Thursday, November 1, 2018

Onward Shay Half Marathon

Onward Shay Boise Half Marathon, mom and daughter running, Boise races

It's been a long time since I've... (1) run a race with my mom and (2) really, really enjoyed the entire race. Onward Shay marks our fourteenth race together and it was a last-minute decision to run it... it was a decision that we were both very happy with!

As a side back story, my mom called me eight days before the race and asked if I was interested in training for another half. It had been three years since we have run a race together, and we were both looking for a kick in the pants to get us going again. It had just so happened that I'd received an email from Toyota earlier in the week, offering to sponsor me for the race. I had initially declined, since I'm just NOT in race shape right now (read: not fast), but when my mom put the bug in my ear, I contacted them and said we were both in!

Fast forward eight days and my mom and I were literally the FIRST people to pick up our packets on race day. You never know how unpredictable Boise traffic will be, and we definitely overestimated how long it would take that morning. We laughed and laughed and laughed because we were there so dang early. We checked in first thing and warmed ourselves up in my car until it was time for the race.

Onward Shay Boise Half Marathon, mom and daughter running, Boise races

It's always so fun for us when we get to match, and this race was a fun one to plan for since it was so last-minute. We ended up wearing shirts from our marathon training days in 2013 that we'd never raced in, and I bought us some matching calf sleeves that almost totally matched.

Onward Shay Boise Half Marathon, mom and daughter running, Boise races

At nine o'clock we were ready to run!

Onward Shay Boise Half Marathon, mom and daughter running, Boise races
Onward Shay Boise Half Marathon, mom and daughter running, Boise races

And... the gun went off--and so did the crowd! Since we hadn't trained for this race, we didn't even try to set a pace or goal time. We just started running and settled into a pace that felt good. We maintained an even 9:55/mile pace for the entire race. It's a far cry from my past 5:54/mile and 6:35/mile half marathon averages (which actually sound CRAZY right about now), but the almost 10/min mile pace felt GOOD the whole way through. We had absolutely no regrets!

Onward Shay Boise Half Marathon, mom and daughter running, Boise races

One thing we were nervous about was not training for more than 4-5 miles at a time for the last year or so and then being able to run the whole thing. My mom is recovering from significant shoulder surgery, and I'm still working on getting back into running after stress fracturing my foot and then running on it for the last two years. So neither of us were trained, but we were pretty sure we could do the 13-miles. We were overjoyed when not only did the miles tick on by without issue, but we felt really, really good while running them!

Onward Shay Boise Half Marathon, mom and daughter running, Boise races

I love the photos of us running, even if they're not the most flattering, because it's so fun to look at both of us and see the same exact person. We run the same, we walk the same, we talk the same... it's scary how similar we are. I'm pretty blessed (hashtag it!) to have received such great genes from my mom--and I know I have a lot to look forward to in the future.

Throughout the race, I don't think there was a minute that went by that we weren't talking about something. This race was so great because we weren't going for time--we were just going out and talking and hanging out for two hours! Also, the course was on the Boise Greenbelt the whole time, so it was incredibly scenic and very flat--bonus!!

Onward Shay Boise Half Marathon, mom and daughter running, Boise races

We crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 10 minutes. I don't know where it ranks among our fourteen races for time, but it was one of my favorite races we have done yet simply because there was just no pressure on either of us.

Onward Shay Boise Half Marathon, mom and daughter running, Boise races, Payette Brewing Boise
Onward Shay Boise Half Marathon, mom and daughter running, Boise races, Payette Brewing Boise

After the race, we enjoyed brews and burgers while we watched NFL football at Payette Brewing in downtown Boise. The beer was delicious and even made the mystery-meat-post-race-freebie burgers taste pretty darn good!

Onward Shay Boise Half Marathon, mom and daughter running, Boise races
Onward Shay Boise Half Marathon, mom and daughter running, Boise races

My mom and I were both so grateful to Toyota, who sponsored us for this race. We go to hang out and check out the brand new Tundra, and I sure wish I could have taken it home!

