Leg 5: 4.39 miles – rated “easy”
This was my second year running the relay and it was just as perfect of a day as it had been in 2016.I was a bit nervous leading up to the race, as I haven’t been running much over the last month but I have been running stairs and lifting weights more than I used to. Kelly ran the last leg in 2016, so I thought I remembered it to be just as described “easy” but I forgot one thing; the end had a killer hill.
Luckily, I had company in the form of teammate and fellow blogger Nikki, as she was looking to get in some extra mileage for marathon training. I was very grateful to have someone to chat with as the downhill start became rolling hills. As we came off the last small hill, beautiful Nestucca Bay made for a breathtaking distraction. However, we weren’t finished yet and unfortunately, we had a half-mile to prepare for what was unavoidable in our sight-line: a big ol’ hill. Apparently it is only a 200 foot climb, but it’s s-t-r-a-i-g-h-t up from a drop of 400 feet…I don’t think that the term “easy” is an accurate or fair description of this leg. My advice-always check a map or the course for yourself.
I survived and ended up finishing faster than I had hoped for, which was fine by me. I met the rest of my team with a quarter of a mile to go, and we leaped over the finish line together, happy, tired and ready for a beer to celebrate an amazing day.
How I prepared:
Since last year, I have participated in two more relays (all were one-day relays). Knowing what to pack can be a bit of a challenge, especially when you are two hours from home. The weather on the coast is always unpredictable, but in winter, rain is a given. Bringing a change of clothes is a must, as well as a blanket and a towel. I always pack extra snacks to eat in the car, because your next meal can be hours away. Since I wasn’t running mega-miles, a protein bar, water and string cheese fit the bill. I also suggest using (or at least knowing where) the bathrooms are at every stop. Nothing is worse than having to answer mother nature’s call when it’s your turn to run. Having to wait in long Porta Potty lines with 20 other runners is so not fun.
Exchange Notes for before Leg 5: This exchange was moved from 2016 and I think the change was for the better. Some of the same volunteers were here as at last year’s final exchange, which was pretty cool. As your van drives along, you may be wondering if you somehow missed the exchange; but then you round a corner and there it is!
Vans should slow waaaaay down as soon as they see this exchange because it’s a quick turn to the parking lot … and bathrooms. We actually missed the turn and had to park on the shoulder; this was allowed, but due to the narrow shoulder we had to wait until no traffic was coming to leapfrog around other parked vehicles. There was also no good spot to turn around and head to the designated parking area. The volunteers were doing their best to keep everyone safe, but it would be very helpful if people would have parked in the lot instead … us included. Now we know for next year!