Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Hood to Coast Post

I seem to be having a hard time getting a Hood to Coast post done.  The whole thing is just so BIG it has been hard for me to wrap my head around putting it into a single post, so I have decided to break it down into two posts.  This first one will be the race itself and the second will be random things that happened along the way, some of it pretty funny.

Our van

Our start time was 7 am so we had to get out of Portland pretty early and head up to the start.  It was easy to get up since we were all so excited to get started. I was out of bed by 3:45 and we were loaded and in the vans by 5 am.

We left our van2 at the first exchange and all piled in with van 1 up to the start to get pictures and pick up our race numbers.  It was easy to pick out my teammates from the crowd if I ever lost them because of the hats!

Back row L to R Scott Hughes, Sarah Nash, Alex Blake, Mike Rydell, Cory  Jassen, Krayton Kerns, Amory Blake
Front row Christy Gerdes, Billie Jo Holzer, Evie Halverson, Druann Kerns and Amber Nordal
After seeing our first runner off we went down to the first exchange to cheer them on and then went grocery shopping and wait for our turn.

It was starting to warm up in the afternoon so I knew my leg, leg 11, which has almost no shade would be a HOT one. It was. Here is the crazy thing which I did NOT expect about Hood to Coast, by the time the first runner out of van 2 took off there were only 12 or so teams in front of us. Our first van had exceeded their expected times and passed a lot of teams. Not sure how many teams they started in the 630 and 645 waves as well as our leg at 7 am but there was some major roadkill by van 1. Good for them. Not so fun for us!

Now who were we supposed to pass?!

By the time that I was handed the wristband there were four teams in front of me. FOUR and 1,044 behind us wanting to pass us. Of course we would never see the vast majority of them any way due to different starting times but it feels cool to say.

SO anyway back to my first leg. I got the wristband and was feeling GOOD, fresh, fast, hydrated and READY.

First mile was 6:56. I saw no other runners the whole mile.

During mile two I finally saw another runner and she appeared to be struggling as it seemed to take me no time at all to start catching up to her and just before I passed her I saw my van go through a cross walk. That helped motivate me as I was starting to feel the heat.

The last part of the leg was all about bargaining, okay two and a half miles, piece of cake, 2 miles, this is nothing, 1 mile and a half, that is only three 800s and so forth.

WIth half a mile to go a cyclist rode by and told me I had about two minutes to go and my team was waiting for me. YAY, I powered through to the end and we hustled back to the van to our last exchange for the first leg. Finished with 7:12 average, I think it would have been a lot faster if I didn't have to stop at so many traffic crossings, but still happy with my time.

Two legs to go! The second and third legs will be much cooler and I am very excited about that!

I ran leg 2 sometime after 11 pm. It was dark, really dark and I had never run in the dark before so I was a little nervous about it. There were not a lot of teams in front of or around us so I knew I would be out there running by myself for a lot of it.

Krayton came in and passed the baton off to me and I was off. I felt good, really good. I knew it was a mostly flat and downhill with some hills in mile 3 so I was hoping for right around 7 minute miles.

waiting in the dark for our runner to come in

I felt like I was going so fast and the world seemed to have shrunk down to just what I could see in my headlight beams. I liked it when I car would go by so I could see a little more around me. At the same time it was really peaceful. I just concentrated on following the white line.

I caught up with a runner in the second mile and passed three walkers along the way. Sometime during the third mile I started seeing what I thought was probably another runner up ahead so I started pushing to catch up with the flashing light.

It took me most of the rest of my leg to catch up, but I finally did around mile 4, by then we only had .2 miles left and she evidently hadn't been pushing as hard as I had because she really gave it the onion when she saw the finish line.

I nearly face planted right in front of the exchange when I was looking around trying to figure out where I was supposed to go and I stepped in a pothole. I recovered though and saw Amber. Whew! That would have sucked to face plant right there!

I loved running in the dark, I was wishing it would have been my longer leg, but that was my last one. I averaged 7:02 minute miles for this leg on 4.2 miles.

We hurried out of the exchange to go pick up our last runner so we could go and catch a couple zzzs before our last legs started.

I felt like I was able to catch a couple of hard hours of sleep and felt a lot better once I woke up. It started to get light about an hour or so before I figured I would start my last leg.

I still had to wear the reflector vest and lights

I was hoping to run 7:30 pace on my last run. 7.2 miles and rated hard. It was hard. After the first two miles I decided to try to keep it under 8 min/mile pace. I was feeling pretty tired.

The run was beautiful. The sun rose over the mountains and we had caught up with a lot of the walkers so at least there were lots of people to run by, it wasn't the same as passing another runner, but it did help. I never did see another runner on that leg.

