegas Shenanigans, but now let’s talk Vegas food, since last weekend seemed to revolve entirely around eating, my favorite pastime.  Our friend lives in Juneau, Alaska and they have ZERO restaurants or fast food except McDonalds so every time he comes to visit we’re on a mission to eat at Taco Bell, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, etc.  It’s ridiculous and we often make fun of him.  Except now he has some ammo on me because this weekend I did the exact same thing!

Vegas is so strange because I always feel like I eat huge meals and eat extremely poorly (there’s not an apple or carrot stick in sight after all), but I really only eat one meal a day, so maybe it balances out?  

So without further ado... my reviews of my one big meal a day in Vegas!

Our first stop on Friday after touching down in Vegas: Cane’s (also called Raising Cane's).  Have you had it?  We fell in love with it when we lived in Vegas and unfortunately the west coast hasn’t been blessed with this deliciousness.  They sell chicken fingers, fries, and Texas toast exclusively, and they do a freaking good job of making those things.  Sounds like a very healthy meal right?  

 Heart attack Deliciousness on a plate.

I don’t like fried chicken, so the fact that I love it indicates how good it is.  It’s not crispy fried, it’s very juicy and very tender.  The crinkle-cut fries are delightful and the Texas toast is amazing.  I hate coleslaw (and anything containing anything even remotely resembling mayo) so I’ve never had it, can’t tell you about that.  If you haven’t had Cane's yet, EAT IT!

On Saturday our big meal was at Stack, a fancy over-priced steakhouse at The Mirage.  First we decided to get dressed up and have a photo shoot.  The hotel door is a perfect back-drop for photo shoots, in case you needed some photography tips. 

Those evil glitter Tom's which I formerly loved gave me the nastiest blister ever that I fear will hinder my running this week.  I'm not sure I can ever wear them again!  Anyone want to buy Glitter Tom's in size 9.5?  Blister blood included.

Steakhouses are so not my style (or JMan’s really either, although he does love steak), but we went along to be a good sport for our friends.  I had a salad because I’m not big into spending $40 on a steak and it was underwhelming.  It was called the “garbage salad”, nice name, right?  JMan’s steak was delicious and melt-in-your-mouth tender, so I guess if you’re looking for a good steak this is your place, but if you’d rather spend less than one of your first-born I suggest looking elsewhere.

We started with this thing called "Hot Rocks" which was just that - really thin pieces of sirloin that you cooked at your table on a "hot rock".  It was entertaining, fun, and delicious, although for the price it should have come with way more than 6 pieces of beef to share 4 ways!

Mike got the rib eye and he said it was the best steak he'd ever had.  Clearly, as it's all gone!  So take his word for it folks, Stack has expensive awesome steaks.

On Sunday my big meal was at CAFÉ RIO!  After reading about Hungry Runner Girl’s many outings at Café Rio and seeing her delicious looking food, I was always so jealous that we don’t have one (the closest one is about 5 hours away in Couer D'Alene).  Well on Sunday I had planned to meet up with my long-lost teacher friends the Heathers (both their names are Heather, we all taught 3rd grade together, and they are both amazing!), and when Heather #1 recommended eating at Café Rio I was immediately ECSTATIC to finally get to try this place.  It did not disappoint.  I was delighted with my fire-grilled chicken salad, with the hand-made tortilla being of course the best part.  I think its way better than Chipotle, though I’m sure my meal had about 1,500 calories and you can bet I ate the whole entire thing.  It’s okay though because it was pretty much the only meal I had all day.  

 This wasn't my food but it looks eerily similar!  source

And finally, the grand finale, on Monday we finally went to Hash House a Go Go.  After seeing this little diner go viral via the Man vs. Food TV show, I had always wanted to go there, but it’s off the strip and a hassle to get to and on past trips it just never happened.  Well now there are like 5 of them in Vegas and we had a car and time to kill before heading to the airport so we finally went there for the famous chicken and waffles.
We went to the one at the new M Casino, since I hadn't been there before either. 
It was good.  It wasn’t the most amazing thing I’ve ever had.  But here is what WAS amazing: BACON COOKED INSIDE WAFFLES!!!!!  Oh my gosh.  That’s the best idea EVER!  Why have I not thought of this before?  Eating bacon with maple syrup is a favorite past time of mine, so putting the bacon inside a waffle seems to be a natural next step.  I WILL be recreating this at home.  Only with crispier waffles, their waffles were too thick and not crispy enough.  And the fried chicken was TOO crispy (too much breading for my liking, as I mentioned before, I don’t really like fried things) and didn’t have much flavor.  At the very least it needed to be saltier and also probably include some of the sage flavor they were advertising.  I wouldn’t mind trying other things there but it wasn’t my favorite restaurant of all time. 

