Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wondering What Happened to Van #2?


As the final runner on the H2C team, I was designated as the official Van #2 blogger. I have quite an act to follow, though, as I have to recap all of our antics and adventures while starving and sleep-deprived (and not in the midst of the action, as done so eloquently by Van #1). This is all the more challenging, as I managed to complete the post, and then lose half of it while attempting to spell check :(

So what was goin' on in Van #2? Well, while Van #1 was heading down Mt. Hood during the final hours of sunlight, Van #2 (Bismarck, Bel, DKing, Danno, Stephanie, KatieWaz, and our fearless driver Darrell) was heading to find its final real meal for 24 hours and to make it to the van exchange point with time to rest and relax before it was time to run. After cheering on rock-star Rennie, who braved the notorious leg 1, we entertained ourselves cheering for the other runners (such as van-favorites 'Hot Pants'), and searching for a dinner which would give us the energy to stay awake for our midnight runs. We settled upon the deli counter at Safeway, where we feasted on turkey sandwiches, and were offered pesto sauce by a team sponsored by an olive oil company.

We then headed to Fred Meyer (a Wal-Mart-like store), where we relaxed in the parking lot, waiting for Ty to finish her leg. Bismarck takes the prize for most creative sleeping nook, choosing to snooze on the top of the Suburban. We had a chance to chat with the 'Go Nads' from TX, and admire the other cleverly decorated vans (such as 'Espresshos' and 'Puke -n- Rally,' which we ended up following for what seemed the entire race).

Around 10:30 or so, Ty charged through the night to hand off to DKing and kick off our journey into the night time. The first set of legs was completed beyond expectations, finishing 5 minutes ahead of our projected time. In particular, DKing and Bel led the charge with numerous 'kills,' propelling us towards our goal of a sub-22 hour finish and a high place in our division. Bel swears it was the 'team in red' that kept him going (were they real, or an illusion? We will never know!). The veteran members proved to be excellent mentors to the Nooglers in the van (me, Stephanie and Bel), providing everything from IPods (need to rally at midnight? listen to Knarls Barkley on repeat!), to race tactics, to calm and stress relief (suffer from paralysis by analysis? A good shake from Stephanie will help you get focused!).

We wrapped up our first round of legs at about 2 AM along the banks of the Willamette River, and cheered Sean on as we headed to the next transition zone. I was initially concerned that I would have to dodge bears during my late-night run, but it turns out my biggest threat was partying college kids and some drunk half-naked man distracting the race volunteers giving directions. Phase 1 went exceedingly well, with our overall time 5 minutes ahead of our projected time. Now it is time to sleep!

Anyone awake at this point was entertained by Danno and Fearless Driver Darrell navigating to the transition point. Turns out we should have read our van ("Lost? Try Google Maps"). After a few wrong turns, and a handful of confused vans who thought that following the Google Van was a good idea, we made it to our site, and settled in for a few hours of sleep.

We woke up around 4ish for DKing's 2nd exchange with Ty. Phase 2 of the race greeting us with hills, dust and sunrise, enabling us to shed the vests and headlamps (which by this point needed to be disposed of in a toxic waste dump - they just weren't meant to be run in by 12 runners in a row!). Stephanie takes the "Super Googler" award for her leg, running sub-7 minute miles despite never racing more than 400 meters (and taking a mid-run spill)...are you sure you aren't a closet marathoner?

After handing off to a slightly uncomfortable (understatement) Rennie, who was suffering the effects of her awesome leg 1, we headed off to the next transition. At this point there was increasing traffic, and blazing sunshine, which meant longer lines at the Honey Buckets (and by this point they were not smelling like honey). Thank goodness for Fearless Driver Darrell, who stayed calm and got us to each transition with time to spare (including a traffic jam caused by the Honey Truck - ever wondered what they do with the contents of a honey bucket? Now we know!). Ok, enough toilet humor...

Time for the final legs. Despite the 3 Hs (heat, hills, and too many Honey Bucket visits...last time, I promise!), everyone put forth excellent efforts, particularly Bel & Stephanie with outstanding 7+ mile runs! I had the honor and privilege and challenge of finishing. It is a blessing and a curse - I got to reach the beach (and finish along the same coast where Goonies was filmed), but had waaaaaay too much time to think and think and think and totally psych myself out. Van #2, along with the prospect of seeing One-Eyed Willy's ship, kept me going, though.

Our journey from Hood to Coast concluded around 4:30 PM. We finished in 21 hours and 38 minutes, faster than last year, and 31st OA and 4th in the Corporate Men's Division (with a co-ed team!). We then snapped a few more team photos before bidding adieu to Tom, a constant source of motivation and inspiration, and headed to Mari's parent's summer home for an excellent post race meal.

I would like to bestow the following honors upon my fellow Van 2 members:

DKing - most likely to know the words to a song (and sing along)
Danno - most likely to say something clever and slightly off-color to make us laugh when most needed
Bel - most likely to lower the average age of the team to 25
Bismarck - most likely to retire from Google and become a life coach
Stephanie - most likely to be the first 400m runner to represent the US in the Olympic marathon
Driver Darrell - most likely to pull a Rip Van Winkle and sleep for 20 years

This is only a small handful of our antics and adventures. Be sure to check in with the other H2C'ers for their own account of the journey.

Thank you, everyone, for an incredible experience and for reminding me why I love to run.

Tired and Exhilarated,

Katie Waz:)


Blogger David said...

Yeah, how about that leg 12. I ran it too. Everyone's drinking beer and I'm in the back of the van in a fetal position stressing about the final leg 36. But what a payoff!

Congrats on a great time. Beat us by 32 minutes. Beat us last year too. Having once worked for the once-great Lycos, it was my personal goal to beat you guys. Next year! ;-)

11:08 AM  

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