Saturday, August 29, 2015

Portland to Coast 2015

I was on the winning team again this year; first to the coast of 400 teams! I went in a bit undertrained and it showed on the last leg, but the conditions were adverse so it's hard to know what would've happened otherwise. Regardless, all my teammates put forth astounding efforts and despite a storm for the books, we arrived at the beach only 5 minutes past our predicted time, in 22 hr 19 minutes. Now that's amazing.

Leg 14 (my first leg; the 2nd leg of Portland to Coast). I'd done this one once before, back in 2009, and found it challenging because of the length (6.04 miles) and the gradual hill the last 2 miles for a total of 40m elevation gain and 32m elevation loss in the distance according to my Garmin (though they've changed the leg because it was 5.49 miles in 2009). This time I had someone to chase, as Ashley, a fast 31yo RW that Carmen is working with, got a 30 second head start on me. I narrowed that gap a little to about 20 seconds, but then couldn't hold the pace and ended up finishing about 2 min 30 sec behind her. Still, I'm pleased with my aggressive effort. My HR was quite high for much of the leg (>170 for the last 30 min or so) and it was warm outside and sunny (only 18.9C at the start of the leg, but I am sure it got a lot hotter by the end) and uncharacteristically humid for Portland. I finished in 59:35 (pushed start on my watch a bit late) for 6:08/km (assuming distance as marked in race handbook). The last ~4km were a very hard effort, harder than I'd have liked because of my unpreparedness, but Garmin data here. 

Leg 24 was a new leg for me, but I liked it. Mostly flat, 4.87 miles (7.84km), and I started at 7:30pm when it was a bit cooler out. Still humid, still warm, but not too bad. I felt pretty good for the first 6K, and only the last 2K were difficult, and I was able to go a bit faster at 6:02/km (assuming the distance was as marked in race handbook) with average HR only 160 this time; smaller hills and cooler weather helped a lot (though oddly enough Garmin says it was hotter...22.8C...maybe it was, but no sun and some breeze was great).  Garmin data here. 

In between 24 and 34: a little nap (2 hr), some spaghetti and meatballs, and some digestive upset (not too awful, but a few porta-potty visits required). And a storm came in...

Leg 34. Yeah, leg 34. I'd done this one last year a lot faster. But the conditions were perfect last year, and were horrific this year. Yes, horrific. The temperature was OK, but it was raining sideways and the wind was a steady 32kph or 20mph with gusts MUCH stronger, and oh yeah, it was a headwind. And there were hills. And my legs were done. And I found out about an hour before doing this leg that the buyers we were under contract with backed out and the house is back on the market. Long story...but if you know anyone who's looking in the area, have them contact our realtor, Elaine, at 801-573-4109. So I was NOT in a good frame of mind, and when I hit the first difficult hill (and there were 30m of elevation gain in this 5.59km leg) and my 500m split was about 3:30 I just determined I'd finish and hold on for dear life. Actually, though, given the conditions, I think in retrospect that my time was pretty good. I went 35:50 for 6:27/km, which was only 1:02 slower than my predicted 34:48 (I knew I'd be tired for that last leg). So to only lose 14 sec/km with a 32kph headwind I think is pretty good, especially given my mental state. I cried when the van gave me aid but kept pushing as hard as I had stamina for. I think I forgot to wear my HR monitor, because I have no HR data! Funny, that...the weird stuff you do at 4:30 am on 2 hr of sleep and poor mental state. Y'know, I'm actually proudest of this leg because I stuck it out and didn't give up, and put in a good performance given the poor conditions. Garmin data here. 

When we arrived in Seaside just a couple hours later, the weather had worsened enormously. The tents at the beach finish were in near-ruins, and the finish was moved onto the promenade and then later onto a street in town because of the danger of the blowing sand (I got sand in my eyes, mouth, etc. - nasty!). Despite all the horrid conditions of the last 5 legs for our team, we were only 5 min off our predicted pace of 22hr 14min, finishing in 22hr, 19 min. We were first to the beach (as we advertised on our van :)!) and got our photo with Bob Foote, the race founder, and a few TV interviews. It was cool. Oh, and did I mention I am the youngest on our 10-person team at 45? Everyone else is over 50. Coolest and strongest bunch of "Antiques and Collectibles" (our team name) that I know. I'm proud to have been a part of this team.

Photos here. 

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