They do get an A+++ for presentation.

Finally, the coupe de grace.  GOLDEN SPOON!  When we lived in Vegas this was THE best place for  frozen yogurt.  Soooo good.  This was before the big uprising of self-serve Yogurtlands and Menchie’s, so Golden Spoon was ahead of its time.  I was sadly unsatisfied though, and I don't think I will be making a special visit here on any subsequent Vegas trip (and will stop begging them on their website to come to the Northwest).  I had 3 flavors: Peanut Butter Cup, which was as great as I remembered, Cake Batter, which was good but not fabulous for being a flavor notoriously done well by froyo, and Pistachio, which was so bad I didn't even eat it all.  You know it's BAD if Ricole doesn't finish it.

Now it's back to apples and carrot sticks.  Boo.
Name your top 3 restaurants of all time!  GO!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Vegas Shenanigans

Remember when I got to go Disney Princess Half Marathon it up in Orlando?  Yeah, that was a blast and a half.  I’m STILL talking about it.  Well I got to do that, and JMan go to go to Vegas with his friends.  Except this turned out to be a couples trip, so I lucked out and got to do both!  I’m a lucky gal. 

So you may have already figured out from my super cryptic puzzle I gave you on Monday about Where in the World is Ricole Runs, this weekend we headed to Vegas for a little sun and fun.  Although the sun could have done a better job of impressing me the fun did not disappoint.  I didn’t work, I didn’t blog, I didn't refine my dissertation proposal, in fact I didn’t do much of anything except hang out with JMan and two of the funnest folks around, Mike and Molly, eat my way through Vegas, and read my book at the pool.  Although the weather was  far from ideal, on Sunday afternoon it was nice enough in the secluded (i..e, wind-free) area of the MGM pool to lay out for a bit.  A bit cold for any pool-dipping but reading and hot-tubbing happened

This is a really good picture of all of us.  Very flattering.

In case you didn’t know, we lived in Las Vegas a few years ago, but moved away in 2007, so I always feel really nostalgic when we visit.  It was where we lived for the first year JMan and I were married, after all!  Moving from Vegas to Seattle, the #1 thing I absolutely terribly miss is the SUN.  Obviously.  It is sunny there every single day, even when it’s cold (it can be deceiving, as it was on the last day when I dressed in shorts and a tank top only to find it was 50 degrees and very windy!). 

That's our adorable little house we used to live in.  Yes we pulled a "drive-by" and reminisced.  Stalker much?  Look at that blue sky!

Things I don’t miss though are the associated dirt and dust, nothing is green, and you never get that deliciously fresh smell the forests of the Pacific Northwest afford. 

A variety of different Vegas shenanigans happened.  

We all got our poker on at Bally’s (a bust) and Excalibur.  JMan and Mike played poker at pretty much every single casino in Las Vegas but Molly and I aren’t such big gamblers.  Gambling wise I lost $1 on slot machines and about $20 at poker.  Yep, I’m a high roller.  And you can bet I was devastated about that $20.  THAT COULD HAVE BOUGHT ME A 5K RACE ENTRY! 

 Slot-machines were pretty much the extent of our gambling.  I lost my $1 but Molly cleaned up.

Molly and I left the gambling to the boys.

 I got in trouble for taking this picture.  Look how stern that lady looks!
 Hat competitions happened.  I saw this hat and instantly called it the Blossom hat.  Agree?!  If you don't know what Blossom is we have a problem.

We stayed at New York New York and it was adequate.  Their pool was closed for maintenance which they failed to tell us when we booked the room or when we checked it.  They tried to appease us with 2 measly free drink tickets that we didn’t even end up using (which goes against my policy of not getting any and all free things!).  Very disappointing NYNY.  The plus from this I guess is that the MGM Pool (where we could go instead as it’s in the MLife Family) was waaaay nicer than the NYNY pool.

 Our room at New York New York.  Simple, but classy.  And don't forget cheap.  That's the #1 ammenity we look for in a hotel room.

