Saturday, August 25, 2012

Unofficial results

From the results tent this afternoon. Nice work team. Off to a celebratory dinner at Bridgeport Brew Pub in Portland.

The end of the road

Van 1 is in Seaside contemplating the Lewis and Clark statue and a dip in natures largest ice bath.

On our last leg

Thanks to everyone in van 2 crushing their legs and Jeff beasting it on his last leg, we're now about 2.5 minutes ahead of GE, the team that was leading most of the night. Blake's bringing us home to the beach. It's not over yet!

Some motivation to hold pace

There is a team of Yale alumni runners featuring the most famous Eli track runner. Don't get passed by him.

Friday, August 24, 2012

We have angered the wind gods

I don't know what we did, but this headwind for van 1 legs 13, 14, and so far 15 is unwarranted. Sacrifices welcome for anyone still up on this otherwise beautiful Friday night.

Chocolate coconut twinkies

Why is Craig jubilantly gesticulating Usain-bolt style? Is it because van 2 completed all of its legs and is on its way to get some much needed sleep waiting at exchange 18? Or is he celebrating because we're (likely) in front of team Tarahumara, only behind Toyo University, Bowerman, Knoxville, Portland University, and New Zealand? Or is he just pointing out the chocolate coconut twinkie on the menu of the Japanese stir fry restaurant we stopped at in Portland?


En route to Mt Hood

We have landed! We have eaten! We are driving! Last stop before Mt. Hood!


Van 2: Leg 8

The sun was setting over the Oregon Alfalfa fields as the (now very well used) baton was passed on for the 8th leg. The route was overall downhill,  but there were a few rolling hills to keep one honest.

Being the Google team we are always interested on how technology marches forward and changes lives.  In this case, technology marched forward rather slowly - and caused much stress in my life. The technology in question here was the Motorolla Aktiv sports watch with GPS. I have little / no experience using such black magic and was eager to have it keep me on track to meet the Big Cat predicted pace. (Actually - I more worried about missing the Big Cat required pace....;) ) Well, it started giving slow splits.....45seconds slower than planned. 'Well, just relax and pick it up'....still slow.....'ok...stretch your stride, lift the hips, stride out'......still slow....."go faster"....still slow..."go even faster" get it by now. The one gets to thinking.....was it the kale in my all organic locally sourced salad I had the day before at the raw food bar?! Am I missing a massage? Perhaps I am missing a shot of caffeine from the sneak attack barrista? oh - the decisions and uncertainty of working at Google!

In the end the GPS was the source of uncertainty and was short on the distance. The time looked ok.....apparently cut a few seconds its onward and upward to the next leg!!!

Google1 artist in residence

Kerry is to van decorations what Claire Stapleton is to TGIF emails.

Van 2- Leg 1- Kismet, serendipity or just plain luck?

Coming to the YouTube Mother Ship for training, I bumped into a friend and new teammate, Crosby Freeman. One of the first things he said was, "How long you out here for?"

My response: "Here  until the end of the week and up to Portland to see my family."

Two blinks and eyes widening he smiled, "Yeah?! We're running Hood-to-Coast on Friday...... Hey, I think we might have a spot open.. You interested?"

I paused, thinking back to work plans... I may be able to squeeze in all my meetings by Thursday... Wait, I thought. The last time I ran that race in 2005... I couldn't run for 3 days, or was it 2? However, remembering the camaraderie, feeling of accomplishment and IPAs waiting at the end of the run in beautiful Seaside I was like, "Let's do this!"

Always wanting to run with the Google team, but being in San Bruno at the time, I couldn't logistically make it down to MTV. This was my chance though.

Changing my ticket, I left early Friday to meet the team in Portland. We picked up the vans and headed straight for Timberline. We got off to a good start and watched our first three legs run solid down the steep decline.

My leg, the first of our second van's started at the Sandy(for track fans, home of Art Skipper) Safeway. Meeting my folks for coffee, I'm thinking that this is my day. After a shaky warm-up, I went to the exchange zone to meet Crosby for the hand-off. He came blazing in quicker than our projections and pumped up, I started striding out down the hill and feeling rough(mind you the day before I kayaked an hour on the team offsite), I pushed through the first mile in about 5:20.

From there, I was just not going to maintain, so I slowed and just focused on running it as if it were a tempo run. Around mile 3 my shoe lace came undone and I had to stop. A mile later, the other one came undone and disgusted with myself, I stopped again to re-lace. Then came the undulating hills.

I repeatedly hammered up and tried to relax down the hills. Focusing on maintaining the rhythm and taking scalps took my mind away from the creeping lactate. The folk that lived in the area we're kind enough to turn their sprinklers on to cool us off in the blazing, setting sun.

