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My Hood to Coast Legs

I’m officially back in DC for a whopping 24 hours before I leave again. While I’m extremely sad my vacation in Vermont is over, I’m beyond excited to be flying to Seattle first thing tomorrow morning to join 23 rockstar women to run the 200 mile Hood to Coast Relay with Team Nuun.


I was assigned to be runner 5 and I am both terrified and thrilled about the legs that I have get to run during the relay. Though, if we’re being totally honest with each other, I’m mostly terrified.

Here is a very humerous (and hopefully exaggerated) account of the legs I’m running from a post on the OHSU Sports Medicine blog.

Leg 5: Thirteen miles of rolling hills are a mere warm-up to what awaits you at the end: the gnarliest hill you’ll see outside of a Swiss Miss ad. It just keeps effing GOING, and there’s nothing you and your little split shorts can do about it to make the pain stop. Do your team a favor: throw some absolute bad-ass on this set of legs, then do the honorable thing and look the other way when he’s crying at the 3-mile mark.

Um, yeah….

I think when I offered to run this leg, I was thinking “I am going to be an Ironman, I can do anything” but I’m pretty sure being an Ironman does not actually equip me to scale epic ascents. Me thinks me and my split shorts are in for an interesting ride…

My first leg (leg 5) is 6.08 miles long and rated “Very Hard” by the official Hood to Coast peeps.


It is described as “long in length” with “very challenging rolling hills”


I don’t know what they call “rolling hills” out in Oregon, but that last bit just looks like it goes up, up and UP.

My next leg (leg 17) is ranked a “moderate” leg and is 7.13 miles long.


It’s rumored to be on basically flat terrain along the highway.


This time, I think HTC might have actually described it accurately. I’m excited to try and get a little speed going on this leg since I can’t imagine my feet will be carrying me all that fast as I try and ascend the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

Last up, it’s Swiss Miss time.


You know when “Crest of hill” is written onto the map, you’re in for a real treat of a climb.

My third leg (leg 29) is described as “very hard”, though I imagine if HTC were to employ a “very, very, very hard” ranking, it would earn it.


It’s 6.11 miles of hills, hills, and more hills.

The last time I did one of these running relays, I had a similar leg that ran straight up one of Vermont’s many ski mountains.


And while it may not have been my prettiest running ever, I survived.


And believe me, survival will definitely be my strategy for climbing this weekend.

In total, I’m running 19.38 miles and my collective legs earned the most difficult ranking among all the HTC legs. So even if I run less than stellar paces, I’ve still got that going for me…which is nice.

Have you run a relay before? And even if you haven’t, would you want the fast and flat legs or the crazy challenging?

I must be a glutton for punishment because I always fight for the toughest of the tough legs.

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46 Responses to My Hood to Coast Legs

  1. Bad. Ass. That shit is scary.

  2. You know they picked you to run those legs for a reason – because you are going to ROCK them!

    I ran with the Hope Express relay team last year (135 miles in 24 hours… in February. In the mountains) and only had to cover 9 miles but was still mentally drained. It was the best running experience I’ve had though to date. You’re going to love it! Have so much fun!

  3. Yowza! Good luck!!! I ran Ragnar NY this spring and it was tough. Mentally just as much as physically. It was a lot of waiting around and I don’t know about your but my legs, etc tighten up when sitting around. By my third leg I was D.O.N.E. done. I did about the same mileage. It was a very memorable experience though and because there’s something wrong with me….. I would totally do it again! Have fun!

  4. Good luck! Own those hills (mountains?)!!

  5. Wow, Those are some beastly legs. Good luck with them, you’re definitely in for a challenge! I know if I went I’d probably end up doing the same thing, the most challenging legs. Because someone has to do them,why not me?

  6. Hot damn. You’re going to crush it all, of course, but just reading those descriptions made my wimpy ass want to cry. And volunteering to run the toughest legs? Officially my hero, Halnon.

  7. You are a rock star – those are some impressive legs. I am running the Ragnar Relay in Tennessee in November and while we have a lot of hills, the Hood to Coast elevation charts definitely would kick us all in our pants.

    Best of luck! You will rock it

  8. I will now stop bitching about the “hilly” Freeport Half course. That was nothing compared to this; its maximum height was 200 feet. You are so badass. Obviously.

  9. At least the weather should be ‘refreshing’?

    Good luck! Sounds like an adventurous weekend!

  10. Good luck ladies this weekend! Have a blast and eat a ton of bagels!!

  11. Yeah, I’ve done the NH Reach the Beach series 2x. They have some pretty gnarly hills in the Whites, so you don’t have much of a choice to avoid them. They (hilly legs) are fun, and unless you are on an ultra team, you are never running that far at once really, so its manageable. Good luck!

  12. You are AMAZING and will seriously ROCK this – you are an IRONMAN after alll! I am so excited about Hood to Coast and am going to start packing RIGHT NOW. I’m also terrified about doing Leg #9 – our rockstar guy bailed on us and that moved me up in the queue to the hardest leg for Van 2 and I do NOT feel ready. It’s not nearly as “difficult” as yours but its nearly 20 miles and I am not really trained for running those kinds of distances! I’m also terrified about the heat, its supposed to be high 80’s and us in Seattle aren’t really used to that! HAVE THE BEST TIME EVER!!!!!!

  13. Those look like some nice fun legs! Have fun and rock those hills!

  14. that is a gnarly description of that leg. But you are a superstar and will obviously kick its ass. I have never run a relay before, but I may pick the challenging legs too, since I’m just not that speedy to begin with. You are going to have the best time ever and I’m so jealous!

  15. You are going to rock H2C! Enjoy it!

  16. Well gosh those hills are FOR REALS!

  17. ZERO doubt that you are going to rock each of those legs!

  18. Wow, you are crazy in the best way. :)

    Can’t wait to read all the recaps for the relay.

  19. If you run for bagels you should do this race with me…


    Post race bagels are being provided by my hometown bagel shop “What A Bagel”

    PS- there’s a bagel shop opening this fall on Connecticut Ave a few blocks from us, I hope they’re good

  20. You will crrrrrush these hills like snails :)
    You Leg 5-ers are animals who thrive on and feel most alive in these types of situations…masochists. Me? I picked the Pussy Legs. But I am old and have only been running for less than a year after being injured for almost ever.
    it’ll be a blast in any and all events :)
    I am so looking forward to this!!!!

  21. I would expect nothing less than the toughest legs for you! I, on the other hand, am a big wimp and would probably go for one of the easier legs…especially if I was racing with speedsters like you ladies.

  22. whew. have fun!!!

  23. Have a blast!! The relays I’ve run are my favorite races ever.

  24. holy cow those hills are beastly! Also hope you enjoy the Pacific North West I love it out here. And if you need any recommendations for where to get your eat on in Seattle let me know!

  25. Was that a nod to the Caddyshack quote there at the end? Because I use that one all the time, too. I think we’re roomies tomorrow! So we got that going for us…which is nice. Looking forward to meeting you!

  26. Yep, did Reach The Beach back in ’01…FUN! I chose the challenging leg #1 – just a little 5K….UP Brettonwood as the ski lift flies!

    Have fun!

  27. Well whoever dished out the legs certainly thinks you’re the resident BAMF. Right on, whoever that is. You’re going to kick some ass and I’m super jeal of the NUUN party. (we can pretend in Oct, k?)

  28. You’re going to be awesome!! Those last three miles are going to give you quads of steel, and I can’t wait to hear how they are!

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  31. You can do it! I believe in you, Emily! But yeah, it’s going to hurt…

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