"Casino-crawling" our way down the strip happened. 
Hugging horse-dragon statues happened.  Remember how I'm going to have at least two horses on my farm?  Well make those dragon-horses instead please.

And also hugging ancient warrior statues happened.  Yes I wear Nike's with skirts.  Deal with it.

And my very first ever trip to the famous Las Vegas sign happened!  Can you believe I'd never been here before?  I got duped by the lady ofering to take our picture "for a tip".  JMan and Mike were not amused by my naivety. 
Two thumbs up for a fun trip!

Now back to the battle of the exes real world challenge real world. 

Have you been to Las Vegas?  What's your favorite Vegas Shenanigan?  Where's your favorite place to stay and what's your favorite thing to do? 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Seattle RnR Marathon Training Week #1

I know I know, I taunted you yesterday with my weekend trip to Vegas.  I'll be back tomorrow with weekend shenanigan recaps.  But right now I want to talk about something more important!

I might have mentioned before that my main A race of this year is the Seattle Rock n Roll MARATHON.  That's right ladies and gents, you did not see the word "half" in there.  While I'm the queen of half marathons, my marathon skills are far from stellar. 

I've completed two marathons to date, and so far I am on track to pump out a marathon once every two years.  In 2008 I finished the North Olympic Discovery Marathon in 4:45.  I signed up for the inaugural Seattle Rock n Roll (full) Marathon in 2009, but stress-fractured my ankle during training and that race was my very first DNS (did not start, for those of you lucky enough not to know).  In 2010 I trained for and ran the Portland Marathon with a big goal of sub-4-ing and despite the miserable rain I finished in 3:55.  In 2011 I struggled with mini-injuries the whole year, spent the whole summer in Singapore, and just did not feel like training for or running a marathon. 

But I'm back!  I didn't think I was going to train for another marathon in 2012 either!  I kind of felt like I was done with fulls, and was going to stick with getting faster at halfs, since I seem to be better at those.  But on October 17 I got an email from Seattle Rock n Roll with a 2-day discount, and I forwarded it to Lisa in case she was interested (I wasn't interested!).  In about 5 minutes flat, she had signed up and convinced me to sign up as well.  She is very persuasive.  Or I am very easily persuaded.  Probably a combination of both.

Anyway, so I will proceed to blame Lisa for any and all pain I suffer while training for this marathon!  And here it is, my training calendar!  EEEK!

I like Excel spreadsheets.  A lot, okay?  Not weird at all.

So what's my goal for this marathon? 

Well, my #1 big huge goal is to just get to the starting line healthy.  I want to run and finish this marathon and not have a DNS or a DNF.  Given my injury track record, this is a huge goal in and of itself.  That's why I'm sticking to a modified version of Run Less Run Faster's plan - including only running 3 days a week. 

My #2 big huge goal is to obviously PR (as we all know, PR-ing is the best) and ambitiously to beat 3:45.  McMillan Pace Calculator says I can potentially run a 3:45 based on my Lincoln City Half Marathon time of 1:46.

So let's see how I did in my very first week (of 14 weeks!) of "official" training:

Monday - 15 minutes on the elliptical while I waited for a spot in a pool lane to open up
                 52 laps (2,600 yards) of swimming (a new distance record) in 55 minutes
                 800, 600, 400, 200, 200 yards free with 100 yards of kicking between each set

Tuesday - Track Tuesday with 6 x 400's, a total of 6 miles in 54:40 (AP: 9:06)

Wednesday - I've been kind of dragging lately with my legs feeling dead and my hamstrings super tight.  Jordanne recommended a complete rest day, and since I haven't taken one of those in a while, it did seem like a good idea.  She's so smart!  So I worked on my Nuun Hood to Coast application instead!  :-)

Thursday - I was supposed to go running but Jordanne and Lisa both bailed and I suddenly became incredibly unmotivated. 

Friday - 14 miles in the SUN!  2:04:56 (AP: 8:55)

Saturday - 30 minutes on the elliptical at the hotel gym

Sunday - 6 very dehydrated miles in 54:00 (AP: 9:00)

So that's a rap!  26 miles run this week, pretty good if you ask me.  Kind of lacking on the cross-training front, with little swimming, no spinning, and no yoga.  That's a big fat cross-training fail.  Oh well!  Better luck next week!

