One of the reasons I wanted to run this race (besides the fact that I love The Oatmeal), was that the race would be held on September 21st, which just happens to be my birthday!
One of the race perks was listed as follows: "There will be large quantities of birthday cake at every aid station, in addition to Nutella and magical grape beverages." Large quantities of birthday cake at every aid station? On my birthday? I HAD to get into this race!!
I sat on pins and needles as my sister sent me text after text letting me know that the website was crashing. All seemed lost when about 30 minutes later, I received a screen shot of my registration confirmation! The race sold out in 27 minutes so I was over the moon to get one of the coveted spots.
Needless to say, those that did not get in were pretty upset. In fact there was so much demand, they decided to add a race on Saturday (the day before the actual race), to accommodate more runners.
On Saturday morning, I flew from Salt Lake City to Seattle. Once I got there, I picked up my rental car and headed to the packet pick up which was held in a cool running store called Road Runner Sports.
My Maniac friend Laura was so sweet to offer me a place to stay in her home. She was running the Saturday race, so it worked out well for me to get all of my errands out of the way when I got there.
I got to her apartment in Renton, which was right on the water. She was on her way home when I told her I was already at her apartment. While waiting for her to get there, I opened my suitcase, pulled out my running shoes and Garmin and got my 1 mile streak run in. Laura laughed when she pulled up and saw me running along the dock in my jeans and t-shirt!
Getting my streak mile in!
Once I got settled at Laura's apartment, I went out to grab a quick dinner before relaxing for the evening. I found this great place called Gyro House had a great meal!
Yummy pre race dinner!
After dinner, I went back to Laura's, got my stuff ready for the race and hit the hay. The race started at 9:00am, so it was nice not to have to get up super early.
I left Laura's apartment at 7:00am and made it to Tolt MacDonald Park by 7:30am. I parked, got some photos, met up for the Maniac/Fanatic photo, picked up The Oatmeal's new book, checked my bag and was ready to run!
Getting ready to run in my most festive birthday hat!
Sriracha and I!
There were lots of cute costumes!
Getting ready to start!
The Oatmeal (aka Matthew Inman, in the green suit) himself saying a few words before the race!
After a few words from The Oatmeal himself, we were off! I, in the excitement forgot to start my Garmin when I crossed the timing mat and didn't realize it until I was about a 1/2 mile into the race. This threw me off a little. I didn't feel that hot when I started running. I just felt really tired and congested. I thought it would work itself out, but by mile 6, I questioned why I didn't just do the half and worse, I questioned if I would even be able to finish the next 20 miles! I started doing a lot more run/walk intervals.
The trails were some of the most beautiful and well groomed I have ever run on!
At mile 3 we hit the first aid station and it did not disappoint! There was birthday cake, Nutella sandwiches, purple drink and other delicious treats!
Birthday cake in a cup. It was really good cake!
Eating cake on a couch with a Blerch! I didn't want to leave!
Still having fun here!
While the trails were nice, this was not an easy course. From mile 6 to 15, we were going uphill. The grade was deceiving. It didn't really feel like we were going uphill, but since I was already feeling crappy it felt hard and tiring. Thank goodness the scenery was so beautiful to look at!
This is the marathon elevation chart.
I am a sucker for a dog in a dinosaur costume!
The Oatmeal (Matthew Inman) himself ran the half marathon in this get up!!
Beer served by a girl in a banana suit anyone?
Maniac Kati and I!
The trail ran along the lush green forest.
I was so happy to see the turnaround at mile 15! The course actually started feeling a bit better as now we were running downhill. I was still hot (the temps were in the high 80's), but the shade of the trees and a little gravity intervention made me feel a little better.
The Blerch had my number from step 1! Ha Ha!
The aid stations were a hotbed of activity! The volunteers were amazing!
Saw newly minted Double Agent, Busta Groove on the out and back! She won the best costume award!
I REALLY did not want to get up! The Blerchs felt like a big comfy pillow and I like resting!
The Blerch, Handsy Bigfoot and I! Ha Ha!
The last 1 1/2 miles we came out of our shady fortress and were back in the sun. It felt so hot and all I could think of doing was getting finished. When I hit the last half mile on the paved road, my legs felt so tired and strange after running on trail for so long. I pushed my way through to the finish, got my medal and immediately went to pick up my gear bag so I could get my book autographed by Matthew Inman.
Finished in 5:01:17. Not my fastest, but considering I was thinking of a DNF at mile 6, I will take it.
I want to say something about Matthew Inman. I have never met him before this race, but from what I saw and heard about him, this guy is a pretty good guy.
Not only did he run the half marathon both days, after finishing he would go to a table and sign books and race bibs for hours! One of the staff told me while I was waiting in line, that when the last place marathoner on Saturday was a mile out, he ran out to get them and run in with them! He the presented them with a DLF cake at the finish! How nice is that?!
Waiting to get my book signed.
The Oats signing my book after running the half marathon!
The best part of any marathon is being done!!
Kissing the Nutella!
After the race I made my way back to Laura's apartment, showered and got ready to head out to my birthday dinner with Michael "The Shoe", Laura, Richard and Shannon! Thanks friends for making my birthday special!
Is this Michael or the Prez, Steven Yee? Ha Ha!
I LOVED this race even though I would have liked to feel better, everything was just so fun and festive. My only request would be that there are a few more aid stations out on the marathon course. When it's so hot, every 2-3 miles in the later miles was tough. Other than that, the race was great for a 1st run.
They are planning on expanding into 5 more locations across the country, so if you don't live close to Washington, keep a look out for a Beat the Blerch coming to a city near you!
On a sad note: A 28 year old half marathoner named Evan Sebenius collapsed at mile 12 on Sunday and did not survive. A fund for his family and a memorial 5k race is in the works. Click here if you would like to help. I don't know the details of what happened, but I would like to think that the runners around him knew what to do. Please folks. LEARN CPR! It may have not been useful in Evan's case, but it could be helpful someone else's situation.
Class act, this guy!! He gave $10,000 to Evan's family! Wow!