WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21
I flew out of Philadelphia early on Wednesday morning. I hadn’t been on a plane in almost six years, but everything went smoothly and I found myself taking off, in a seat, in one piece. Apparently you had to pay for wireless internet, and I didn’t bring a book, so I read all of the US Airways magazine. Good stuff.
About six hours later, I landed at SEA-TAC and attempted to find five girls I had never met before in person. Let me tell you, this is a difficult task. I managed to do it though, and hung out in baggage claim chatting with Kristen, Mallory, and Karen until Lindsay and Sarah came. Megan was outside with a van, so once we were all there we headed out and set off for the Nuun office. We were pretty quiet on the van ride; I tried to start some conversation and for the most part succeeded. I knew that pretty soon, we would all be talking like we had known each other forever, because that’s what is bound to happen when you stick a bunch of runners together for several days! So, the initial silence was actually pretty comical.
We arrived at Nuun and put down our bags. Megan took off for another airport pickup, and the rest of us decided to go leave the office and go explore Seattle! We headed toward Pike Place Market, which was a bit of a hike since Nuun is near the stadiums south of downtown. I was so excited to be in a new, major city; I realized it had been over two years since I had (when I went to Boston for the first time). A couple girls wanted to go to Seattle Center to visit the EMP and the space needle, but most of us wanted to stay at Pike and get some food. We tried to take our food closer to the water to sit and eat…but finished it before we got there of course. We browsed around a quirky gift shop by the Ferris wheel , and took some photos by the water!
I had been in touch with Daniel, who is a rep for Moving Comfort, throughout the day, and I really wanted to go check out the Brooks/Moving Comfort HQ while I had time that day! I didn’t want to leave everyone else as soon as I met them though…so I got the idea that maybe they could come as well? I texted this to Daniel and he said of course! Fast-forward twenty minutes and the five of us were standing on the side of the road looking for his little blue Rio (as Leslie sang his name. I knew they were going to get along). A little directional snafu led us to running down the street and into his illegally parked car, then stuffing ourselves into it and zipping through Seattle towards HQ. What made the car ride more hilarious was that Daniel announced he was selling the car that afternoon, so it was certainly going out with an exciting last ride! I had successfully added a running-nerd activity to our itinerary! Bonus points for that! It turned out Brooks was in such a hurry to move out of Bothell and into Seattle that they didn’t wait for their official new headquarters to be built…therefore they are temporarily stationed a little farther up the street at “Camp Brooks!” After a stop at the candy drawer closet and a photoshoot in a shoe or two, Daniel showed us around the place. My favorite floor: “where the magic happens.” We got to see designers working on big sketches, parts of shoes all over the place, big computer screens, fabrics, and designs that never made the cut. I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures in there, but I definitely felt the familiar flurry of creativity in the air, and it was awesome! After our exclusive tour of Camp, we hopped back into Daniel’s car and he drove us back to Nuun. By now, nearly everyone had arrived in Seattle.
We got in the vans and headed to Garage, a cool place with bowling, billiards, and a bar. It reminded me a lot of Kings in Boston, but a little classier. There, it was nice to chill and talk with everyone. I was getting very sleepy by the time we left (3 hour time change…I technically woke up at 2 AM PT!) but I could’ve stayed there longer, it was really fun! The hotel at which we stayed was also really nice. There was a pool on the roof we all said we would go to, but ended up being too tired at night and skipping it unfortunately. I roomed with Katie and Kimberly, and we adopted Dorothy as well.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 22
Oiselle + run at Green Lake
Thursday morning we all woke up early; 8:30 AM somehow felt late! We met at that time in the lobby to drive to Oiselle! Or as they say, the Nest. I didn’t (past tense!) own any Oiselle tops, so I just wore my signature Oiselle stride shorts and a Brooks top. Sally wasn’t there when we arrived, so we decided to go for a run first, then meet back at the office after. I kind of ran in between two groups of runners unfortunately, so I didn’t talk most of the run. As I mentioned, everything was physically feeling less than decent as of Tuesday night…I wanted to use this run to shake all the bad stuff out and gain some confidence for the next day(s) of running. For the most part, the run served its purpose; I felt much better after than I did before. I just did a three-mile loop around Green Lake. I thought about doing four or five, but then thought I should just save myself for Hood to Coast! We hit up Starbucks after, a stop I
mostly used to stretch, drink water, and take a picture with the RAVENNA BLVD sign across the street in honor of my Ravennas! We walked back to Oiselle after, where Sally spoke to us about the company and their Hood to Coast Team (for Every Mother Counts). She also brought out two stripey long sleeve tees and asked who was the youngest here and who traveled the farthest to get here. It turned out I was the youngest! I kind of figured this, as it happens a lot….Holly is from Jacksonville, Florida, so she got the second one! I put mine on before we posed for a huge group photo!
