This time last week, I was still sitting in a white van, which was decorated with oversized watermelons and a half-dozen names and Twitter handles on the windows, and fully stocked with Nuun, snacks, and runners having the time of our lives. Hood to Coast was one of those experiences I knew was going to be amazing, and a huge privilege to be a part of…so much that with each leg that passed, I simultaneously dreaded the end amidst the bliss.
At the risk of saying the exact same thing as everyone else, I need to start by giving a HUGE THANK YOU to Nuun!!! The chance to run Hood to Coast with such an incredible company and wonderful group of people was such a dream come true; the experience was even better than what I had expected! Nuun is definitely more than just electrolyte tabs – they are truly a small company that practices what they preach and goes above and beyond to extend their support to athletes striving to accomplish any goal, small or big. Nuun’s invitation to female bloggers for spots on their Hood to Coast teams is a perfect example and reflection of that. As someone (I forget who) said after Mason gave his little speech Thursday night, they could have easily formed a team or two made up of just their office employees, representatives, and ambassadors, but instead they opened it up for all of us – runners from all over the country with all different running backgrounds and experiences. I have to admit, when I submitted my application video, regardless of the many, many hours I put into it, I was worried I wouldn’t be seen as a “legit blogger” – I had just started my blog in February, some of my posts didn’t even have one reader comment, I wasn’t all over Twitter communicating with lots of other bloggers each day. The truth is, it is easier for me to meet people in person, and the whole internet-blogger-friend thing was still new and foreign to me. But, I wanted to break into that world. I love writing, especially about running. I love taking photos and choosing which ones to use on my blog. I obviously love running, and I feel my experiences could help others if I shared them. And I loved Nuun, and was already marketing it to my friends, family and running community. So, I hoped that would be enough! When I found out it was, I was surprised and ecstatic. I felt instantly connected to the other women as we formed a Facebook group, followed each other on Twitter, became Facebook friends, and commented on each other’s blog posts. I couldn’t wait to actually meet everyone in real life!
After my marathon, when I hurt my ITB pretty badly, I was stressed when the other runners mentioned Hood to Coast. I needed to be healthy in time. There was absolutely no alternative. And…I wanted to give it my all. It was Hood to Coast, after all. I worried that I would have to tell people, “well, 2013 was going perfectly, but then I had to stay home and not run Hood to Coast with Nuun,” and I would have to fall off the blogosphere to avoid seeing what I missed, etc., etc. Yes, I am dramatic, but I know myself too well and that is most likely what I would have had to do. By some miracle, my return to running was full of…races. In which I PRed, medaled, and surprised myself like never before, after little training. I didn’t have 15 milers under my belt before heading to the west coast. Or 10 milers, actually. All that had happened since July 3rd when I began running again gave me nothing short of 100% confidence in my ability to cover the distances and to cover them reasonably fast.
Mason – thank you, thank you, thank you for everything! You essentially opened up the entire office for us to raid for several days, and made us feel right at home. Last week probably felt like a 120 hour sleepless relay for you, and you were so chill the whole time. Props for being my first blog stalker to meet me IRL, by the way. 😉 See you in Boston!
Megan F. – you are a workhorse! I can’t imagine the organization involved with making HTC a success! For everything from assigning teams, vans, and hotel rooms to arranging our goodie bags – thank you for organizing and having everything go so smoothly the entire weekend! While I don’t have kids like lots of the other runners, it was still so nice to drop all responsibilities and stresses once I got to Seattle and let someone else do the planning! Now, take a day off. 🙂
Casey – I would nominate you for best driver! I don’t know how you managed to stay awake all that time with no coffee (really, I don’t remember you having any?!), plus deal with six girls at the same time! We were never even late to an exchange or had any extremely close calls in that department…or hit any cars or anything…that is quite an accomplishment! Curb-hopping, however….(just kidding). Also, apologies for telling you my life story in like five minutes on the beach (thanks for listening)! Thank you!!!
Up next: activities in Seattle Wednesday and Thursday before the relay (non-running stuff…well not really, anyway)!