Before I dive into the Nuun-tattooed details of my epic journey in the Pacific Northwest, I gotta take a second to express my sincere gratitude and thanks to everyone at Nuun for giving me the experience of running Hood to Coast. It was the opportunity of a lifetime that is only getting sweeter the more I think about it. Megan, you pulled off the Herculean feat of corralling 36 women through what I’m sure was logistical hell. But it went off without a hitch and you did it all with a smile and a sparkly skirt. Casey–our fearless driver–you navigated that gigantic van with finesse (and just two curb kills!). Thanks for putting up with six crazy women, inspiring us with that pep talk before we left, and those delicious beers afterward. And Mason, thanks for making it all happen. You made us all feel welcome from start to finish, and I truly appreciate everything that you did for me and the other women. THANK YOU!
Hello Seattle! (a.k.a. The Land of Over 400 Starbucks)
My Hood to Coast journey began with the day that never ended. After a butt-crack of earliness departure with Hannah–we left Bethlehem at 3:30 a.m.–we landed in Seattle at 1:30, somehow still wide-awake and (almost) fully functional. We met up with a group of teammates–yep, we found each other via twitter–and went to Nuun HQ before taking a quick walking tour of downtown. We hauled ourselves up the hills toward the very first Starbucks, through the Public Market, and down beside the ferris wheel by the water, getting to know one another along the way. The trip had barely begun, and I was already having a blast.
Meeting a group of 35 other run-bloggers, some of which we knew by their Twitter handle instead of their real name, was almost like speed dating. I loved how we all quickly accepted that no one really knew everyone, but that didn’t stop us from striking up conversation over a few beers and bowling balls later that night. Heck, here was a group of women all passionate about one thing: running. And it bridged that awkward gap between strangers and friends faster than Team Cherry Limeade tore through 200 miles.
The first night in our hotel room, Lisa M., Lisa, Jenny and I all marveled over the fact that though we hardly knew each other, we already felt like close friends. We swapped running stories, compared notes about training (I learned that my fueling needs some umm….work), talked boys and marriage and kids, you name it until we had to cut ourselves off so we didn’t stay up too late. My mom said it seemed like we were all modern-day pen pals, which is totally right.
I might’ve only spend a few days with these women, but I can’t tell you how much I learned from them. They all carried themselves with confidence, poise, and grace. Since I was one of the youngest in the group, it was so neat to hear them talk about their experiences being mothers and wives and how they balanced it all with their running. Their advice and words of wisdom will certainly stick with me when I start following in their speedy footsteps.
The Nest and a Run Around Green Lake
On Thursday morning the Nuun crew took a field trip to the Oiselle nest. Over the past year, I’ve been absolutely intrigued and impressed by what this tiny, innovative company has grown into. Between signing Lauren Fleshman and then having mid-distance stud Kate Grace make her mark at track Nationals, Oiselle is shaking things up in a good way. They’re not just in it to make stylish women’s running clothes (which ROCK by the way – I’d wear the Lux Layer we got all day every day if I could); they’re a group of real runners looking to inspire women and make a positive impact on the running community as a whole. So… you can imagine my excitement when we got to visit Oiselle.
Off the bat, we met the one and only Sarah Mac Robinson, a fast-as-I’ll-get-out runner whom I’ve followed on twitter for a while. She was as awesome and bubbly (and tall!) in person as I expected her to be. (And yes, I totally geeked out at her!) She took us on a quick run around Green Lake before bringing us back to meet Oiselle founder/CEO Sally Bergesen and the rest of the flock. Needless to say, I love the company and the women that make it happen that much more. Keep doing what you’re doing ladies!
The Duck Boat and Captain “Phlip”
Before running the mother of all relays, we took part in the mother of all tourist activities: A duck boat ride through Seattle. Complete with quakers and a driver with a… colorful (?) sense of humor, a duck boat tour takes you through the city before literally driving into the water. Before we knew it, he had the whole “crew” waving plastic swords and toilet plungers at people on the streets, all while screaming “UFF DA!” whenever we passed one of the 400+ Starbucks that are sometimes literally across the street from one another. It was an admittedly cheesy, but hysterically fun way to sightsee.
“Water Our Melons” & “Spit Don’t Swallow”
Those were the slogans that adorned Team Watermelon’s vans. (Believe it or not, they are hardly dirty compared to what we saw later on the course. Ha!) Thursday night, the teams transformed our white vans into fruit-covered masterpieces. We didn’t really decorate our van for my first relay, so it was way too much fun drawing a giant watermelon on the side of a van with my teammates Devon, Meghan, Lisa M., Lindsay, and Laura (and our driver Casey!). It was team bonding at its finest and it set the tone for the race.
Speaking of the race, here’s Part II of my Hood to Coast Race Report!
More photos from the pre-race fun:
#HeardInVan2: “I’m just so happy to be here, that was so amazing!” – @runwiki after completing her first leg
“We have an 8th person in our van. Her name is Stacy.” – @
“I found my strong at TJ Maxx.” – @