Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hood 2 Coast

Hood 2 Coast Recap

My running history:

First of all I wanted to give you a little background on myself.  I am the mom of three.  There ages are 4 1/2 and two 2 1/2 yr olds.  I have exercised on and off throughout my life but never really enjoyed it or felt accomplished other then when the scale went down.  I especially hated running.  Couldn't do more then 10 mins of straight running without having to walk for a bit.  and downhills were my best friends.  I had twins 2 years ago and about a year after they were born I was finally ready to get back into working out.  Having twins was anything but a picnic so it took me that long to get motivated and part of it was that I got a break from the chaos of the house.  The only workout that worked with our life was a quick run in the evenings after the babies were put down to bed.  Since bedtime was impossible with only one person this worked really well for both of us.  Now I should say that my husband was really getting into running and it sounded good to try out and gave us something to relate to and talk about.  I started running 2-3 times a week only 1-2 miles at a time.  I signed up for my first race (an 8k) and I was really nervous about running 4.9 miles let alone trying to run it without walking.  So I began training a bit harder and when race day came I was ready.  I got to do this race with my sister which was really fun.  I think we probably came in last but we managed to run the whole thing without walking which was a huge accomplishment for us.  
A good friend of ours asked us about a month later if we wanted to do the Hood 2 Coast (One of the biggest relay races in the country) the next year.  I was VERY hesitant at first because running was still really hard for me.  but I really wanted to experience it (I had heard it was amazing) with the group of people he had lined up.  It was all of our really good friends from church and a few people it would be nice to get to know better.  So with the race still 11 months away I knew I had work to do.  The race was at the end of August so in January I started working out at a local gym 2-3 times a week.  While I was trying to lose weight as my main focus I always ran a few miles just to get used to it.  Throughout the next 6 months my mileage increased and I was finally able to run 3 miles without walking.  I still had a slow pace but I was getting there.  I did several races in the 6 months as well.  I did the Shamrock 5k, The Cinco de Mayo 10k, Freedom 5k, and the Hubbard 10k.  As each month past I got faster and started doing some long distances.  Although I still had to walk every once in a while it became very rare.   It was also great to see some of the baby weight finally coming off.  
In June Matt made an official training schedule for me to get me ready for H2C.  I was running 3-4 times a week 4-6 miles each time.  Some of my favorite runs I did over the year were with my Hood 2 Coast team mates.  I loved the waterfront 6 miles with Mindy and Makaena Durias.  My 7 miles on the beach with Matt, my 9 miles I did in Seaside, OR, and my 10 miler with my H2C teammate Denee.  In early August I was getting a bit burnt out with all the running and was requesting some motivational runs with my H2C teammates.  Boy did that help!  but after my 10 miler with Denee I was having severe hip pain.  I could barely walk on it and H2C was only 2 weeks away.  I skipped a couple of runs that week and saw my chiroprater and even though I still felt a little pain when I ran I finally felt ready for the race.  

Van 1

The Big Day:
Our team was scheduled to pick us up at a house we were staying at with my family at Resort at the Mountain about 6am on race day.  We were so excited/nervous neither of us slept that well.  So we were tired but amped up at the same time.  When they finally pulled up and all our team mates from van 1 climbed out the greet us was the moment it felt really real!  We packed up our stuff and headed up to Timberline Lodge. 

At 8:30am our first runner Mike started our long journey down the mountain.  and while I still had a little bit of time before I ran (I was the 3rd leg) I knew it was coming very soon.  We jumped in the van and headed down the mountain to meet him at the next exchange.  

MY FIRST LEG:  I knew this was a short one (3.93 rated easy with all of it slightly downhill).  I was nervous but I knew once my hand off partner came into view I would get a shot of adrenaline. We had a sloppy exchange, lol one that Matt caught on camera and posted it to Instagram, H2C saw it and in turn posted it on their page, so I'm famous!  Once I started down the hill I kept thinking this is it!  This is where allllllll my training has paid off.  It was such an amazing feeling to finally have it here.  About 15 mins rolled by before my van rolled by screaming at me from the windows.  I think this was one of my favorite parts.  All the encouragement and congrats from your team mates.  I was going at about a 9:30 pace and I was getting passed by so many people!  I think there had to be 15 total.   I had heard over and over not to go too fast on my first leg because it will tire you out for the rest of the race.  So keeping this in mind I just tried to keep a decent and steady pace.  The weather was overcast so it kept me pretty cool.  I was trying to take in the forest and the beautiful view on the way.  I loved how the trees were dripping from the night before so I would get a big PLOP! on my head but it was cooling me off so I didn't mind.  The only truly bad part was the trucks on my left.  They were ridiculously loud and were making me jump because their engine would rev right at the moment they were passing.  Toward the end I could see the dairy queen up ahead and I knew my team was waiting.  I ran as hard as I could and was greeting with jumps and screams.  and a big smile from my husband telling me great job.  I loved it.  What a way to start the day.  

