Once in a while, the Run Oregon bloggers have too many races (or elementary school fund raisers) on our schedules to run EVERY race, even though we might like to. So we’ve asked our friends from the Sunstone Running Club to share their experiences preparing for and running the Hood to Coast Pacific Relay on May 5. Sunstone is an exceptionally supportive and welcoming run club based out of South Beaverton, and a number of our bloggers attend their runs.
by Marc Larson, community guest blogger
Myself and other members of our Sunstone Running Club were asked to put together a team for the one-day inaugural Hood to Coast Pacific City relay. When I was asked, I was excited to run this course for two reasons: one, it runs part of the original course of the Hood to Coast race that everyone is familiar with, and two, this would be my first one-day relay.
As everyone knows Hood to Coast is a multi-day relay that starts at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood and and finishes in Seaside with a big festival on the beach. I have had the opportunity to run this race many times and captain two teams. This takes quite a bit of time and resources, from getting a team of 12 healthy runners and all of their gear, securing two vans that you have to rent far in advance so as to make sure everyone is comfortable. Now, with the prospect of a one-day relay and being able to get to the finish line in Pacific City without trying to fit in a few hours sleep … I am in.
We have put together a mixed team of three strong women and three men that hope to keep up. We decided to have a team meeting a few weeks ago to put our planning together since this is what we have done in the past for other relays – and for a reason to get together to eat pizza and drink bear. In other words, to carbo-load months in advance.
Here is some of the comments that were made during the meeting by members of the team.
- Having done multiple two-day relays, a one-day relay sounds easy, both physically and logistically, and in many ways it is. First task is to pick your team. Instead of having to find 12 people, we easily formed a group of 6 runners who could spend 12+ hours in a cramped van with each other. We also like to have a couple of backups on hand in case someone can’t run.
- With the team formed, we decided to discuss leg assignments and other logistics at our first meeting. We pulled up the website to look at course maps together and decide who would do which leg. Nobody on the team really seemed to prefer one leg over another so we each just sort of picked one. This process was much simpler than in the past because we don’t have to figure out van assignments (with 12 indecisive people). Since there are only six people and everyone runs two legs instead of three, it’s a lot easier to pick.
- We only need one van and the race is nearby, so we will just drive to the start early in the morning. We calculated how long it will take us to finish and figured that, depending on our start time, we will stay the night at the finish or drive back same day. Either way, since it’s a one-day event on Saturday, nobody has to take a day off from work to potentially complicate this decision.
So far, planning for this race has been a simple and straightforward experience. The next step is to train. One of the concerns for this race is lack of rest. During a regular 2-day relay, after completing their legs, a van gets many hours to eat, sleep, and recover for their next legs. In this event we do not have that luxury.
Comments about training and planning:
- Seems to be a lot easier because there are less people to coordinate with
- Don’t have to worry about finding a place to stay overnight because the race is less crowded and we can base that off of when we get out start time
- We might have to re-think what food we bring, since there will be no break between legs (there’s no big break for van 2 to run as with the “big” Hood to Coast in August)
- We will try to do more back to back run to practice running on tired legs
- There’s more concern about the lack of rest between legs
- We are starting Sunstone track workouts!
I feel like a relatively experienced multi-day relay racer, with multiple Hood to Coasts, Rainier to Pacifics, Cascade Lakes, and one Ragnar under my shoes. I even did the one-day Rose City Relay couple decades ago so this shouldn’t be a completely new experience. Compared to that, a one day race is much easier to plan and prepare for.
Getting 6 runners coordinated is orders of magnitude easier than 12, and I feel like we got an elite team without much work and no pleading and soliciting required. Renting a van was painless (didn’t have to compete with van shortages in the Portland metro area like larger H2C weekend) and we figured out our leg assignments in like 5 minutes. We don’t have to juggle with people’s work schedules or take time off from work on Friday. The van should be roomier with no sleeping bags and 1/3 less stinky running clothes … that saves more room for cow bells. And we don’t have to secure volunteers! That’s a huge task and time sink eliminated with this race. Woohoo!
I do expect the run to be hard given the quicker turn around between first and second leg but we won’t have to worry about van exchanges and figuring out if and when to sleep. Definitely looking forward to the relay. We got a fantastic team. Go Sunstone Running Club!
As a team we are looking forward to taking on this challenge and running part of the original Hood to Coast legs and finishing in Pacific City. Our team will report back on the thoughts of the legs that we run and on our thought on how the race was organized. Watch for us as we attempt this challenge.