Who's running Seattle Rock n Roll?  Come run it with me if you aren't already signed up!  What's your 'A' race this year?

Monday, March 26, 2012

That Time I Saw the Sun & Where in the World is Ricole Runs?

I knew I would have a rough time getting in a long run this weekend (reason because I'm traveling, see below!) so I headed out on Friday with hopes of knocking out my first long run of marathon training - the 14 miler.  Though I've done many many half marathons, this would be my longest run in nearly 18 months - since 10/10/10 - the Portland Marathon! 

And what did I see?  Shockingly, I saw that big huge yellow ball up in the sky - what's that called again?  It's been soooo long since I saw it.  Now, in my weather delusion's defense, it was still about 37 degrees out when I started this run.  So I'm not calling it spring just because I saw the sun one little measly time. 

 See - the sun.  I wasn't lying.

Although the run itself was pretty boring - just a million loops around my 1.5 mile neighborhood, some lemon-lime Nuun and the "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" audiobook helped pass the time.  And before I knew it, I had done it!  14 miles in 2:04:56 (AP: 8:55)!  And my first long run of training for the Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon is in the books!

All the miles were under 9 minute miles except the first two (acceptable warm-up) and the 14th (unacceptable!).  I was so tired by the end I could barely pick up my legs.  I stepped on a little bitty pinecone and nearly went down my legs were tired.  It really makes me wonder how I will possibly run 12 more miles in just 3 months from now?! 

Now, on to Where in the World is Ricole Runs!  Anyone else a past lover of Carmen Sandiego?  No?  Nevermind....  So let's play a brand new game called Guess Where I Am!  You have three options.  Two are places I REALLY want to go and one is the place I hung out all weekend!  Can you guess?  I bet it will be extremely difficult.

Option 1:

Option 2: 

Option 3:


If you need a hint, it didn't cost us an arm and a leg to get there and I didn't change time zones.  :-)  Weekly rap-up and weekend shenanigan recaps coming later this week, stay tuned!

So what do you think?  WHERE AM I?!  And what are the top 3 places you are dying to visit right  now?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Flashback: The Epic 2010 Hood to Coast Relay

Remember how last week I introduced a new staple: The Sunday Flashback?  I started with my very first big race: my first marathon in 2008.  I wanted to move all my old race reports from my mini-blog over to here to populate my new "Race Reports" page.  For posterity's sake, I'm keeping them EXACTLY as I wrote them.  Well I had intended to move linearly through time (makes sense, right?!) but given that Nuun  recently released their call for applications for the 2012 Nuun Hood to Coast team, and I am currently racking my brain for a creative method of application, I thought I'd recap my two Hood to Coast experiences during the next two Sunday Flashbacks.

Is that okay with you?  I hope so, because I LOVE Hood to Coast, and that's part of the reason why I am dying to be part of Nuun's team!  I'm sure you're already aware, but just in case, Hood to Coast is one of the biggest / most famous relay races around, and features a 12-person 200 mile race in Oregon from the top of Mt. Hood to Seaside.  So here it is,  the recap of August 2010's Hood to Coast experience.


Hood to Coast exceeded my expectations by far.  It was awesome.  Awesome awesome awesome.  There were ups and downs, but I LOVED IT!  Great team, great fun, great runs.  We started at 12:15pm at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood and ended 28.5 hours later at the beach in Seaside Oregon. 

We're off on our drive to Timberline Lodge!

I ran leg #2, which meant I had a 1,500 foot drop down Mt. Hood right off the bat.  Although I intended to force myself to not die by not doing less than 8 minute miles - you can see I didn't do that (as I feared!).  Although I am suffering now (my quads and hamstrings are tiiighhhhttt!), I was good for the whole time luckily and that part didn't ruin me for later.  

Leg #2 - 1:13pm on Friday - 5.67 miles - Total Time: 40:50 - Average Pace: 7:12

Splits: 7:25, 7:38, 7:23, 7:06, 6:57, 6:31

The first leg was great!  I was soooo pumped.  We had driven down to Portland late the night before and I woke up at 6:15am and couldn't go back to sleep I was so excited.  Picked everyone up, got the van decorated, and headed up to Mt. Hood. 

