Each February I look forward to spending the weekend getting to run and spend quality time with some fun and inspiring ladies, some of whom I don’t get to see all that often. We get up early on Saturday morning and grab our Starbucks coffee on the way to Highway 26. This year was a little different because the pass was covered with snow and ice which made for a potentially slippery drive. Our car even had to dodge a few birds who thought it would be fun to play a few games of “chicken” with us, causing Kelly to swerve out of the way and elicit a few screams from two of us who were only half awake in the back seat.
Considered by Coach Pat of the Tillamook High School track and cross-country teams to be the easiest of all the legs of the race, you would think the 4.39 miles I had to run would be a piece of cake – especially since I ran the longest leg two years ago. I learned preconception was a mistake the hard way last year, when I naively thought since I had the easy leg, it would be smooth sailing. Pssh! This final leg of the relay is mostly flat and fast, but features two killer hills that are not gradual but go straight up almost 150′! The hills are downplayed in the leg descriptions on the website, so be aware. And yes, I did take a walk break for a few yards. Ain’t no shame, honey! However, knowing my friends (and a beer) were waiting for me just a few miles away made me clip along at a relatively swift speed to meet my friends on the sand next to Pelican Brewery.
Post-race, we grabbed our beer coupons from the food truck that was handing out clam chowder and fresh baked rolls for race participants, and snapped our team photo in front of Haystack Rock. Side note: as a native Oregonian, I’m embarrassed to say that it was only up until a few weeks ago did I learn that the name for this monolith bears the same moniker as the one in Cannon Beach. Yep. It’s true. As per the tradition of the last three years, we ate lunch inside Pelican Brewery and chatted with other teams.
In the preceding two years, we have made a whole weekend out of the relay, but due to last minute circumstances we were only able to make a day out of the event. Still, good times were had by all.Later, we met up with our families back at Kelly’s house for pizza recapping the day’s event. There may or may not have been a picture shared, snapped of a runner who decided to run in just a Speedo. Guess you’ll have to join in on the fun next year, to see if said runner returns.