So as I was saying in my SEEattle post, I’m writing a separate post about the Beat the Blerch race, which was the primary reason Brian and I were in Seattle to begin with. Beat the Blerch is a half-marathon hosted by The Oatmeal, who, if you haven’t heard of him, is the illustrator of brilliant and hilarious internet comics such as “Why the Mantis Shrimp is My New Favorite Animal” and “Dear Sriracha Rooster Sauce”. You should go read everything he’s ever published ever. He also happens to be a long distance runner (and by long, I mean ultra-marathon long). 2014 is the first year he’s hosted the Beat the Blerch race, but since it sold out in about 10 minutes (not joking – we were waiting to sign up and then they were gone! Luckily they had a wait list and then opened up a Saturday race as well) he is planning on expanding it to other locations in 2015.
Friday, September 19
So anyways, Brian and I went straight from the airport to packet pickup at Roadrunner Sports. The pickup itself was well organized and fast (and the tech shirts were long sleeve zip ups! Hallelujah!!) but Matthew Inman himself was present and signing autographs!!! If you know me, I’m not a super starstruck kinda person. There are maybe 5 celebrities on this planet that I’d stand in a line to meet. But The Oatmeal??? Sign me up!
The line was very long. We waited in the sun for about 2 hours before the line wound into the shade of the store, and then we waited some more. And suddenly we were there, in front of Mr. Inman himself! I have to admit that I choked. I was thinking of all manners of clever things to say, but when the time came, I could do nothing more than smile goofily and hold out the book that I had bought. Which is better than projectile vomiting over him in nervousness or something like that, I guess.
We didn’t end up getting back to Seattle proper until 5:30pm, even though we arrived at packet pickup around 2. And then after dinner, we had to drive all the way back to Bellevue, where we had rented a room on AirBnb.
Around 11pm, we pulled into the driveway of what looked like cabins in the middle of a secluded murder spot. Per the owner’s instructions, we found the key to the apartment inside a boot that was standing by the door. Inside, we found not one other person sharing the apartment, as we had expected (and only because the renter texted me to let me know that someone else who was also running the race was staying at his place, and was interested in potentially carpooling), but 5 other people in the living room alone, plus the girl the renter had mentioned, living upstairs! And there was only one bathroom between all of us.
You get what you pay for, I guess.
Saturday, September 20
We woke up at the asscrack of dawn to get ready for the race. We thought by getting up this early, we’d be able to jump the line for the bathroom. We were wrong. There were 3 other people up, two who were in Bellevue for some work thing (on a Saturday??), and the girl who was also racing. Luckily it was about 2.5 hours before we actually needed to be at Carnation, where the race was being held, so we still made good time.
For breakfast, we grabbed a few bagels from Blazing Bagels, which thankfully, was open and even decently busy! And then we drove to the most idyllic place I’ve ever been to – Carnation, Washington.
As promised, there were indeed runners in Blerch suits present.
As well as copious amounts of Nutella.
This was the real trail race that Brian and I have ever done, and we loved it! (We did a run called Race for the Seals in Marin County when we first moved to SF, but I don’t really count that because only about 5 seconds of the race was actually on dirt) Running on trail has its own set of challenges, since a) there’s a long section that was mostly loose rocks nad gravel, so it’s really easy to misstep and twist something, and b) the dirt absorbs some of the impact, so you don’t get as much of a bounce in your step, which means that it takes more energy to push yourself forward. We had, of course, not trained on dirt, so it was a cruel thing to learn in the middle of the race.
But oh man, the path was so incredibly pretty! I could run in the woods for the rest of my life (although it’s probably not going to happen, since I like the city life too much to actually live within practical distance of such lovely trails).
And as promised, there were couches along the path to lure runners to sit, as well as birthday cake and nutella sandwiches at the rest stops. I had a BLAST, even though, as far as race go this was one of the less supported ones (in terms of number of water stations, etc). However, it’s a comparatively cheap race, and the race pictures are all free because Matthew Inman is a mother effing BAWSS. All in all it was an AMAZING RACE and I would highly recommend everyone check it out 🙂