Saturday, July 26, 2008

Seafair 8K

Tonight I ran an 8K (that's 4.97 miles to you)! This is a very big accomplishment for me and I'm super excited that I finished. You see, I was the girl that only did one season of soccer in high school because I hated the running involved. I was the ballet girl who hated any type of exercise that didn't include pas de chats or arabesques. In the past two years I've had some fleeting experiences with running. I ran a 5K in 2006. I did a sprint triathlon, which included a 2 mile run, in 2007. But since that triathlon, my exercise has been some intermittent 1-2 mile runs every few weeks and hiking in the summer. Running was a chore that I tried to endure, but wasn't able to maintain.

In February I went to the doctor and I got back on a scale for the first time in months. And in March I turned 25. Both of these events affected me. I decided it was time for me to lose some weight, and I know the best way to do that is through running. But more importantly, I thought about being in my mid-20s and not being in shape. I felt like the longer I waited to get into shape, the harder it would be. So I decided to start running. Instead of just running to run, I decided I would probably end up pushing myself more if I had a goal, so I picked the Seafair 8K (more than a 5K and not as intimidating as a 10K). I started out at being able to run about 1.5 miles. And I gradually added 1/4 of a mile every week or so.

I've run about 3-4 times a week now for months. And a funny thing has happened. Instead of forcing myself to run, now I look forward to it. It's a stress reliever. And it has made me more energetic. I used to be very tired through-out the days even though I got plenty of sleep, but now my evening runs energize me and I feel more alert during the days and can stay up a little later. And instead of feeling like I'm trying to become a runner, now I feel like I AM a RUNNER! My SHORT runs during the week are at least 3 miles. I go running in the cold and the rain and the heat. I've lost 10 pounds since February and I feel incredible.

So today was the race I've been working towards for so long. My goal was to finish the race, run the entire time, and stay under an 11 minute mile. I was super excited about this run. Seafair is a month-long celebration with several different events. The race immediately precedes a downtown parade, so we were promised crowds of thousands to cheer us on. The run starts on a viaduct with beautiful views of Puget Sound. It's really interesting to run on the viaduct because it's normally a street only available for car traffic and it's a major highway. After running up that for awhile I made it to the tunnel which was probably about half a mile long. That was pretty neat to run through a tunnel. I realized that my first two miles were pretty slow, so I tried to pick up the pace a little bit. It was really neat to start running through downtown Seattle. And the last two miles were incredible. The streets were lined with people and children cheering us on and waiting for the parade. Kids were lined up on the sides of the streets with their arms stretched out to receive high-fives from the runners. The crowds' encouragement and knowing that I was almost done spurred me on and I ran pretty fast the last two miles. It was a really nice run, a few long gradual inclines, but no real hills to worry about.

I crossed the finish line with all of my goals met. I ran the entire time (passed many walkers) and finished the race in 54.20. That's an average 10.55 mile. And I felt great, I probably could've gone quite a bit farther. So my next big goal is to run a 10K. I'm going to Florida for Thanksgiving, and my Dad and I are going to run the Turkey Trot 10K together. I can't wait to finish a 10K with my Dad.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bite of Seattle

We recently went to the Bite of Seattle, an annual food festival situated around Seattle Center. Last year while I was still living in Florida, Robb had already made it to Seattle and visited the Bite of Seattle. He's been very excited to take me the Bite of Seattle this year. There's been a lot of criticism of the Bite in years past. Originally the Bite of Seattle was created to increase the visibility of local restaurants. However, there were a few chains at this festival and several booths with your typical carnival food, rather than high-end restaurant sampling. And, instead of "bites", food vendors sell practically whole meals for like $7.00. This doesn't allow for a lot of taste-testing because of wallet issues and stomach-filling issues. Because of past criticism though, this year's festival did provide a few smaller "bites." (Which were very good!) Our favorite foods this year included a corn chowder with prawns, yellow chicken curry, and spanakopita. I don't know if you've picked up on the fact that Robb and I live to eat and try new foods, but we do and this was the perfect event for us!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Alki Beach