I think my biggest takeaway from this race was just how grateful I am for my relationship with my mom. She and I have been running races together since 2008, and each one is a new memory and story to tell. We love exercising and getting out and moving our bodies, and racing together is not a thing we do to WIN or take home a MEDAL or a PRIZE or go around and say how great our TIME was--it's something we do together to spend time together. I just can't encourage parents out there enough to get outside and do something fun with your kids. When she and I run together, we have so much fun picking out our outfits, training for the race (we usually train, we promise!), getting ready for race day, and spending half the day together during the race.

Love you, Mom. When's number 15?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

San Diego Vacation

Mission Beach, San Diego California

You guys, we took a vacation--A VACATION! Since Daniel and I have been married (almost 6-years), we have taken only three vacations (Arizona, Maui, Oregon) for just us. That's not very many, but it's interesting because it seems all that I blog about these days is traveling. But truly, most of the "trips" or "vacations" we take are literally to visit our family out of state. Traveling for us is new, but it seems like we've caught the bug and we don't see the travels slowing down anytime soon.

So this last week, we took five days and went to San Diego, California. We had Friday and Monday off of work (down day & holiday), so we took a day of leave on Tuesday and went for a five-day trip! We got in Friday afternoon and headed straight to our hotel on Hotel Circle. We loved staying there... and not only did we get a good deal, but the location was perfect and about 10-minutes from everything that we wanted to do!

Cannonball sushi, San Diego California

Our first stop was Cannonball at Mission Beach. We picked the spot because the location offered amazing views of the beach and we were just wanting some FISH! Fish and Mexican, fish and Mexican--repeat all week--that was the goal. We shared two sushi rolls since it was a late lunch and didn't want to get too stuffed before we enjoyed a Mexican dinner.

La Jolla Cove, La Jolla Seals, San Diego California

After lunch, we drove north up the coast and found ourselves at La Jolla Cove. We didn't try to get there, we just drove and drove and the cove with all the seals was where we ended up. We moseyed on down the rocks until we were up-close-and-personal with the seals. I have photos of Daniel standing just a foot away from them. They were amazing, but boy were they stinky!

Cafe Coyote, Cafe Coyote Old Town, Cafe Coyote Happy Hour Margaritas, San Diego California

Seal-watching made us thirsty, so we made our way over to Old Town, our favorite place in San Diego, and we enjoyed some margaritas and a light dinner at the Cafe Coyote. I have to tell you, we dined at almost every Mexican hot spot in Old Town, and Cafe Coyote was our favorite. In fact, not only did we love Cafe Coyote, but we loved Old Town so much that we actually went there every single night for drinks and snacks! Anyway, if you make it to Cafe Coyote, make sure you request Dillon's section (he usually works in the Cantina), and be sure to order their freshly-made tortillas and butter. Oh my, AMAZING.

Side note--the margarita pictured above is the happy hour margo... the "grande" ones (which are $15) are HUGE (about 3x this big but a LOT of sours and ice). We found that while the grande was "more bang for the buck," the happy hour normal-sized margo was actually a bit stronger and being that it was the same price as half of one of the Grandes, that is probably the way to go. You know--just in case you were wondering.

Mariposa Ice Cream, San Diego California

As if we didn't need one more thing to try to cram into our tummies on day one, Daniel was craving some ice cream. I "didn't want any," but as soon as we walked into the Beatles-inspired Mariposa, I knew I had to have a scoop. The owner was standing behind the counter offering samples, he was so incredibly kind, and he told us all about how he makes his ice cream and picks his flavors. I enjoyed a single scoop of butter toffee and cookie dough, and I was one happy camper. While we had ice cream in several other spots in San D, Mariposa was our favorite and one that I can't recommend enough!

And that was the end of day 1. Phew! We passed out around 9:30... we were done-zo!

Anza-Borrego State Park, Palm Canyon Hike Anza-Borrego, San Diego California

Day 2 started off with a lazy and late sleep-in--how relaxing! We are normally always go, go, go, and to sleep in for once was such a nice break (in fact, we slept in almost every day of the trip and it was  a welcome reprieve from the norm). We weren't exactly sure how to spend the day, but as soon as Daniel started googling hikes in the area, we started getting ready for a drive to Anza-Borrego State Park.

