Seattle & the state of my knee

Arrived in SEA Fri mid-day. Plenty of time to hunt for food and get my friend Halbert ready for his race Sat. The races started at 9am both days, and it was so nice to not be rushed for an early bed/early wake-up. (Which wasn’t so fun when it was HOT on Sunday)

Dinner: Sushi & ice cream! Based on the recommendation of a friend who lived in the neighborhood of packet pickup, we hit Ballard for some really good, and really inexpensive sushi. Then, we could walk it off and find more calories. We ended up at Full Tilt, a local ice cream joint that is also an arcade. So fun!

Delicious tuna.

Taking a picture, of taking a picture, of food.

Arcade!

Sat AM (Halbert’s pre-race) we hit PCC Natural Market. Whoa. Loved that grocery store. I have a thing for grocery stores. Whole Foods is usually good, but overpriced. And their deli/prepared foods bar is usually slathered in canola oil and/or other less-than-ideal ingredients. Not this place. AND it was open at 6am. I think this ties with Central Market for one of my favorite chains. Anyway, I got some pumpkin grits. I will try to replicate this at home. They were delicious. Sure they had some sugar (not really that sweet though), but all the ingredients were REAL. No funky oils. So yes, this was good enough to write about.

Pumpkin everything!

*MY KNEE* While spectating I fell. The race was in a park and there was a steep hill going down to a soccer field. The finish line was on the edge of this long downhill. Anyway, it was really wet due to morning dew and I slid…into the splits. Thankfully my muscles were ok, and I saved my groin from pain, but my knee twisted in a really funky way. It still hurts, 5 days later. 😦 It’s not serious (I don’t think), but it definitely feels ‘not right’. I wasn’t going to skip my race. Not an option and I knew I could walk it if I had to. I felt it all day, but nothing terrible. Anyway, I’m taking it easy this week, but it’s really annoying.

Sat PM. Since the race started at 9 (I spectated and got a ton of books signed by Oats), I left the race site later in the afternoon. This left minimal time downtown before things started closing at 6p. (Why do things close downtown on a weekend at 6?! AND it was home football weekend, TONS of tourists). Dinner plans: restaurant hop to try 1-2 things at each place and not sit in one spot all evening.
Vital Tea: one of my favorite tea shops in the country (located in San Fran & Seattle) to stock up.

Fish market to buy some smoked salmon. (no pic obvi)

Beechers & Le Panier. I had to bring my travel buddy to Beechers. Can’t pass up their cheese. I would never have thought to Le Panier, but someone at the race said it was a “MUST” as it was the best French bakery they’d been to outside of France. I was skeptical and I’m not a big bakery fan, but it was now my “pre-race” so I figured something small wouldn’t hurt. What the hell. Well, it was good, but I do live outside of NOLA where we do have some amazing French bakeries. So, is it the best? I don’t know. Was it good? Yes.
Champignon (mushroom) pasty of some sort. (living where I live, it’s a word we use often. Cajun French comes in handy after all)

Halbert had to make sure his macarons & croissants were safe.

Safety first.

Oysters: Well, I’d had macaroni and a pasty, so who cares what my stomach does at the race tomorrow, right? I figured I’d be going slow and goofing off anyway, so it didn’t matter (nothing bad happened! No porta-potty or woods emergencies!)

Mmm, bivalves.

Sunday race: Nutella & some cake. See race report.

Sunday PM: Tipsy Cow Burger Bar with Anne. I got “the Arsonist” and another chance for more Beechers. I debated if I wanted something that hot since I was flying all day Monday, but I reasoned with myself that we were in the PNW and not in the Southwest or South, so the chances of it being “hot” on my scale, was slim. And I was right. Not hot, but delicious, complex pepper flavors.

Arsonist.

Oh. Did I mention the truffle fries? Ohsogood even though they are not a traditional compliment to a spicy burger.

Truffle everything!

Wish I had more time, but I wasn’t going spend more time in the area without K. It’s just not as fun when he was supposed to be there.

That’s it. Hope you’re hungry now!

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Beat the Blerch

Signed bibs!

This weekend was the inaugural Beat the Blerch marathon (and 10k and half) outside of Seattle. Also known as: the non-runners marathon. The “sit on the couch and eat cake and watch RoboCop” marathon.  Sure there were some fast runners there, but there were less than 300 full marathoners and most were there to have a good time. If you take racing really seriously, this isn’t for you. Move along, un-fun people and make room for us, those who like talking to people, wearing costumes, and eating cake.

MMM…CAKE.

Costumes!