I was pushing really hard, but my legs were feeling tired! So happy to see Amber and hand off the wristband for the final leg.

We all hopped into the van and raced into seaside to get to the finish line so we could run across with Amber.

Final time was 25 hours 27 minutes. About an hour faster than our projected finish time.

We finished 7th in our division mixed submasters and 86th overall. 86th out of 1070 teams. We were really pleased with our results and how everyone on the team did. and HUNGRY and TIRED!

We went into Seaside and found a breakfast buffet with seating available for our whole team. Score!


  1. Relays are so fun! Glad you had a good time.

  2. Great post. Loved hearing all about the HTC. I would love to do this someday.

  3. Did you guys have hamburgers instead of Gu packets?

    Great recap, I love the cowboy hats. Way to go!

  4. Looked like a lot of fun..love the name "Team Beef" ehehe

  5. How awesome! We had the opposite experience, since we started at 2:15 - much later than you guys! But it would have been nice to finish early like you guys did at Seaside. Great job on all of your legs!

  6. Awesome! I'm so glad you had a great time & did so well! So, so proud of you, Christy!!!


  7. Nice job on your legs! Sounds like a great time.

  8. Congrats, you did awesome!! Relays are the BEST.

  9. Wow, you really did great! Sounds like a really fun experience!

  10. I am glad that you had so much fun. I love getting road kills so I would be bummed to be one of the front teams. That is crazy to think about all of the teams and chaos behind you. I wonder why they had you start at 7 am? Typically the slower teams start earlier and the faster teams later...

  11. Congrats! Sounds like you guys had a great time and you did an awesome job. I love relays!!

  12. It sounds like you were able to get in some good runs! I've never run a relay, but it sounds exciting. You and your team did so well. Thanks for letting us know how it went!

  13. Your team KILLED it! Great job! I saw your team van coming down Timberline road as we were driving up. Our start time wasn't until 9:30 and we were slow, so it's no wonder I never saw you. Hope you had fun and enjoyed Oregon.

  14. Wow, you guys did awesome. A whole hour faster than projected! Woohoo! What a great experience:) Can't wait to read more!

  15. great job! I am not sure I would think about timing, just try to take the whole thing in and be around a lot of people but than again its a race too!

  16. A fastish team with an early start time! How did you guys luck out? Nice job.

  17. you did great and so did your team!
    my team finished 3rd in the open div.
    one other nuun team finished 2nd in the open.
    we both had slower finish time than your team though!!!

    I loved Oregon!

  18. You had some awesome paces and great job with the "kills".

  19. This has been the best Hood to Coast recap that I've read. I actually read this whole thing. :)

  20. Love the stetsons! Sounds like you had some great runs and your team did really well. Congrats! I can't wait to read the next installment.

  21. Way to run fast, Christy! I like running in the dark, too--those legs were always my favorites in relays. I'm looking forward to the funny stories post.

  22. Ahh I am loving reading everyone's relay posts! Sounds like you had an amazing time! Congrats!

  23. Great report. I hope to run this relay one day!

  24. This is a great recap!!! You did awesome!!! I started running in the dark last year...it is very peaceful! Your team did awesome too!!!

  25. Sounds like a great race! Hood to Coast would be awesome to do!

  26. That sounds like sooooo much fun! I can't imagine running alone along the side of te road in the dark. I can't wait for part 2 now :) congrats on some super running!

  27. So much fun!! That's an awesome time- great job Team Beef!!

  28. Awesome job on your legs! Sounds like you had a great time and can't wait for the next post.

  29. What a crackin' job you guys did!! I had a feeling going into this read that your team was gonna be way ahead of the others!! Congrats on the first part of the story!

  30. Congrats on a fantastically run relay!

  31. Just outstanding! And what a different experience! I was just starting Leg 12 when you were about to run your second leg. We were at your second leg when you were finishing. We were finishing when you were in bed probably! LOL

    Sounds like you ran well AND had a great time! Win/win! :)

  32. I am so glad you had fun! You ran fast!! I love your van and would have enjoyed seeing it pass us from time to time if we were in the same time frame.

  33. Sounds like a fun race to be a part of. I read a few recaps of the Hood to Coast and it sounded so much fun. Your pace was fast, I'm sure you did your team proud judging from your great overall results.

  34. I love reading all of these recaps - sounds like a great time and amazing experience!

  35. Glad you had such a great time and I'm sure running with the team you did made it a wonderful experience!

  36. This fab recap makes me want to do this relay race EVEN MORE! And, team Beef ROCKED it! great result, you fasties!

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