Well, I'm in Portland -- my big observations: there are mountains that can be seen from the plane! And even in the city, there are elevation changes. There's water and it's green. It's cold. Everyone appears to either be wearing a full suit or looks homeless.
I met up with the people from my van yesterday. It's an interesting mix. There's one guy who rented the van and has run it with this team before 2 years ago. He works in the firm's office in a Dallas suburb. There's one of his coworkers who works in the San Antonio office who is going to be our driver, and his wife is running. The guy from San Antonio brought a friend who is a lawyer in Dallas at a Chinese company (!!! I asked him right away in Chinese if he spoke Chinese, but he does not, but I was psyched to be able to manage that kind of basic conversation!). They went to junior high and high school together and are both very funny. Then there is a woman who is much younger who also works in the firm's San Antonio office. And then one of her friends from law school who is a lawyer in Dallas but not with this firm. And then me!
I'm worried I was way too aggressive on my pace prediction, especially given the elevation changes that are apparent even from looking out my hotel room window.
After we met up with everyone at the hotel yesterday afternoon, our entire van (all 7 of us) went grocery shopping, then came back to the hotels, then went out to dinner with all the people from van 1 on our team and the firm's other two teams.
I can tell the people in my van are all great. Not sure why I was worried, they're runners and lawyers after all! Haha.
We seriously had a good time, lots of joking about seeing Paris Hilton on the street, our driver attempting to convey an Usain Bolt step, just laughing about all kinds of stuff in general. At this point, not a bad group with which to be crammed in a suburban for about 30 hours.
A couple more hours, then we head out to finish up grocery shopping and await relay exchange where our first runner takes the reigns, at about 5:00 tonight.