You guys know we love to hike, and Anza-Borrego was no exception. We drove the 1 hour, 40 min to the park and enjoyed a 3.5-mile hike up and down Palm Canyon. No, it wasn't "San Diego," but we had considered taking a day to go over to Palm Desert since we were so close and feeling like we "needed" a good hike, so Anza-Borrego was a great alternative because we hadn't ever been there before. We'd really like to go back in the spring to see it when it's more colorful and alive with flowers.

After our hike, we drove back to San Diego and enjoyed dinner in... yep, Old Town. We shared a Molcajete dish at Casa de Reyes and sipped on margaritas while we listened to live music. Afterward, we walked all around Old Town, shopping in all of the little tiendas. We didn't last long that night, we were tired!

SeaWorld, Manta Ray Roller Coaster, San Diego California
SeaWorld, Clyde and Seymour Halloween, San Diego California

Day three took us to SeaWorld. Military members receive a free admission each year, so of course we had to go. We hit up all the rides as soon as the park opened (the Electric Eel was so cool!) and then walked around for a couple hours, visiting all our favorite exhibits. We made a point to go to the Clyde and Seymour show and the Halloween spin they put on it was very fun.

We had a great time and decided to leave around lunch time--the park was doing "trick or treating" that day, and it was starting to get really busy!

In-n-out, San Diego California

In true California fashion, we opted for In-n-Out for lunch... I mean, we had to. I had a 1x2 (1 patty, 2 slices of cheese), cheese fries, and a vanilla milkshake. No regrets--and may I have another, please?

Seaport Village, San Diego California

That evening (and after a nap), we drove over to Seaport Village. We wandered around the shops--they were Daniel's favorite places to come as a kid on their family trips to SD--and then sipped on some drinks at Buster's Beach House while we watched Sunday Night Football (hashtag Fantasy Football addiction--guilty).

We were at a perfectly good restaurant, but the service was just OK, so we decided to go back to (you guessed it)--Old Town--to visit Casa Guadalajara for a quesadilla and the second half of the football game. I mean, we went to one Mexican spot in Old Town... we had to try as many as possible, right? RIGHT!

That was a wrap for night three!  

San Diego Zoo, San Diego California

Day 4 took us to the San Diego Zoo! Similar to SeaWorld, the park offers free admission (unlimited!) to military members. I'd never been to the SD Zoo, so we were prepared for a day of walking and exploration. Lesson learned: wear tennis shoes! :)

San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo polar bears, San Diego California

We walked for six hours all through the park, spending a significant amount of time at the reptile exhibit and watching the polar bears play. I couldn't believe how big those polar bears were. They were play-fighting and it was so fun to watch! They kept banging into the walls and the crowd was loving it.

We were really surprised how active and alive the zoo was. The exhibits were over-the-top cool, so detailed, and the animals were all moving around. There were only a couple cats that were taking lazy naps, but we were able to make it to every section of the zoo and all the animals were out to say hi.

Little Italy, San Diego California

After the zoo and on the way to dinner (yep, at Old Town), one of my friends suggested we check out Little Italy. We drove by and were so impressed--we also just HAD to stop in when we saw pizza-by-the-slice. What's one small slice before dinner, right? The first place we walked past was Napizza, and their square slices called our name. We split a slice (aka Daniel ate most of it), and enjoyed a few minutes in Little Italy before heading off to (a nap) and then dinner.

Little Italy Napizza, San Diego California

We went back to dinner at Cafe Coyote for some Monday Night Football, margaritas, and chips and salsa. We had intended to get dinner, but the freshly-made flour tortillas, margaritas, and aforementioned pizza had us slightly fuller than anticipated. No matter, we sat in Dillon's section again and enjoyed a very fun evening of football and fun.

Moosie's Ice Cream, San Diego California

We might not have had room for dinner that night, but we sure had some room for ice cream. True to my normal self, I was "full," so I told Daniel I'd accompany him to get some ice cream. As soon as we got into Moosie's, we started chit-chatting with the owner, the solo guy behind the counter offering us samples. I still wasn't wanting to get anything, very satisfied from my chips and salsa and margarita, but as soon as I tried their Red Velvet flavor, I knew I needed a scoop of that in my life. It was a moment in heaven as I enjoyed that little scoop, and I went home with a full belly and a newfound love for Moosie's ice cream.

