I love doing two things in life, running and travelling. One day I was sitting at my computer and thought, why not combine the two? You see, I have this goal to run a race in every state, and I love running so "runcation" was born. I am going to tell you about my Seattle runcation.
Seattle, Washington is absolutely beautiful. The air is crisp and clean. You can hear the boats on the water and even take in the view from the water front. Visit the famous Pike Place Market, the first Starbucks, or the gum wall. The very first thing I noticed when I got to Seattle were the hills. I did not know Seattle had so many, and had I known, I would have given the runcation destination a little more thought. I was just really excited to see the Grunge capital of the world.
The Space Needle is pretty cool, and has breathtaking views from both the observation deck and the rotating restaurant. If this is your first trip to Seattle, this is a must do. The Space Needle sits on City Center, which has a variety of shops, and restaurants so you can spend the afternoon here. There is also a beautiful fountain that will keep you mesmerized for hours.
If you're like me and love animals, the Seattle Aquarium on the water front is a great stop. It is also a rescue center, and they have a lot of animals that have been hurt by ships in the Puget Sound. My favorite is Lou, the Sea Lion. He was struck by a ship propeller and now lives at the aquarium, and he is a ham for the camera. He was posing for us and making sure we got his good side. He is a treasure and you should visit him.
Now, if you're reading this to see how running a race in Seattle goes, be prepared for hills, and lots of them, and boy are they steep. One hill looked almost straight up and walking up it hurt everything, hips, legs, feet and calves. I felt like I was dying. The comforting thing was so did everyone around me.
I've done two races in Seattle and both were pretty similar. Start and ended in the City Center right by the Space Needle. Pass Pike Place market and go through various parts of the city. The most beautiful place we ran through was the Arboretum. It's the University of Washington's Botanical Garden and running through it was peaceful. You forget about the fact that you're dying and running 13.1 miles willingly and take it all in.
When you have to run up a hill, chances are pretty good you will have to run down a hill. The down hill parts always make you forget about the agonizing up hill parts. It is a great time to try and gain some time back when you walked during the uphill (or maybe you ran, if you did, kudos!) sections. Mile twelve was at the top of a massive hill and it was bitter sweet. I was excited because mile twelve meant mile thirteen wasn't too far away. It was downhill for a while so it made me feel like I was running faster than I actually was. Bad because I was utterly exhausted and was ready for this hell to end. You see that's the thing with runners. We willingly put ourselves through hell for a medal and t-shirt. It's worth it.
When the finish line comes into sight it is always a joy. You cross the finish line and grab the medal you earned. Grab a water bottle and Gatorade too because you're beyond thirsty. Once you grab all that, you can walk back to your hotel, hail a cab, or drive yourself. Me, I chose to hobble, literally. I hobbled down Fifth Avenue and back up the hill to my hotel. There were a few of us hobbling down the street and I actually heard a man say, "these runners look like they're hurting." Yes, yes we were. My hip, knee and feet were killing me and with each step, I felt like I was dying. But it is all worth it. Sure there are times when death feels immanent and you question why you do this to yourself, but at the end of the day, it's a massive accomplishment.
Like I said before, I have a goal to run a race in every state, maybe even some abroad. You only live once and I plan to fully enjoy and experience life with runcations, no matter how much pain I may be in when the race is done.