Why Wednesday – Why I Wouldn’t Do Hood To Coast Again

This post was really hard to write. I don’t want to be Debbie-Downer. However, I have very mixed emotions about Hood to Coast.

Now that I’ve had about 4 months of distance from the event I think I can accurately form an opinion that isn’t entirely based on the emotions involved.

The reality is: Hood to Coast does damage to the body. Period.

I have had nothing but injuries, pain, discomfort and body aches since Hood to Coast. It started with that first run a week after completing Hood to Coast. The dreaded Illiotibial Band Overuse Syndrome. Horrible pain in my right knee that I knew wasn’t just a normal pain.

Because of that I took 2 months off from running. I completely stopped running. Eventually I started slowing run/jogging and then jogging and then running slowly…I’m still trucking away on the treadmill and it’s been over 4 months since I ran the Waterfront during my lunch hour–which I really miss.  I had a mess of other issues that popped up in those months too.

Running Hurts. It really does. You work your entire body and do damage to joints, tendons, fascia, bones, muscles. I chose to ignore the fact that running is a HARD sport on the body. I still love running and despite it being hard on the body I WILL run again!

The Reality

Too many times to count during my 32 hours in that stinky van I thought, “What was I thinking?”

I didn’t fully fathom WHAT I was thinking until after the race was over and my body was wrecked. Why did it take so long to realize it was a mistake? Because up until Hood to Coast I was invincible. I bounced back from pain and injuries with no worries. I had minor problems here and there but nothing 2 days of no running and some ice couldn’t fix.

Until I met my match.

And I learned that I am NOT invincible.

I remember standing in the Coastal Range–freezing and not dressed appropriately for my final Leg of Hood to Coast. Waiting for my teammate to tag me…wondering “Can I even WALK at this point?” I barely made it to that finish line. My pace was probably closer to a 13 minute mile than anything else (which is essentially jogging) but I did it and I crossed that finish line, dragging myself if necessary but not walking.

In that aspect Hood to Coast was a roaring success. I set out to test myself. I set out to accomplish a monumental goal because I am one of those NEUROTIC people that must have something big to work towards.  Losing 100 pounds. Running 197 miles. Same thing, right?

Don’t get me wrong. Hood to Coast lived up to everything I thought it would be. It was emotionally gut-wrenching. It was enthusiastically EPIC. The adrenaline was contagious. The excitement was addicting!

But I think this event will be one chapter of my life, not a repeating chapter. I think I’ve accomplished what I wanted to do with Hood to Coast and I don’t need to try again.

Sure part of me thinks it would be fun to try again with my own team full of friends and family…see what it’s like to be part of Van 1 starting up at the top of Mt. Hood…seeing if I can train BETTER and SMARTER so that I’m not injured afterward.


If I ever run again I want to run races. A 10k. A Half Marathon. I’m pretty sure I never want to run a full marathon. But a Half–yes, I have my sights set on a few that I want to do.

I think running a big race in one day is much better on the body. It’s the sitting in the cramped van unable to stretch or loosen up that did me in. It was the zero sleep that sent me into a crash immediately following the finish line. I became a sleep-deprived cry baby that couldn’t even walk (let alone squat down to sit in a chair or on the toilet)!

Now don’t let me discourage YOU for doing something epic like Hood to Coast. Everyone is different. If I had been one of those runners that was clocking in 20-30 miles every week Hood to Coast might not have wrecked me.  But I wasn’t one of those runners. In fact, running is my second sport. Swimming is my first. I was not willing to give up swim days to run in order to train. I thought swimming 2x a week and running 3-4x a week was just fine. Apparently I was wrong.

I am happy that I ran Hood to Coast. I don’t regret it at all. I crossed off something from my Bucket List–and it’s a BIG something too!

And I will run again.

I will run again.

It’s been 4 months and 1 day since I ran the last time  for real… I’m at 3 miles on the treadmill. 3 miles is a long ways from 17 miles.

QUESTION: What’s the biggest thing on your “Bucket List”? Have you accomplished it?

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

23 thoughts on “Why Wednesday – Why I Wouldn’t Do Hood To Coast Again”

  1. Hmm…I usually never post on any blogs and here’s my scond this week! I just have to give a shout out to my home town marathon/1/2 marathon. The Missoula marathon was named the best in the nation by Runner’s World. I did the half two years ago and am planning to do it again this year. It’s in July, has beautiful weather, great support, perfect organization…everything you could want!