And that, my friends, was the end of day four!

Pacific Beach, Pacific Beach Pier, San Diego California

On day five, our travel day home, we got up early to watch the sun rise from the Pacific Beach Pier. We didn't quite beat the sun up that morning, but we did get there in time to see the early-morning surfers catching some waves. We watched the surfers, spotted dolphins in the distance, walked along the beach, and ate breakfast at Kono's. Since it was a travel day, we headed back to the room to pack before heading out for the day.

Coronado Island, Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego California

We had some time to kill before our flight home, so we drove to Coronado Island and walked the grounds of the Hotel Del Coronado, taking in the sights. We wandered into town and ate fish tacos at Miguel's Cocina (Mexican, again!). It was a great way to wrap up a fantastic and memorable trip.

So San Diego. I loved it. Vacations with my sweetie are really fun, and so is exploring new places. We had such a nice time and were able to fit so much into each day without overdoing it or feeling stressed. We had such a low-key, easy-going time. I want to go back and do it all over again!

We love traveling so much, and I know that's mostly all I talk about on my blog these days. For so many years, I never really felt like I did much in regards to travel, but I'm starting to realize that we are almost always on the go, and when we have a chance to squeeze a real vacation in, I'm ever-so grateful. I hope you guys enjoy these kinds of posts... because they're so valuable for me to be able to look back over them and remember all the good times.

San Diego--we'll be back!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Orlando TDY

Inspector General AIMS Conference

This last week, I traveled to Orlando, Florida with our Wing's Inspector General team for the Air National Guard Inspector General Management Summit (AIMS) Conference. I've been working in the IG office since March 2018 as their Wing Planner. I'm transitioning out of their office and into a solo permanent position as our Wing's Information Protection Officer (aka our Chief of Info Protection, the CIP), so I was fortunate that the IG office asked me to go with them on this trip. I'll still be helping their office out with big exercises and inspections, so this was a great trip to enhance my learning and hone in on some more training.

We got to Orlando on Monday, with the conference going Tuesday - Thursday. We checked in to the Florida Hotel and Conference Center (it was really nice!) and enjoyed some Mexican food and brews at two local spots while we watched Monday Night Football. The next three days, our conference was slated to go from 0700-1630. Orlando has a ton of stuff to do, but it's also about an hour away from surrounding beach towns, so that was the plan almost every evening after the conference.

The coolest part of this conference was that Daniel got to go with me! He had a bunch of extra leave to use, so he flew down to Orlando with me and was there all the way through Wednesday. We turned my work trip into a mini spontaneous vacation after each day's conference was over, and it was the best way to spend the week. Tuesday while were in the conference, he went hiking at a local spot and then when we got out, he and I headed over to Cocoa Beach.

Cocoa Beach Florida
Cocoa Beach Florida

The beach was gorgeous! It was a nice little town, filled with condos and hotels and a couple hot spots to sip on cocktails and enjoy some delicious seafood. We spent some time down at the beach by the pier. It was the perfect temperature and the water was so nice and warm!

Rikki Tiki Tavern, Cocoa Beach Floria

After looking at reviews of the most popular places in Cocoa Beach, we wound up at the Rikki Tiki Tavern which is out on the very far end of the pier. It was an amazing spot (with yummy cocktails!), and we spent quite a bit of time there just enjoying the afternoon and meeting some new friends.

Cocoa Beach Florida, Cocoa Beach Penny Press

Cocoa Beach was an absolutely beautiful place. The weather was so nice, and it was just a short hour's drive from Orlando. We were so glad we went there and are thinking about planning a real vacation back to enjoy more of the town in the future.

Cuban Food Orlando Florida

On our second day, we spent our conference lunch break at the Havana Bistro and Café next to the Florida Hotel. It probably looks just like a simple plate of Cuban food but OH MY GOSH it was good! I have never had Cuban food before, and that entire plate was only $7.00... the chicken and rice melted in my mouth. Had to share!

