Hood to Coast is an incredible event. It’s a lot of miles, it’s a lot of people in two vans together that will surely become your life-long friends after hours or running, sweating, and snacking together, and if you’re lucky, it involves a lot of donuts too. Then when it’s over, you’re at the beach! Not only are you at the beach, you’re at the beach and you can buy yakisoba noodles and beer right on the beach! It really doesn’t get better than that.
So you’d think that I’d jump at any chance to participate in this event. Yet here I am, a week before the race, with no team to speak of. This isn’t due to lack of opportunity. So far this year, I’ve had at least three invitations to join Hood to Coast teams. But these aren’t invitations like, “Hey Colleen, I’m making a Hood to Coast team and you were one of the top 11 people I know that I both would be willing to spend time with in a van, plus I think you might enjoy running enough to sign on for something like this!” Which would be a very flattering invitation. No, these are invitations like, “Colleen, everyone on my Hood to Coast team sprained their ankle one week before the race, will you run with us, or are you a huge asshole that hates fun?”
Unfortunately for these folks, I am a huge asshole that hates fun. But should you find yourself being asked to join a Hood to Coast team (which you will, if you sometimes run – or even if you don’t – and know anybody who’s doing Hood to Coast), be warned, a simple “no thank you,” will deter nobody. Even the meekest, most mild-mannered people suddenly become ace negotiators that could sell a thing that most people don’t want to somebody extremely unlikely to purchase that thing. Because these newly minted sales people are highly motivated. They have 199 miles to run, and they would really prefer to run 1/12 of those miles, and not some other fraction they’ll have to deal with if they’re left splitting up the unclaimed legs (note to self: start a band, call it “Unclaimed Legs”). So no, a simple rejection won’t convince them that you aren’t actually going to spend the weekend crammed inside a van with them, getting out only to run down hot, dusty roads. You have to either have a long list of reasons prepared and go through them one by one until they finally run out of counter-arguments, or listen to them talk about how amazing and awesome and fun it will be while detecting an increasing level of desperation in their voice until the Hood to Coast is over.
As a seasoned veteran of telling people “no,” I’m here to help you if you choose to attempt the former option. You’ll probably want to print this list out and carry it around with you for the rest of the week, for when this inevitably happens to you.
Reasons Why I Can’t/Won’t Join Your Hood to Coast Team
- I’m not in shape for it. Prepare for the following counter-arguments: You are totally in shape for it! You can have the easiest legs! I’m not in shape either, and I’m doing it! We will carry you if you want!
- I’m just getting over an injury, and want to be careful. Prepare for the following counter-arguments: You can have the easiest legs! We can make fun little goodie bags for everyone with Advil in them! We’ll do a massage train and it will be just like a middle school slumber party and we’ll all have the best time!
- I’m training for another race right around that time. Prepare for the following counter-arguments: Hood to Coast is the best training run ever! Running 17 miles and not sleeping for 24 hours and eating only stale bagels and Cliff bars is the perfect way to prep for a marathon the next weekend! You’re so lucky you have this amazing opportunity, you’ll probably win your marathon because of the Hood to Coast!
- Your team sounds slow, and I don’t want to be stuck in the van for that long. Prepare for the following counter-arguments: But it will be so fun! You can pick the music and it will be like you’re a famous DJ in an exclusive club and it will be soooo fun!
- I don’t enjoy large crowds or big events. Prepare for the following counter-arguments: But it will be so fun! We’ll blind fold you and you can wear noise-canceling headphones and you won’t even know you’re around other people, it will be just like one of those sensory deprivation tanks and it will be so fun!
- I don’t really like you. Prepare for the following counter-arguments: That’s okay, I don’t like you either! That’s why I didn’t ask you to be on our team until we literally had no other options! But don’t worry, you don’t have to talk to any of us, you can just get out of the van for your legs and then get back in and look at your phone the whole time! It will be just like you’re at home watching tv on the couch! You will have so much fun!
- I have other plans that weekend. Prepare for the following counter-arguments: Boo, you whore!
You’ll know you’ve convinced them you’re not doing it when they make a fake pouty face and say something like, “Fine, don’t have the best time of your life.” Then they’ll stop asking you for at least two hours, or until the next time they see you, whichever comes first.
If anyone who invited me to be on their Hood to Coast team is reading this, thank you for giving up before I got to #6. Because I actually do like you, and it would have made me sad to be mean to you for the sake of not running H2C. But I would have done it.
Another important note – this is the third year I’ve blogged about the Hood to Coast without actually doing it. To read more about me not doing the Hood to Coast, go here or here. If you want to read about me actually doing it, go here or here. Be warned though, I talk a lot more about doing the Hood to Coast in my posts about not doing the Hood to Coast than I do in my posts about doing the Hood to Coast.
Final note – I really enjoyed doing Hood to Coast all the times I did it. I just don’t want to do it again.