So last weekend Robb and I finally made it to Alki Beach, yet another area in Seattle we hadn't visited yet. We actually ended up there because I needed to attend a summer picnic for the political organization I'm a part of. The picnic was okay, a little dull, but I enjoyed talking to a few people and just being outside on very hot day (I'd guess mid-80s. Robb and I both got sunburned.) Robb, who's not a big political fan, was a real trooper in joining me and a bunch of dorky politicos. After the picnic, we walked along the beach to check it out. Most of it was rocky and the tide makes the waves juts up against the beach wall. However, there were a couple of spots that had more sand-like substance in them (still nothing like Florida sand.) It was also neat to see this pillar/monument claiming that it was at Alki Beach where the founders of Seattle landed. So we saw the official birthplace of Seattle. And just over the bend, you could see the Space Needle sticking out. I think the Space Needle is really interesting; it seems that every neighborhood offers a completely different view of the Needle. When you're right downtown, it seems fairly small and unimpressive compared to the skyscrapers. But in other locations it looks tall and majestic. I just think it's fascinating. It might be interesting to do a photo montage one day of all the different views of the Space Needle. (And I suppose I need to pay the exorbitant amount of money they're asking to one day visit the top.)

After walking along the beach, we headed to a different part of the Alki Beach neighborhood to walk around another street-fair. Seattle is big on the street fairs in the summer. I think it's awesome that there's so much going on, and in different neighborhoods each weekend. This fair was significantly smaller than the last one. But it still was really nice and we were able to see the Alki area from a different view. (Oh, and checkout the cool flowers we saw.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008


By the way, did I mention that I no longer work Saturdays at Panera? Last month I gave my notice. I just got tired of working 6 days a week. I realized I'd been doing it almost non-stop for six months. And I missed Robb. Because our schedules are so goofy anyways, it would bum me out if the only day he had off was a Saturday and I had to go to silly Panera. And I have lots of things I want to do in the summer. I want to feel free to go hiking and go to festivals and be outside. So I decided to quit. And they accepted. But then they convinced me to only take an 'extended absence.' This way, I can easily come back if I want to. So maybe in the fall or when I get bored of having every weekend free, I'll go back once or twice a month to make a little extra dough. Haha. Dough, both literally and figuratively. I'm hilarious.

Me in my 'uniform', standing in front of the pastries and delicious breads that I would set up and display so beautifully every morning.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fremont Fair

The Fremont Fair is one of the premier street fairs in Seattle. It's a celebration of the summer solstice and has a goal of raising money for and awareness of the low-income people that live in the area. The Fair kicks off on a Saturday with a parade. Robb and I couldn't get to the Fair until Sunday, but the parade is supposed to be pretty darn spectacular. And, the fair is also preceded by body-painted, naked bicyclers. That's just something I've got to see next year. Fortunately, this year we did manage to pass the booth run by the nudists, who were nude. In the middle of the Seattle on a very crowded day, filled with fair-goers. Well a couple of them had these fake leafs covering their lower portion, front-ends (very Adam and Eve-esque). But then again, some of them didn't.
So on June 22nd, we decided to take the bus to Seattle. Parking in Fremont is limited even on a non-event day and we didn't want to search and pay for parking. Unfortunately, taking the bus requires lots of time, especially with buses that are very late and very crowded. So the ride there and back literally took four hours out of our day. Oh well, gotta make a sacrifice for the environment and our wallets.

In addition to the three different stages with a variety of musical acts, there were also dozens of street performers, spaced out every block or so. There was a 12 year old kid playing his violin, a couple of teenagers in a drum and guitar combo, and some ragtime bands (complete with drums, horns, bass, dancers, awesome singers, and a washboard!) There were tons of booths for all types of crafts, from candles, to hippie clothes, to hand-made journals, to items made entirely of silverware (earrings, hair clips, funny masks, wind chimes, etc.) There was a very odd car show at the Fremont Fair too. Cars that were shaped and decorated in the strangest way were displayed. And of course, great fair food was ample. We ended up trying two awesome things. We ate the biggest hunk of fresh-made french fries I've ever seen. We saw the people actually make two whole potatoes into strings by using a power drill, and then frying those fries right in front of us. We also had this weird Polish-type thing: boiled potatoes, covered with sausage, and then a dill pesto sauce. Yum.

It was a beautiful day and perfect street-fair weather. It was one of the largest and best street fairs I've seen since living in Texas and attending Austin fairs. Definitely something I'll be returning to, and next year I definitely need to check out the naked, painted bicyclists!