Capt Duke's Air Boat Ride

After the conference on Wednesday, we drove an hour over to the St. Johns River to take a ride on Capt Duke's Airboat Rides. Talk about the best $50 I've ever spent... it was a 90-minute ride through the Florida swamps and we saw the craziest and coolest things! I've never been on an airboat, and I'm not only in love with the experience, but it was literally the most awesome thing we did in Florida. We saw alligators (hundreds of them!), water snakes, pink birds, giant hand-sized spiders (didn't share those photos--you're welcome), an amazing sunset, and learned all about the history of the St. Johns River.

Capt Duke's Air Boat Ride alligator

This was one of the big alligators we saw on the airboat tour. There were hundreds of them out there, big and small. We got pretty close to some of them, but I would have loved to have been able to have a Lake Placid-esque moment with one of them--without being eaten, of course--that would have been so cool!

Capt Duke's Air Boat Ride St Johns River Swamp in Florida

The swamps of the St Johns River. The waterline that was permanently marked on the trees was incredible. There are huge Huntsman Spiders that live on those trees. We saw one that was the size of my hand! I'd have gotten closer to it if I'd have been convinced it wouldn't bite me.

Capt Duke's Air Boat Ride Bird watching, St Johns River

Amazing sunset and bird fly-over on the St. Johns.

Capt Duke's Air Boat Ride, Florida Water Snake

We stopped at a little island so Capt Duke could tell us some of the history of the area. While we were walking around, we stumbled upon a little water snake. I bent down and snatched him right up! He was a nice little guy (not poisonous), and I held on to him for a while. I would have taken him home if I could!

Capt Duke's Air Boat Ride, St Johns River Sunset

The ride with Capt Duke was our favorite thing we did on the trip. It was a 90-min ride through the swamps and was the most incredible experience. I'd do it again in a heartbeat and can't recommend it enough!

Wednesday night was Daniel's last night in Orlando, and this was truly an amazing way to cap off a short and sweet vacation.

Pig Floyds Urban Barbakoa

On Thursday after the conference ended, the rest of us went to Pig Floyd's Urban Barbakoa in Orlando before heading to Daytona Beach. Their BBQ was to die for. The guys got brisket and pulled pork sandwiches, and I got a brisket bento. Holy cow that place was good!

Pig Floyds Urban Barbakoa
Daytona Beach Florida

Daytona Beach was an hour's drive from Orlando, and it was surprisingly empty. I've heard so many stories about Daytona and how it gets just packed during spring break time. I was anticipating crowds of people, busy storefronts, lines of people waiting to get in to the most popular restaurants, and beaches teaming with crowds. However, none of that was the case. It was pretty much deserted, so we felt like we had the beach mostly to ourselves. We walked up and down the beach, wading through the water, and found our way down to Sloppy Joe's for some cocktails before dinner. We explored the streets of Daytona, pretty much the only people out there, and just walked and walked all evening.

Daytona Beach Penny Press

I found a penny press in a tourist shop! Had to snag one for my collection.

Daytona Beach Vomatron Ride

As we were headed back to the car, we got sidetracked at Screamer's Park, which boasted a Sling Shot ride, the Vomatron, and a big Jenga puzzle. I got suckered in and had to ride the Vomatron. I love thrill rides and this one was very, very fun. I hated that I paid for it, but loved the feeling of zero gravity and flying high above Daytona Beach. That was a fun memory for sure!

We headed back to Boise the next morning. The entire week was such a cool departure from the norm and I had so much fun exploring somewhere new. I've been to Orlando before to go theme-parking at Disney and Universal Studios, but this was an entirely new experience. I loved visiting the beach towns, eating all the best-rated local food, and spending time with my husband and coworkers outside of our hometown. I was so fortunate to have been invited on this trip, and not only did I learn a lot, I also really enjoyed the time outside the conference that we turned into a mini-vacation.

