The Costumed Runner Blog: 2014 Hood to Coast Recap as Bacon

Run Oregon guest blogger Mel Ortiz is our resident “Costumed Runner”. She writes a monthly post about her adventures in running. Feel free to Submit a Guest Post in the “Contact Us” tab if you want to get involved.

Pictured: The Moda Health Running Team (1st row left to right: Kevin Stahl, Kelley Campbell, Todd Warlik, 2nd row left to right: Lindsay Ferrin, Katie Paullin, Jessica Reiland, Jody Blakely, Last row center wearing Domo costume and holding Facebook “Like” sign is Mel Ortiz). Photographer: Kevin Stahl

The Day of the Race – Friday, 8/22/14

As team captain, I had asked our crew to meet at our downtown office at 4:30AM to allow for travel, parking, and sign in for our first runner to start promptly at 7AM.  I am glad we did since we made it to Hood just with about an hour to spare and then the stress with having not one, but two of our required headlamps not working.  I decided to dress up as the loveable Japanese TV show character Domo Kun which proved warm with the higher altitude and cold morning winds.  When it was all said and done our first runner was off and so begins our adventure to 2014 Hood to Coast.

As soon as all 6 runners in Van 1 finished, I started my first leg as leg 7 (aka the first runner for Van 2) and didn’t realize how hot it would be in my little bacon costume.  My leg started at noon and it was a scorcher.  I had never run Hood to Coast in costume so this experience with new to me.  I took my salt pills and ate many a banana to stay off any leg cramps. I even brought with me two water bottles to keep my hydrated.  Unfortunately I started to feel the familiar tick in my left calf muscle signaling the pending doom to a monster leg cramp.  By this time I was overheated, finished both my water bottles and still had 2 more miles of my 5 mile leg.  Thank God I saw two friendly faces from our volunteers and asked if they had any water to spare this overheated bacon.  They did and they filled my water bottle to the top. They didn’t know it but they were my guardian angels that day. I felt energized and started walking backwards to stop the cramp from coming on.  It wasn’t my fastest time but saw my team and my weekly running buddies who happen to be at the exchange to send off their runner.  They and all were a sight for sore eyes for this tired and hot piece of bacon.

Pictured: Left to right: Sarita Amaya, Mel Ortiz as Bacon, and Bola Majekobaje. Photographer: Maynard Hedum

I was starting to stretch and rehydrate in Van 2 when we came across this amazing sight.  This man/woman? was dressed  in full cost mascot costume. I had no reason to whine or complain.  This person was both a costume running God and also crazy???  I can only hope that there was a fan installed in that oversized panda head or I would have fainted of heat exhaustion after 100 yards.  I did see this same Panda at the finish line at Seaside and amazingly it looked clean.  Whoever he/she is, I bow down to thee.

Pictured: The Panda. Photographer: Mel Ortiz

I decided it was my best interest to forgo wearing any costumes for the night run and early run so I can easily be seen with my reflective gear and blinking lights.  This was a challenging year for Hood to Coast with the hot, hot, hot weather, van that broke down which lead to 4 hours of waiting in a traffic jam resulting in no sleep for Van 2, and several ambulances driving by us with gulp…..runners?.  All in all though we had great teammates and awesome van drivers who took care of all of us and delivered us safely to our final destinations.  With all these challenges we still were under our 30 minutes of meeting our estimated finish time and to that we are pretty proud of our accomplishment as Team WTF (Witness the Fitness).

Pictured: The Moda Health Running Team (Front row left to right: Jody Blakely, Jessica Reiland, Todd Warlik, Katie Paullin, Mel Ortiz, and Lori McKinney holding Facebook “Like” sign. Back Room left to right: Kevin Stahl, Lindsay Ferrin, Grant Knowles, Teri Barichello, Dave Nesseler-Cass, and Kelley Campbell). Photographer: Antonio Harris Photography

Here is a link of our epic end at the finish line of this journey with a team that is a lot closer than when they started.

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