Running: Always Worth it

Most depressing moment of the week: Watching the Seattle 1/2 Marathon participants take off without me.

Not that I should really be complaining, because if that was my most depressing moment, then I’ve had a pretty good week 🙂

It was a stupid depressing moment, because there wasn’t any real reason that I didn’t run the Seattle half. I am not injured, I’m in reasonably good shape, and the race wasn’t sold out. My aunt/favorite family running buddy was participating. I just didn’t want to shell out the $100 bucks. If I could do it all over again, I would be $100 poorer. Running a race is priceless. (Well, not really. I don’t know if it would be worth a million dollars to run down soggy Seattle streets, but you get the idea.)

I told myself that I would go to the race and take good pictures. I never get good race photos because I’m always running. That plan failed as it was raining (of course) and I didn’t want to get my camera wet.

I told myself that I would go to the race and sell hand warmers to raise money for Team in Training. That plan failed as nobody wanted to buy hand warmers. And I hate selling things. I did give a bunch of the warmers to some homeless guys, so that made me happy.

I told myself that I would go and cheer on my aunt. That plan did actually work, but I think my aunt would have felt cheered anyways. Less than two and a half hours after the starting gun went off, she danced out of the finish line chute with her medal and a smile that can only be brought on by post-race endorphins.

“I feel so good! I could run another three miles!” She exclaimed as we headed to the recovery area.

“I feel so good! I could run another five miles!” She exclaimed as we headed to the car.  

I didn’t doubt her – she’s one tough aunt. Case in point: She ran the Spokane ½ last month and tripped, going down head-first at mile twelve. She stopped for some emergency first aid, but couldn’t get that finisher’s medal out of her bruising head. With a race aid worker by her side, she finished the race and headed directly to Urgent Care for eight stitches. She ran her first ½ marathon trail run a few weeks later.

In conclusion:

Be like my aunt. Run first, stop the bleeding* later.

Don’t be like me. Lay down that credit card,* pin on your race number and go.

*Note: I am not to be held responsible for any episodes of fainting due to blood loss or decreases in credit card ratings due to unreasonable race charges.

A Seattle Day

Before heading off to China I was lucky enough to bask in a perfect (although cloudy) Seattle day: a run around Bellevue Park, brunch at Z’ Tejas, a jaunt through Pioneer Square, Pike Place Market, and a Mariners game. My friends had their cousin in town so I tagged along on the tourist trail.  

 My oh-so-eastside friend hadn’t even crossed the I-90 bridge before embarking on her usual diatribe about dirty, grungy, tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing Seattle and the “bus smell” that permeates Pike Place Market.

“Ugh! This is exactly what I’m talking about!” She exclaimed upon crossing Pioneer Square to discover what I’m going to call tree-sleeves.

Fiber artist Suzanne Tidwell was not wearing Birkenstocks as she sat on a bench weaving décor for her next tree. “I’m just trying to heightened awareness,” she commented. She’s not alone. Yarn bombing has exploded worldwide from Bali to Paris to Denver. TIME Magazine even reported that firefighters in Vancouver were adding knit blossoms to cherry trees.   

 We soldiered on past the Harbor Steps to Pike Place Market wherein we joined the masses to watch people catching fish (“Good enough to wear, good enough to eat,” chanted the rubber-overall-wearing salesmen when a flying fish smacked a young tourist in her face.) before heading to Le Panier for a quick French pastry.

Heading back to Safeco Field we participated in pre-game festivities (i.e. eating clam chowder and drinking beer) at Pyramid Alehouse. Right across the street from the field, this is the hangout spot for Mariner fans before and after home games.

Safeco Field added a patio dining area (The Bullpen Market) this spring to the space behind left-center field and Le Creperie has been getting rave reviews. Seeing as I’d already consumed food for three days I just said hi to my favorite bartender (Jay, my hirsute brother) and then hightailed it back to my seat before I missed any more action. Dustin Ackley had hit a triple while I was wandering around and I needed to make sure my stand-in scorekeeper was doing his job right.

 He did just fine, as did the Mariners that night who won in extra innings. A perfect send off as I prepare to head off to a country that has (…dum, dum, dum…) no baseball.

Brewing Beer in Edmonds, Washington

Seattle is a city known for dripping coffee and falling rain, but just north of the Emerald City, things are pouring on a whole new level. At Gallaghers’ Where-U-Brew, beer fanatics are brewing, bottling, and pouring alcoholic pints of their own creations. 

During my Wednesday night visit, an eclectic crowd had gathered. A young couple was bottling their specialty beer. Groups of friends were huddled around the huge vats, stirring their brew as they sampled someone else’s. A neighbor stopped by with her 90 lb Irish wolf hound to visit Sparky, the resident Dalmatian at Gallaghers’. Towards the end of the night, a church group requested that the Weezer CD be momentarily turned down so they could perform an opera piece. It was a jovial crowd, to say the least.  

Somewhere between a bar and a DIY microbrewery, Gallaghers’ is set up to assist wannabe brew masters. Recipes for different drafts, lagers, and ales are available on laminated sheets. Ingredients and scales are strewed around the counters. Longhaired/bearded guys wander around to help you (or possibly steal a swig of your beer), so you can’t go wrong.

The process is relatively simple. First, grains are steeped in water. The steam-fired copper kettles (top of the line brewing equipment, naturally) heat everything up, just as if you’re brewing a huge vat of tea. Then the grains are taken out, and malt is added. Hops are also added during the cooking process, usually at three different intervals. After much stirring and wafting of beer smell, wort is pumped out of the kettles and everything gets processed through a cooling system. Yeast is added at this point. Then the soon-to-be-beer hangs out in a cool fermentation room. This is where the magic happens, as yeast breaks down the ingredients, leaving a deliciously alcoholic beverage. Brew masters come back two weeks later to bottle up and take home their beer.

Gallaghers’ is located at 180 W Dayton St Suite #105 in Edmonds, Washington, next to the ferry docks. After bottling, patrons walk away with 132 12-oz bottles of beer for just over $150. Root beer, cider, and wine can also be created at Gallaghers’.

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