I've been so lucky to be able to travel for work and to get to see all different sights and states in the US. I knew I'd travel and explore when I joined the Air National Guard, but I never expected to travel so often, enjoy the TDYs so much, and to be given the most amazing open doors with each new opportunity. I love my job lately and couldn't be more grateful to finally have a permanent position within the ANG. This military life is goooooooood!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Hood to Coast Relay 2018

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

When you take Hood to Coast 2018 by the numbers, it looks a little like this... 199 miles. One team--The Original Scrambled Legs and Achin'. 12 teammates, 3 volunteers, 2 vans. 3 legs each and between 15-20 miles total each. Less than 3-hours of sleep since Wednesday night. 2 meals and lots of hungry tummies. 36 exchanges. A round of Bloody Mary's for post-race celebration. 33 hours, 19 minutes. Lots of laughs, lots of sweat, lots of running. Regardless of the numbers, the way I see it is... SCRAMBLED LEGS AND ACHIN’ CONQUERED HOOD TO COAST!!!

I arrived in Portland, Oregon on Thursday afternoon. My friend Nick, who I met through Officer Training School (he was my MTI) picked me up at the airport. You may recall that I've run HTC in the past (2015, 2016), but it was with my sister's team. This year, I joined Nick on his team. They had a team member who couldn't make it, so he called me a couple months ago and asked if I'd like to join--I've been so fortunate to maintain our friendship past OTS, and this was such a fun event to get back together for and run as a team!

We ate a delicious lasagna dinner and decorated the vans before turning in early because we had a 5:00 am start the next morning.

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

Notice the lovely "art" on the back of our van. That egg was on point!

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

The 5:00 am start meant we had to be on the road up to Mount Hood at 2:30 am. Oofda--that was early. Considering we wouldn't be sleeping much for the next day and a half, the little amount of sleep we got pre-race didn't quite set us up as well as we'd like. It was cold at the top of the hill. The thermometer said 44 degrees, but with raging winds, it was in the low 30's... brrrr not the way we wanted to start the morning. Right when the clock hit 0500, our first runner Nick was off and we were officially in HTC-run-mode.

I was runner 3, so I had a couple hours to go before my first leg. When it came time for me to get the baton around 7:00 am, I was ready to run! I'm haven't been as fast as in the past, but I can still turn the old legs over for a race.

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

I knew my leg was going to be downhill, but I didn't realize that most of the 4.86 miles would be on an un-paved and very un-even mountain bike trail that ran adjacent to the highway. I've run on un-paved roads during this race before, but never on a rocky trail. The path TORE MY LEGS UP and after my leg I already had blood-blistered toenails... gross! Anyway, the rocky terrain actually made my leg pretty interesting, and I was able to finish the 4.86 miles with a 7:18/mile pace.

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

I was happy to have one fast leg during the race, because after that one, my legs tightened up and I had difficulty walking/running the rest of the day. I was happy that we were on a non-competitive team--no one was monitoring or cared about my times--so I was able to relax, run my legs, and just enjoy the race as much as I could.

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

Our van was filled with some pretty awesome people, and everyone did a great job on their first legs. After we made it to the first major exchange, we headed to Vancouver to eat some leftovers from the previous night and get a short cat-nap before we had to head to the next exchange. I was most grateful to be able to take a shower during that break... showers after each leg are such a luxury and so valued when you are able to get them!

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

Taking this trip with my battle buddy was the most fun. I couldn't have asked for a better or more enjoyable weekend!

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

After our refreshing break in Vancouver, we were ready to head to Portland for the next major van exchange. Of course that meant we had to run again, but we were all pretty well-recovered and ready to go. My legs were still pretty achy after my first leg, but I was pretty confident that my 7.25 miles wasn't going to be that bad (I was wrong). I took off at about 5:20 pm and thought I was prepared for what was to come...

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

And here's a non-flattering photo of me crossing the hand-off line at the end of my second leg, leg 15. If I look like I'm smiling, it was because I was finished with that leg. For me, the second leg is always the worst one. This one was 7.25 miles on rolling hills along the side of the highway. It's very long, very boring, and very challenging to stay motivated. My shorts ended up causing me issues, and I ended up chafing the inside of my legs raw (ouch!) so I was in a lot of pain during that leg. The chafing started between miles 3-4 and I was only halfway done... it was painful and I was already running weird because of my tight legs from my first run, so it was just a challenging run overall. Despite the pain and frustration, I ended up finishing with an 8:03/mile pace for the 7:25 miles. All things considered, I was happy that one was over and pleasantly surprised with that time.