It was unexpectedly popular (by the Oatmeal and the race director) and the site crashed almost immediately upon registration opening. I had a great team of family and friends registering and I got in! The website crash and very long wait-list showed the demand, and Oats and the RD got approval for a second race, on Saturday.

The Oatmeal ran in costume too.

Fast forward to this weekend…it was a quick trip just for the race. I did squeeze as much as I could, but I had friends doing the race both days, so I got to spectate Saturday and participate on Sunday.

Packet pickup: easy. It was at a big RoadRunner Sports store and we were in/out in less than 5 (ok, 10, got distracted by the goodies!) minutes. The shirt is AWESOME. Thick long sleeve 1/4 zip with tumbholes? Plus, a “0.0” Blerch sticker and magnet? Yes, please! (already getting our $100 worth!)

Schwag!

Parking was a breeze! We got nervous the week of the race since an email was sent out saying they oversold parking passes. However, there were schools and businesses across the street from the park with tons of overflow parking. But, the field had plenty of spaces. It was never an issue.

Even the parking lots are pretty in Washington! Ever done a race where they spray painted spots? Details make a difference!

I was so excited to see a huge bank of porta-potties! I was so impressed with how many they had. I’ve done marathons 5+times this size that only had half this number. NEVER any line to them. Not once. Anyone who walked up to them, found one that was open. And clean. Very, very clean.

tons of places to pre-race poop!

The race started at Tolt-McDonald park. Tons of room and a very charming barn that housed bag-check, post race food, and other logistics.

Gorgeous barn.

Ever seen one of these solar, cell-phone charging trailers? Yeah. He paid to have one out at the race. So cool!

Need juice?

From there, we ran about a mile and hit the river, then over some bridges to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. This was gorgeous. The crushed gravel had some rocks that were a little bigger than I’d like for crushed gravel, but it was fine. Nothing to complain about, especially since the scenery was gorgeous. It was 86 degrees by the time we finished, making for a really hot day, but I was so thankful for the trees.

Trail

Blerchy tu-tu and pretty trails.

Overall: WORTH IT. For the cost of an average marathon ($100), the race company and the Oatmeal went above and beyond. I do so many of these I never have any expectations. This ranks in my top 5 marathons. The shirt, FREE RACE PICS, the HOURS of book & bib signing by Oats, the abundance of food, the aid stations, the fun volunteers, the tons of porta potties, the ease of parking/logistics. All top notch. My mom even saw my race shirt and said, “Did you buy that too?!” (she meant in addition to my race packet). For her to comment on it…huge compliment that she didn’t think that it was the race shirt.

Cake.

 

Lots of Nutella pushing Blerches.

More cake.

Other stuff: BLERCH. The volunteers were so fun! They all embraced the “Blerchyness” of the event and pushed cake, Nutella, magical grape drink (explained in his book, and yes, it is magical), and then other regular race foods such as Gu shots, energy bars, chips and pretzels, bananas, etc. Due to it being on the trail, the aid stations were 3-4 miles apart because of the limited road access. This was fine for me, but the heat at the end had us wishing there were 1-2 more on the course. However, that was impossible. For people who haven’t done trails or ultras, I can see how it would be a shock to go from a road marathon with water every mile, to this. However, the aid stations were well stocked, and FUN.

Oats signing my book, fun spectators, me being chased by a Blerch, and a cute shirt.

Blerch. Blerchii.

The race/run itself was uneventful for me. I ran with my friend Carrie from El Paso. I had talked her into this race while visiting her and her husband for Bataan Death March, so I felt it was the right thing to do to stay with her. We ran her pace, then when she started slowing down and our walk breaks increasing in time and slowing in pace…I made the call to go to my interval timer (about halfway). Things got better after that and had a negative split overall. We were maintaining a consistent pace doing 3:1’s and picked up 2 nice ladies who where half-assed run/walking. They were lovely and fun. Then, over the miles, picked up 2 more and went down to a 2:1 interval based as a request of the ladies we picked up. We had a fun group during the hard miles of 15-20. The rest fell off by mile 23, but we waited for them at the finish.

Running with Carrie

I made some new running friends and had a delicious post-race burger with Ann from Kansas City. As a cancer surgeon, we hit it off and had lots to talk about besides racing. Turned out, she has a friend who was in the Army…who was one of K’s chemo providers when we lived in El Paso.  ❤ SMALL WORLD. I love races where I have no goals other than to finish. It allows for maximum fun, and you never know who you’ll meet!

(My post tomorrow will be non-race food & fun during the quick trip)