Ride the Ducks!
We went back to the hotel to shower and get lunch, and then reconvened at 1:00 to drive to Seattle Center to RIDE THE DUCKS!!! I must say, this was probably my favorite part of the trip besides the relay. It is a really touristy thing to do, and normally I don’t like being the tourist, but hey – I was! So why not!? I wouldn’t do it in Philly, Boston, or NYC, because I feel like I know the cities well, but it truly was a great way to see the most sights around Seattle. Our driver was hilarious, which I’m pretty sure is in his job description, and he made us laugh the whole time. If I didn’t already mention this at some point, there is something you should know about me: I really, really like boats. When I am on them. I like feeling the breeze, and the water splashing, and viewing the world from the water versus the land, something you don’t usually get to do. I tend to take about 156,415,456 photos while on the water, consequently. Highlights of the water portion of the trip included a dance contest with the other boat HTC-ers were riding, while we circled
each other and probably got too close to one another…a moody drunk sailor…a couple making out on two paddleboards even after we yelled at them over the mic…and just everything else too, because Lake Union was freaking awesome. I was sad to drive out of the water and head back through the city on wheels. Oh, and if you were wondering, yes, we did all have duck noisemakers. They served a dual purpose: relay cheering! People probably thought we were crazy (what happened to cowbells?). Mason was really good at expressing “womp-womp” via duck beak; I couldn’t seem to master it.
Taco bar & van decorating!
I present this with an exclamation point, since things were definitely getting more crazy and exciting leading up to the relay, just the way I wanted it to be! After spending some time just chilling in the hotel room, we walked to Nuun to have dinner and decorate the vans! We got our bags of gifts as soon as we arrived, and Mason talked to us about the history of Nuun’s involvement in Hood to Coast, and previous years’ teams.
– Oiselle Lux Layer Long Sleeve tee, in blue, with the Nuun “n” on the front and the HTC logo on the back
– Oiselle Flyer jacket in yellow, with “nuun” on the back and HTC on the front
– Oiselle Raglan Slub top, white with our team flavor on the front (watermelon!), “nuun” on the back, and HTC logo on the sleeve!
– sparkle skirt in our team color (green!) from Sparkle Athletic (sooo much more fun to wear than I expected!)
– Tiger Tail (like the Stick, but I think I might like this better!)
– Naawk lotion and sunscreen
– Barlean’s Omega 3 supplement (I had to leave mine in airport security…anyone want to send me theirs? Specifically strawberry banana?)
– Endorphin Warrior bracelet (mine says “RELENTLESS”…as soon as I saw the choices I knew that was mine)
– Swiftwick socks, low cut and knee-high compression…these will come in handy in the winter!
Also, Catey gave everyone on Team Watermelon a special gift: a little green bag with a necklace that says: “She believed she could, and so she did”, plus headbands and ribbon ties! So sweet! I’m not sure how you had the time to even think of being so thoughtful when you are busy with nine kids, let alone put all of that together for us! BIG thank you!
We attacked the taco bar and the beer fridge, and then got to work outside the loading dock decorating our vans. I am usually the artsy one in the group, so I was all set to take on the design and drawing aspects of our van, when I realized everyone else here was just like me! So, we split things up evenly and managed to all bring our ideas to life on the van. It was a 15-passenger van, after all…plenty of space to write and draw! I ended up drawing lots and lots of black seeds on the sides of the van, and on every watermelon, since I had the black crayon for so long. We shared lots of laughs and came up with some great sayings and puns – you put six bloggers/runners together and creativity flows!
When we were done, some Nuunies drove us back to the hotel since it was getting dark. Except…apparently I missed the memo when I was in the bathroom, and went out to find the vans gone and Emily, Holly R., and Meghan (Nuun ambassador on another HTC team who stopped by to give us delicious cupcakes – thanks!) standing there asking if I wanted to meet Mason at a nearby brewery with them. Ummm, yes? By means of Twitter, a few others ended up showing up later, and we ended up staying fairly late (9:30ish…it’s relative). Van 2 didn’t have to leave until 11:30 AM, so it was all good…or so we thought. My room was mostly Van 1 runners, so there was no hope in sleeping in when they were getting ready to go at 6. It was okay though, I was excited too, and wished we were leaving earlier!
Next post: THE MOTHER OF ALL RELAYS!!! Friday, August 23 – Saturday, August 24.