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.