Famous Instagram Pic

Two things I learned on the first portion of the race. ALWAYS use the bathroom when you have a chance because you never know when you may have another.  and even though you are dying to post all sorts of crap on Facebook you CAN'T because you have no service on the mountain.  Our other van was dying to find out how it all was going and this is the most exciting thing I have ever done and I can't share!  
After our van finished we headed into Sandy to meet up with our other van and pick up our last runner.  It was so amazing to see everyone.  Most of the year we have been chatting on Facebook and at church but this was the day we had all waited for.  We shared stories from our first legs and heard about how the others were feeling about their start.  Ian our fearless leader looked like he could cry he was so happy.  He had endlessly worked for this day and I could see he was really to push Brian out of the way and have at it!  The exchange happened with a few AO RIVERS! thrown out and we grabbed all the members of our team and headed to Mike and Jens for a little rest.   
Joe and the Sellwood Brg
We all ate, showered and laid down for a little rest before we headed back out to meet Van 2 and start our second legs.  I had heard about crazy traffic and crazy drivers but when the exchange got moved to Oaks Park I really understood what this meant.  There was a traffic jam that went on forever.  We thankfully got lucky and due to some awesome navigation skills from our fellow runners we met our 1st runner with about 10 mins to spare.  On that exchange there were several runners that were their before their vans because of the traffic jam.  What a frustrating feeling.  

MY SECOND LEG:  This one made me a bit nervous because it was my hardest and longest.  (7.25 miles, rated Hard because of the distance and hills)  The time of day was perfect.  It was about 9pm and about half ways through the sun set.  Even though I was still on a major highway there was less semis and more vans.  There was a pretty decent hill but not too much of an incline it just went on for a ways.  When Matt asked me later about it (as he was very nervous for me driving up the hill) I said I honestly was trying not to think about it too much and I think it hit right about the time I kinda zone out.  I had my music playing on my arm even though I couldn't hear it very well but it helped.  When the sun set it got VERY dark and I was only carrying a small flashlight that did nothing for visibility.  I couldn't see rocks ahead or event he crest of a hill.  I could only see because I was following other runners, when cars past by and when others had headlamps behind me.  I will definitely wear a headlamp next time and warned my fellow runners to wear them. When this one ended I felt so glad to have that one finished and it was honestly my best one.  I never felt overly tired or overwhelmed by any of it.  It felt great to have that one over though.  It was the one I had been dreading.  When Matt and I talked about it after I could tell he was so proud of me and shared my joy with it with me.  It was so amazing to experience that with him.  

Early morning tiredness
At this point we were all getting pretty tired and sore.  The temp had dropped so our muscles were getting cold and tired.  We didn't finish up until about 12:30am and at that point we had about 5 hours until our next legs so we drove ahead into Mist, OR where they have a huge field that everyone sleeps in.  About 4 hours before we discovered that the coolers valve was left open soaking mine and Matt's sleeping bags.  I was ready to cry because it meant a cold night not sleeping (not that I was expecting much in that department but still!) Thankfully our other van had a few extra sleeping bags and we borrowed a few from them.  Matt and I slept in the van while our team mates slept in the field.  A fact I know they will come to resent us in the future since they were very wet and cold.  I got about 2 solid hours and then went to stand in the bathroom line for 45 mins.  The porta potties were ridiculous.  The lines were so long and as we got closer to the beach they got dirtier and fuller.  When our first runner went to go meet the other van we discovered they had been waiting for about 45 mins because they finished faster then we all expected.  We felt really bad that we wasted their time!  
MY THIRD LEG:  It was pretty cold at this point but I still decided to wear a tshirt and hat on this leg.  (It was 5.60 Miles, rated Moderate)  Before I started I looked at Matt through tired eyes and informed him that I was not excited about this last one AT ALL.  He then did what he always does and says very sweet words of encouragement and tried to get me to remember it was just like any other training run.  He is always very good at getting me in the right frame of mind.  As I started it took my body a little while to get used to this type of punishment because I was very stiff and tired.  I was probably averaging between 10-11 pace and I just tried to focus on the beautiful morning country side.  It was very peaceful (until my van comes screaming by, lol).  This was my hardest leg I think because I was really feeling the no sleep and other runs.  My body just didn't want to go very fast and on a few small hills I really felt the burn and I was quickly becoming out of breath.  I have never been so happy to see the finish line.  I had Matt there videotaping my victory finish. 

When asked if I would do it again I was saying "maybe" but to tell you the truth I probably would if asked.  I was trying to describe it to coworkers a few days later and all I could come up with was "life changing".  I loved it so much and I am telling people if you are a runner you HAVE to do this race.  I have never felt so accomplished and proud and just joyful to experience this all with the people I call friends.  I don't think I could ever top this one and it would probably make me sad to do it with people I didn't know as well.  

When we all got to the beach it was one huge party!  When our last runner came in we all gathered, they called our name and we crossed the finish line together!  One of the best moments of my life.  :)

We did it!