When we got to 1-mile out, the course began to flatten out a bit and the finish came to sight. Dropping down another gear I focused on passing the three people that stood between me and our next runner, Craig. Coming down to the final 100-meter stretch the lady in front of me turned her head and she too, hammered down beginning her sprint. Surprisingly fast, I thought about letting her have her glory, but that would not be sport. So I passed her, but it was not as easy a task as I had thought.

My final time was slower than anticipated and I rolled in at 34:14 for my 6.32 mile leg. Not stellar, not bad. I hope to redeem myself the next two legs and help our team win the corporate division.

Van 1 wraps-16.7% down

The YouTube handoff went like clockwork. Van 1 is off to Portland. We'll be back up at 9:45. Blog is all you, van 2.

First set of legs ..almost complete

Van 1 is off to a great start. The weather is fabulous, albeit a bit hot, and we're 6 minutes ahead of pace.

There is *a lot* of competition this year including my favorite new team from Japan. They're about 15 minutes ahead of us and looking great.

First set of legs almost wrapped up in Van 1.  We are collectively six minutes or so ahead of schedule - good start, but the truth will be told in the second and third set of legs.

Some details:

Leg 1: Chris. led it out down a brutal descent and beat down his projection by almost 4 minutes... nice!  And only a few blisters, not too shabby!
Leg 2: Big Cat took the baton and finished the descent down Mt. Hood.  That downhill bought us another couple minutes!
Leg 3: Ben C followed up with a nice fast 4 miles.
Leg 4: I wasn't feeling all that great, but I managed my 7.18 miles without losing any time... that's a win!
Leg 5: Loren had the hardest of our first set of miles: a hilly 6 miles, which he seemed to gobble up.
Leg 6: Crosby is out there now doing what he does best.

Looking forward to dinner!


Van 2

Just chillin like villains. Behind a dumpster.


Exchange 2

We're now about 4500 vertical feet below where we started. While the downhill takes a toll on one's legs, we have been treated to some amazing views of Oregon forests. Added bonus: 4:50 miles are a cinch. The pack we started with is beginning to spread out but this is gonna be a race this year.

From the pictures, I'd say ben looks like he's got his second and third legs in the tank (he's finishing) and Larry looks ready to go for #4.

Exchange 1: Baton and water balloon toss

After descending 6000 feet, Chris handed off to Eddie (Big Cat). From the group that started with us at 3:15 pm, here are the teams ahead: Toyo (elite runners from a university in Tokyo), Nike Bowerman, Knoxville, New Zealand, and Tarahumara -- though perhaps not for long at the rate Big Cat is moving. The perennial group of young locals at the exchange didn't disappoint in the heckling department, this year armed with water balloons in addition to PBR tallboys. Though Chris' lightning speed allowed him to dodge the bullet. Though it might have been a welcome relief in this heat.

Nice work Chris! Time to stretch.


Mt hood

Winston getting the ship ready to sail.


Esther, fearless van 2 driver, in the zone on the way to the mountain.


Waiting for Winston at the airport. Beautiful day in Portland.

Dawn #1

Of 2. Stay tuned for a shot from Mist, OR or thereabouts.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The night before

It's an early morning for us tomorrow, as we all head to Portland (early flights from SFO and drives from Washington). We've drawn the 3:15 start time and Chris Holstrom will be kicking off this year's bid. #Pumped.

The Mother of All Relays

Before the start of Hood to Coast 2011

Galen Rupp's fearless kick during the last lap of the 10K. Poetry in motion.
Meb Keflezghi, 37, proving that he still can compete with the best of them. Downright inspiring.

For track and field fanatics, this summer's Olympic games lived up to the hype. Yet they still served as only a warm-up for what we all recognize as the biggest running event of the year.

"Hood to what??"

Well, maybe not everyone keeps Hood to Coast irremovably blocked off on their "running" Google Calendar in all caps. But for many of us, tomorrow marks the start of the "Mother of All Relays" (as the relay modestly refers to itself).

We'll do our best to keep the blog updated throughout the night to satiate the thirst of our loyal track and field-a-holic followers riveted to computer screens during the wee hours of the morn. Of course you can just read our final post on Saturday morning.

Either way, for now I leave you with a profound quote from Johann Blake, sprinter and teammate of Usain Bolt on the Jamaican Olympic team:

Basically, we are not human, we dropped from space like Mr Bean. Mr Bean is not a normal guy, he makes jokes. We are not normal guys. We are from space, I am from Mars.

While we may not be as fast as Blake and Bolt, we're certainly far from normal. After all, we're running an all night race from Mount Hood to a coastline 200 miles away -- for fun.

See you out there!


Blake and Matt hoisting L-Train after his final leg during Hood to Coast 2011.
1st place? No. From space? Perhaps