How many of you have a “bucket list”, you know, the things you’d really like to do sometime? I have a bunch on my list, and most of them involve traveling somewhere. Luckily, just three weeks ago (in fact just 18 days in advance) I was asked to do this crazy adventure, a bucket list item, something that I had always wanted to do. Since my husband was going to be in town and I really had no other commitments, there was no way I could say no. I had to do it. I have a friend who lives in Portland, Oregon and she texted me asking me if I had interest in filling in for an injured runner during the upcoming Hood to Coast race. For many years I’ve wanted to do this race, but it’s really hard to get into, so how could I say no? I felt so lucky to be asked to go, so I quickly made some arrangements, booked my flight, and off I went.
Hood to Coast is the oldest and most famous relay race in the country, running 199 miles from Mt. Hood to the Oregon coast. We had a team of 12 runners, each taking turns running 4-8 miles (we each ran three times), slowly making our way down the mountain, through the valley, over more mountains, and to the coast. It was a huge long party, people and vans everywhere, many in costume, most people running fast, and everyone having fun. And you don’t really stop; you just keep on going. I was runner #5, which was ranked the hardest and longest distance of the 12 runners, totaling just less than 20 miles of running. Two of my runs involved big long hill climbs, with the middle one about 7.6 miles of flat road. We got about 3-4 hours of sporadic sleep; I ran while sleepy, I ran the hills, and I laughed a lot. And I mean a lot. There were so many cool things to experience during this trip, and I felt so lucky to be able to do it.
Since I had just two weeks or so to prepare for this race, I didn’t have time to do all the things that were recommended (like running long hills, running 2x a day, running at night). I was lucky to be in decent shape so I could handle the distances I had to run, but I’ve never done three runs like that just 10 hours apart, so I knew I would have to make sure my nutrition was perfect, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to run well. I got adjusted prior to the event, and packed my Hammer nutrition products and relied on that to get me through.
We spent 30+ hours in a van, using a lot of essential oils and arnica to keep our muscles feeling good. I used Hammer bars, gels and recovery drinks. I ate as healthy as I could and stretched when I could. I curled up in the back of van to sneak in a few hours sleep when I could.
I was so thankful that I lived a healthy lifestyle, and that my body could get me through this event. Are you living a healthy lifestyle? Are you doing what you can to perform at your best? Are you keeping your nervous system functioning well, so that you can act on these bucket list experiences when they come up at the last minute like this? Remember you only have one body, one spine, one nervous system, and you have to take care of it all the time.
Hood to Coast — it was an experience I will never forget.