For some reason, Michelle signed herself up for the Portland to Coast team at work. She also signed me up. I figured it’d be a walk in the park, figuratively. Now, 36 sleepless hours later, having walked, shuttled, and water-boy’ed for the team, I’m not sure how I’m going to stand back up.
I felt pretty good until about an hour ago, when for some reason I dozed off while reading. I awoke a short time later with afternoon nap headache, and need to shake it before dinner with the in-laws.
My two walking legs were pretty tough. The first was leg 15, a 7.4 mile stretch along the lovely and serene Highway 30. I wasn’t at the hand-off in time because I didn’t change from driving to walking mode quickly enough and sprinted from the car to meet Michelle, who made quick work of the previous leg. So I started my leg without stretching or a bathroom break. Actually, the large trucks did create a nice breeze as they blew by me in the heat. I felt pretty good about the leg – I averaged 4.82 mph and passed 6 people and was only passed by 2.
Once our team finished our first half, we crashed at a small campground for a couple hours. Those in the group who had done the race before took the opportunity to actually sleep. I showered and read. Michelle read and we complained about our blisters together before mole-skinning up.
The second half was a little easier – Michelle led off with a ~ 4 mile leg in the dark. The temperature had dropped considerably and the Natal area was quite lovely in the transition from evening to dusk and finally into darkness. It’s nice to see stars, but as Michelle put it – looking at them messes up your stride.
My second leg was 29, a 4 mile climb over a summit then 2 miles back down towards the coast. The temperature was perfect, it was dark, and I kicked ass. I passed 16 people and was only passed by 2 walkers (and 2 runners, but they don’t count) just as I was reaching the summit. They must have been freakin’ animals because was keeping a 4.6 mph pace, which I am reminded of each time I move. It was a total buzz and easily kept me going through the last of our team’s legs and down to Seaside, where we crashed in a parking lot until we were kicked out. Several people had reported a guy in a sleeping bag in the lot and thought he might be a vagrant. Nope, just an attorney.
When the second half of our team came in just after 1, I was pleased to find we’d managed to finish ahead of the only team I recognized from our starting position and had thus become my nemesis. I don’t think anyone on the team cared, but we’d been behind them since the first leg, and I blew by them on the hill climb. It was satisfying to pass the 50+ year old woman.
Seriously – walking with all these people was very humbling. I was clearly an amateur compared to most of these people, and having someone your grandparents’ age blast by you is a completely new way of getting schooled. It was fun too, and my team, may they all get some real sleep tonight, was awesome and really trucked. I’m already considering doing it next year – but that might be the sheer exhaustion talking.