Monday, August 19, 2013

Hood to Coast: Here I come

Much of my free time and mental energy this week will be spent gearing up for the Hood to Coast Relay. Although I have a fair amount of relay experience (six Red Eye Relays and two Bourbon Chases under my belt), this will be my first Hood to Coast, not to mention my first time on the West Coast. So I'm a little excited.

Since I'm in Indiana, and the relay is in Oregon, I will be flying. I've flown to races before, but never to a relay. Relays present unique preparation challenges. I will be running three times over the course of about 28 hours. There will be no opportunity to get clothing dry after running in it, so that means I need a lot of clothing. An extra pair of shoes wouldn't hurt either. It's nice to have a pillow and a blanket as well, and even a sleeping bag and a tarp are recommended for sleeping in designated sites on the ground. How to condense all this into carry-on luggage? It has to be carry-on, because I have a thing about checking bags (lost luggage paranoia). It will be a challenge, and actually one that I look forward to. I'm usually adept at packing light, but it does take some time to winnow down my belongings until I have only what I need.

Mostly I'm just anticipating a good time. Races are fun, and relays are funner. They play out like a sleepover for grownups: a lot of camaraderie and giggling and not a lot of sleep. Tempers may fray a bit in the wee hours, but sunrise brings new hope as the homestretch nears.

Hood to Coast is billed as the "Mother of All Relays" with more than 1,000 teams. That's 12,000 runners! Hood to Coast and I are about the same age, too--it got its start in 1982, just like me. With such a well-established and well-attended event, there is sure to be more excitement along the course and more people to run with than any relay I've done before.

I'm runner #1, an admission which seems to provoke winces from those in the know. Apparently I have some tough legs ahead of me. Hopefully my legs are tough enough for the task.

Expect more anticipatory posting as the event draws nearer, and if you're interested in the fortunes of yours truly and our team, Hoosiers to Coast, during the run, follow me on Twitter: @readmuchrunfar.

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