At the stop between the second runs for legs 5 and 6, I was able to use the local high school's locker room to take a shower. That was the best $2 donation I've ever made! I got all sudsy and they loaned me a towel and I was a happy (and chafed) clam after that second leg. Honestly, showers between runs are everything!

After our whole van finished our second legs, we went to Muchas Gracias for some Mexican burritos around 11:00 pm (probably a mistake) and then drove to the next exchange to try to nap before it was time for our third legs. Unfortunately, it was really chilly at the exchange, and I wasn't able to get comfortable in the van. I tried to sleep, but my lightweight blanket and van bucket seat didn't do the job, so I mostly tossed, turned, and shivered for an hour. At least I got some rest.

I started running my third leg, leg 27, around 5:15 am. By this point, I was sore, tired, and so glad our team didn't care what my pace was. It was pitch black on our back-country roads, and I didn't see another person for over 2.5 miles of my 6.36 mile stretch. When I say "pitch black," I mean pitch black, so I turned up my music that I had going in my little waist runner's pouch in an effort to scare off bears and local wildlife (it was creepy out there), and started jammin' out to my tunes while I was running. If I wasn't going to see people on the road, I had to enjoy myself somehow since there weren't any "kills" to chase down. My pace felt easy and controlled, and I was super happy each time I hit a new mile-marker because that meant I was one step closer to being done! As the skies were beginning to lighten, I began to come up on people and ended up with 9-kills and an 8:30/mile pace for my last leg. My last leg was the most fun and most comfortable of all of them. I'll take that pace to enjoy my run any day of the week.

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

The photo above is from our 6th runner coming over the top of her killer-uphill leg. Her cresting that hill meant one thing for our van--we were two miles away from being done running! We met her at the bottom of the hill at the next major van exchange and we ce-le-brated because we were done! We still had six hours or so until the next van was going to make it to Seaside, so we did what any respectable HTC team would do...

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

We drove just past the exchange and toasted to Bloody Mary's at the Only Bar in Olney, Oregon. We ate breakfast, too, but first--alcohol. Those Bloody Mary's were just what the doctor ordered. We were all smiles and ready for a break before heading to the finish line.

We drove to Seaside, Oregon and checked in at the hotel for a quick shower (praise all showers!!) before going down to the beach party.

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

Before our team arrived, we had time to enjoy some brews. I ran into one of my coworkers from home... that's always neat to see a friend from home at a race a couple states away.

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

Our van toasted to Hood to Coast just before our Van 2 team came into the finish. I couldn't have asked for a cooler van to ride along with during those two days.

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

33 hours and 19 minutes after we started, Van 2 made it to the finish and we all crossed together--happy as can be. All 12 of us were exhausted, sore, and so so so glad it was over!! It was time for some food at The Fish House, some laughter and re-telling of stories, and some rest!!

Hood to Coast 2018, Scrambled Legs' And Achin, HTC

Half of our team did not plan on staying in Seaside, so we drove back to Vancouver that evening. It's the first time I haven't stayed in Seaside, and there was part of me that missed the beach party, but part that loved the new experience I had instead. Nick took me to Kennedy School, an old remodeled school in Portland, Oregon that is now a brewery, restaurant, hotel, and party venue. What a cool time we had touring the halls and reading the history... taking in the building (as well as some beer and tots!) was well-worth the trip back that evening! I flew back to Boise the next morning, missing the team already and wanting to go back and re-play the past 48-hours.

I was so grateful to spend such a fun weekend with a brand new group of people and grateful that Nick invited me to run in this race that really, only crazy people sign up for. The idea of being stuck in a van for 30+ hours with five other people and running 20-miles is something that not a lot of people would raise their hand and say "Yeah! I want to do that." But we did, and we keep going back for more. There's a part of me that is so crazy for loving these races... and that crazy part is always going to say "YES!" for more.

Thanks Nick... for the weekend, for the memories, and for the opportunity to go kill 199-miles with The Original Scrambled Legs and Achin'. Can't wait for the next one ;-)

Past Hood to Coast Relays: 2016  │ 2015