  2. I’m so glad you posted this! I’ve heard the same thing said about marathons and other long distance running events – people who loved to run before lost their passion or were too injured afterwards. It’s great that you were able to accomplish something from your Bucket List and it seems the committment was not only the preparation but the recovery too!

    Despite knowng how tough running can be – especially on my body for some reason! – a full marathon is on my Bucket List. I’m delaying it until I truly have time to train properly.

    16 miles in 3ish hours IS epic! That’s amazing!

    1. AJ, I never even thought of looking at it as 16 miles in 3 hours! You are right!

      I was having doubts about posting this. Honestly this post came from 3 different writing sessions –all of which I was feeling depressed about my injury. I delayed posting it because I felt like it would be seen as a negative, or like I REGRETTED Hood to Coast. Which I don’t. I’m glad I experienced it. It’s just a hard reality to be faced with after the fact that I may never be back to my old “running glory.”

  3. I did the Ragnar relay last year. I think its the same as Hood to coast. I had such an amazing time. During my first leg I questioned my sanity and by the end I was asking where ot sign up for next year LOL. With that being said several of my teammates said they would never do it again and there is nothing wrong with that! It is a lot on the body. I’m glad you are so honest so many people wouldnt do the same.

    1. If I hadn’t gotten an injured and hadn’t had such a SLOW recovery time, I may have a different answer then what I posted today. But I do think there’s a Half Marathon in my future. It just may not be this year.

  4. You have such a strong heart. Just to be able to boldly say you WILL run again. I’m not convinced I will myself, it’s inspiring to see you say you will after 4 months of rest.
    I’m rooting you on, it will be a happy day when you’re back to running!

    1. Thanks Steena! I thought of you and some other runners that are suffering from the same dang IT band issue…I hope that 2011 means we all get healed and back to running!

  5. there are things in life where you can do them once and feel pretty rad about it, but never want to do it again (i was in a pageant once in college!)
    it’s ok to do it and be done. and doing it once is more than most people can say they’ve done 🙂

  6. Oh Lisa, I cannot put into words how much I GET this post. I did my first triathlon a year and a half ago. From my experience, people do races like these and get hooked. But for me, I finished and said “well I’m never doing that again.” I’m all for challenging yourself physically and mentally, but never when it puts your physical health at risk. Something I try to hammer into the heads of my clients all the time! I’m more about finding those few activities you truly love and doing them in MODERATION 🙂

    Excellent reflection xo

    1. I’m glad that some people out there feel the same way, Susan. I haven’t posted this because I felt like I’d be an outcast in the “running” community. I want a challenge and there’s lots of things I want to do, but I don’t want to have to do months of rehab afterwards!

  7. Nice honest post, Lisa. You’re right, running is very hard on the body. The endorphins make it intoxicating, but I’ve found that high in other ways. My body just can’t take the pounding and it’s not worth it. I get a high from intense weight training and circuit routines. Most runners I know obsess about their “times.” I just don’t get it… I love planning and tracking my routines but I can honestly say I don’t obsess about it. Oh well, just my opinion.

    1. Suzanne you bring up a great point about the endorphins. They are very addicting and I DEFINITELY became a running junkie. I didn’t get the same runner’s high from anything else so I thought all other activities weren’t worth my time!

  8. Thanks for your honesty, Lisa. I think I need to own up to the fact that my body may not be able to physically do what I want it to do, at least not yet. But I have to say, I run, but I more run/walk, but I still consider it running! Sometimes I may be slow…really, really slow, like “jogging” 13 minute miles. But I still consider it a major feat since a year ago I weight 275 lbs. and couldn’t run 1 mile, much less 3. I know weigh about 230 and I have completed a 5k, an 8k, a 10k, and I’m doing my first 10-mile run this Sat. Sure, I’m going to walk some of it, and sure it will be tough on my body. But it still feels great. So I’m glad you want to run again! I think I need to follow your lead and listen to my body to know when it IS ready to run, and when it’s not.

  9. Read this on my blackberry last night and really wanted to respond!

    That’s a bummer that you had such a crappy experience with it. I thought my marathon was a crappy experience but in hindsight it really wasn’t – it was pretty amazing – I just had super high expectations that were let down. I definitely will do another marathon one day, and hopefully more than just one more!

    I can totally see why sitting in the van in between running shifts would NOT be good though. It wouldn’t give you a chance to move or stretch out your legs which could definitely lead to injury, and clearly it did for you!

    Thanks for such an honest post 🙂

    1. Thanks for commenting Amber. I just want to be clear that I had a great time during Hood To Coast. The challenge, the energy, the amazing runners…everything was great…until afterward. That’s the part that sucked (injury).

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