Laura started us off with the big 2,000 foot drop and then handed off to me.  It was a little scary with the curves and semis flying by.  A couple times (during each leg actually) I whispered a few prayers involving not getting run over.  I passed 3 people and got passed by 4, and certainly felt that pounding from the steep decline!  Although it was quite cold (40's) up on the mountain, it was beautiful weather coming down. And do you see those 6's up there?????  My first 6's EVER!!  Do I care it had a 1,500 foot drop? NOPE! :-)

Heel-strike much?  Whoops.

Leg #14 - 10:54pm on Friday - 5.49 miles - Total Time: 43:12 - Average Pace: 7:52

Splits: 8:13, 8:10, 7:53, 7:47, 7:33, 7:26

This leg was dark and on the side of the road of a highway. 

It's dark outside, see?!

It was pretty straight so I felt less like I was going to get hit by a car on this leg despite the darkness, and the LED lights helped a lot.  There was a pretty steady uphill incline on this hill that the elevation map lied about (it showed flat!).  But I powered up and passed 10 people!  I think I only got passed by 1 person.  I had forgotten my Garmin when I was waiting at the exchange so I ran back to the car to get it only to realize I didn't have the keys, to run back to get them to run back to the car and ended up having to sprint to beat Laura to the exchange.  But the last thing I wanted was to be out in the middle of nowhere in the darkness and not know how much time was left! 

Yes I made us those sweet t-shirts.  I am the iron-on queen!

After we all finished the night legs it was 3am and we had to drive an hour on the windiest road ever that was pitch black, in the middle of nowhere, and not another car on the road.  It was horrible and I thought we would never get there and I was so tired.  One of our teammates had been upset with herself and her knee hurt and had been crying in a port-a-potty, another was feeling horribly car-sick and was hanging her head out the window almost throwing-up, and I thought I was going to kill us all on this terrible road and just wanted to sleep.  This hour was definitely the low-point of the whole race!  Then we tried to sleep in a field and it was 37 degrees and so cold and I probably slept 30 minutes.  We felt pretty bad when we had to get moving again, which was a frantic race to move because they walkied us they were ready sooner than we thought!

Leg #26 - 8:00am on Saturday - 5.79 miles - Total Time: 44:53 - Average Pace: 7:49

Splits: 8:05, 7:52, 7:45, 7:44, 8:13 (giant hill), 7:00 (downhill!)

Although I had been feeling terribly tired and it was freezing outside (still 40) and I had forgotten my tights and we were all like "I don't want to run again I don't want to run again" once I started I felt sooo good.  My hamstrings were tight by now, but it was just SO GREAT.  This was my favorite leg.  The sun had just come up, the sky was perfect blue with no clouds, the moon was still up, I crossed over some rivers, I saw some horses and cows with calves, and there was just rolling countryside meadows that were so beautiful and I felt so thankful that I was out there.  After wanting to do H2C for years and not being able to do it last year because of my broken ankle I felt so thankful I was out there, had finished, and got to enjoy such a beautiful run.  

Then the hill came and my thankfulness passed. :-)  The hill was hard, pretty long and steep, but I powered up and passed 8 people on this leg.  I got passed by 2, one of which was on an elite team and just screamed by me, it was ridiculous how fast he was going!  Then when I reached the peak of the hill it was downhill to the exchange and it was my last run so I decided I might as well thrash my legs, and I screamed down the hill.  I tried to pass the last guy but he wouldn't let me and we both kept going faster and faster (my watch read 5:30 for the last quarter mile or so!) and we sprinted into the exchange, which was really fun. 

We ALL needed a ton of Advil after we were all done!

Then we went drove to Seaside, had some crappy pizza, and waited to run in the finish with the other van. 

So tired!  Waiting for Van #2 to show up in Seaside.

We were sooooo tired afterwards that we ended up driving back to Portland so we could sleep in real beds instead of staying.  I slept 11 hours last night and was pretty dead to the world!  My hamstrings and quads are pretty sore today so I will take it pretty easy this week. 

Final Thoughts: I LOVED HOOD TO COAST!  Such a great time with some of my best friends.  Although there were obviously a few low points and frustrations, I loved it.  I will definitely be submitting for a team for next year!  I'm also really happy with all of my legs.  I feel like I am definitely improving and my hard work is paying off.  I was really happy to see all of those 7's.  Perhaps I'm moving into 8's being my easier pace and 7's being my race paces?  That would be FANTASTIC! :-)  

Oh man, just reading this makes me love Hood to Coast even more.  Have you ever done Hood to Coast?  Or another relay?  Tell me about it!