Okay, so I've just got to share one story about Portland-to-Coast.
So, if you read my last post, you know this was a new thing. If you haven't, now you know.
My first leg was fraught with an isolated path and some homeless men with grocery carts. Other than that, it was AWESOME! Beautiful! Wildflowers grew on each side of the path. The weather was PERFECT--cool, a bit overcast. LOVELY! I saw a deer and her fawn grazing on the grass. Oh, and I passed two women ("road kill"). Considering I left with I believe eight women from the starting line and three started out behind me, that put five behind me and two in front of me. During the next leg, my teammate put those two behind her.
We became really pretty good friends with the team that took the lead during our "heat." Is that what they call it? We met up with them at every exchange point and chatted and hung out. SO fun! We passed them. They passed us. We passed them again.... You get the idea.
Our second van of teammates was full of PtC veterans. They'd been doing this for years. Their team's van 2, from what we understand was full of those just out to have fun (like us), so I think we lost them in the second part of the race. Sad! We never saw them again.
So...now, to the story....
My second leg was in the middle of the night. We had pulled my van into the major exchange point where we would end up meeting our van #2 after their legs were all done (literally and figuratively) and slept until 12:30am-ish--if you can call that sleeping.
We had taken a bench of seats out and put a big sleeping pad there. We put another one in the way back, so four of us "slept" on seats and two "slept" on the pads. It worked out nicely, and I think, considering what we woke to after midnight, we were all happy to be inside.
I threw my clothes on, went to the port-a-potty, went back to the car and ate a bowl of cereal, and met up with my buddy Julie at the exchange point. After my earlier 7.31 mile leg, this one at 3.75 was going to be fun.
I took off in the dark with the drizzle (like only the Pacific Northwest knows how to hand out) coming at my face. Only bad move? I had worn my glasses. Visibility was bad particularly if cars were coming.
Right off the bat, I passed two girls. WeeHAW!
You could only see the blinky lights we were all wearing on our reflective vests, so I took off for the next one and the next one and the next one--five in all over the course of about three miles.
At this point in the race, the runners had caught up to us, so I was passed by like a million of them, but it's all good. The thing that mattered to me was that I didn't want to be passed by another walker.
So, here we go....
Just past about three miles (I'm guessing here), I'm heading toward a slight incline and a curve, and I hear footsteps. It's a WALKER! Where'd she come from? She's right next to me. I hear her footfalls, and they're twice as fast as mine. Ugh!
I match her footfalls.
Now, mind you, I wasn't cruising when I first met her, but I was going at a comfortable pace for me. I was maintaining. Well, now the arms are going, but then she doubles again. Ugh!
There's definitely a method to her madness.
I match her again. By now, my arms are cranking and my feet are going faster than I thought I had in me.
She falls behind. PHEW!
Just about this time, a runner comes along behind us. The runners don't usually talk to us walkers. We're some form a low-life. I know because I drove runners last year. But this guy says, "Wow! Now that's some race walking." I'm puffing so hard, I say nothing, but the girl behind me says something to him like a labored "Thanks." As he passes me, he says, "Nice job." Then he hollers, "Less than a mile left."
I was so glad to hear these words. We took the incline, rounded the corner, and in the distance, could see the exchange point. I kept the pace until we got there and the exchange was made. Phew!
What a kick in the pants! I CAN do hard things.