Two months ago, I got a call from Tony Atayde of Nike asking me what my plans were for August. Scratching my head, I answered “Uh, no plans for now…” And, excitedly he interrupts me to talk about the Nike Hood to Coast Relay, the largest relay in the world with 1,000 teams of 12 runners each running from the ski lodge at the 6,000-ft level of Mt. Hood down to the Pacific Ocean at the town of seaside where a beach party awaits the runners. The race is held in Oregon, USA annually where Nike’s headquarters is located. This year, it will be on August 28 to 29.
I wondered why Tony was telling me all this until he paused and said “We would like to invite you to join. Will you be available?” I smiled and answered “Tony, even if I were busy, I would clear my sched just for the trip!”
– Nike Hood to Coast website –
And so began my training and preparations for one of the biggest adventures of my life.
I “met” my other Southeast Asian team mates online by way of email where we were all asked to confirm our participation, enter our 10km race times, submit our sizes for apparel and shoes as well as our preferred flights. Most of the runners from the two teams Nike is sending will be coming from Singapore; there are only 3 of us from Manila. I believe our team will be called the Singaporean Chili Crabs, but I have to confirm if this is final as I’ve never tasted those crabs myself. Hah!
As early as mid-June, we were sent a training program created by Racer’s Toolbox, especially for our teams. I started out following this to the letter until my long runs, including the Run for Home half marathon, was throwing it out of whack so I decided to use my own program instead. I also informed my PT at the gym about the race, so he’s thrown in some exercises that should help me in trail running.
I emailed rockstar trail runner Rick Gaston (365me) for some training tips which scared the hell out of me (ex. “The third leg will be hard because of the sleep deprivation.” or “At night in the dark, you can spot your van in the distance and it will be a reassuring presence.”), but it also got me even more excited about this adventure.
I hope that we’ll have enough time to tour Nike Campus which is, as I was told, an experience in itself to visit. If one is lucky, they say you’ll spot Lance Armstrong on his stationary bike or Tiger Woods walking by your side. Good thing Lance is a good friend of mine already, well, via twitter that is…heehee!
Official HTC Relay countdown begins now! 26 days to go…woohoo!