Finishline Photobomb

One of my personal goals was not to walk on any of my legs and I am so happy to say I accomplished this.  I didn't care about time just finishing.  This by far has been the most amazing experience aside from having my children.  I have never been too athletic or even had alot of goals related to fitness but to actually get out and do something this huge was a pivotal point for me.  I will always feel that I can do more then the puny 3 hard miles around my house.  and to discover that I am stronger then I thought was worth more then anything.  

A few praises for my amazing husband:  I can't begin to describe how awesome it was to do this with him.  We had been training together through different races throughout the year in anticipation for this race and after having a few tough years child raising it was so great for us to connect on this subject.  He has been really been getting into running and has been reading and listening to anything on the topic so he had so much knowledge I could pull from.  and he is always good for some encouraging words when I was feeling like why the hell did I sign up for Hood 2 Coast.  Matt's legs at H2C were rated the hardest of the team.  He was already training for an ultra marathon so I like to say these hard legs were nothing for him.  He has a very passionate personality when he finds things he loves (thankfully I was first in this area then came our children and then running)I was really proud of Matt because he has been improving more and more over the year and he got to show off what he could really do and bring to the team.  So when our team mates were saying Wow he is really flying I could smile and beam with pride.  He is quite an amazing guy.  I got very lucky with that one.  

Here's my favorite guy.  Fyi you can see a peak of the tattoo he got for me for our 10 yr anniversary this year on his arm.  It says Favorite (his nickname for me)
I wish I could put down of paper every tiny detail because I want to remember it all.  I will never forget those special moments in the years to come.  Thanks to all that helped encourage me.  Thanks to my mom and sister for watching the kids to we could do this amazing thing.  I will never be the same.   

Best Picture EVER


My daughter wearing my medal. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Life with twins

Life is really busy now as you can expect, but I still manage to pull out my camera to capture the sweet moments with my three babies. Here are just a few (hah) of my favorites.

Allie loves meat on the bone, she gets mad if we take her chicken off the bone. :) Her first taste of ribs. Yum

She loves being a big sister.

Fourth of July parade in Happy Valley

Waving at the car to get them to throw candy!

Eli during his photo shoot (just kidding but it looks like it)

My lovely sister with one of our favorites, Elephant Ears! When we presented a bite to Allie she started crying because she thought we were buying her a bit elephant ear to put on her ear, she requested a pink one.

Allie riding her first pony!

This look is, no more pictures mom, and no I don't want to smile.

Splash pad after her pony ride. The duck football sticker on her face had been there for two days. She refused to let us take it off.

Her first fireworks

One of her favorites. It used to be my favorite too.

Playing with my new iphone. She LOVES all the games and their educational too. Amazing that she is two and can maneuver around the menu to find her game.

Playing together. Sometimes while sleeping they touch hands like they just love knowing the other is there.

My three loves.

Sam in her bonnet. :)

Tummy time

Sisters! Sisters!

Painting on her new easel.

Concert in the park last night. My sweet boy.

Sleepy Sam

Thursday, May 26, 2011

One Month Old!

Can't believe the twins are now one month old. It has been a whirlwind month and I think I only remember 25% of it. :) I have enjoyed the precious moments of the last month though and can't wait until they are awake a little more and sleeping a little more at night! I wish I could say it's been easy but it's been challenging to say the least. I wouldn't change a thing though. I am learning slowly how to balance motherhood of three. and loving every minute.

Couldn't get Eli to sit up like his sister. :)

Samantha Rose

Eliott Mitchell

My three lovies. So proud to call them mine. Allie is so excited to be a big sister after so many months of talking about the babies.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Big Life Changes

For those of you who still check this you probably already know we had our babies. and since life has been a bit busy I am just getting to this post 3 weeks late. Although life has been crazy I wouldn't change anything. I am so in love with our new additions. I have a ton of pictures too but for now I will post a few and if you are my facebook friend look there for more.

The babies are now 3 1/2 weeks old and are doing great. They are both gaining weight but Samantha seems to like her food a bit more then Eli and is now almost a pound bigger. As for me I am getting a bit more sleep thanks so my amazing husband and awesome family. Thanks to everyone who brought us meals, folded laundry and did our dishes. I owe you!

Here I am the day after Easter at 36 weeks pregnant. My water broke that afternoon and surprised us all.

Samantha Rose was born at 2:58am. She was 5.4 lbs, 18 3/4 in.

Eliott (Eli) Mitchell was born at 3:04am. He was 5.7 lbs, 18 3/4 in.

Big sister Allie came for a visit later that day.

Holding a baby for the first time.

Leaving for home

Finally home with "The Big Benz Family" as we are now calling it. Allie is loving having them home. She gets so excited and asks where her babies are when she wakes up. We are all still adjusting but slowing each day gets a bit better.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Her First Play

Matt's mom and sister took Allie to her first play last Saturday. Go Dog Go. She got all dressed up and when I put the dress on her she said "I'm a princess!!". She was so excited. After we got a call from her and she said "There was a green dog, and a blue dog, and a pink dog, and a yellow dog, oh and a boy that said I looked like a princess." In this first picture she looks so grown up! How did that happen???

At the show, Allie looks a little tired. She got autographs from all the actors/dogs. :)