Friday, September 26, 2014

I beat the Blerch. Part 1

Now I get to tell you all about it. 

The best place to start is with Ruthie.  You know, I could spend the next few hours blogging about Ruthie and her family and not run out of nice things to say. 

See, we had a doctor appointment in Seattle for the Thursday prior to the marathon.  We had planned on staying at a hotel for two nights prior to the race, but the sudden appearance of this appointment changed our plans.  Who steps in to save the day?  Yup, Ruthie.

She generously opened her home to an invasion from the Adventure Nickel and invade we did.  To make it even more altruistic and amazing, the home was a new purchase and she was still moving in.  We tried to help, but I think mostly provided a distraction from the overwhelming tasks of moving your home and life to a new place.  On the other hand, I did hang up two shower curtains.  She also took time to go out on a 3 mile pre-race run with me.  We made our appointment on Thursday and planned to take Satchel to our pet friendly hotel with us.  Instead, Ruthie offered to keep him there with her.  Turned out to be a wonderful idea.  It was difficult enough to wrangle everything without adding the poor pooch to the mix. 

On Friday we left Ruthie's place and headed toward Seattle for packet pick up.  The race was originally going to be held on Sunday, but when demand grew much larger than anticipated, they added a second race day on Saturday.  Packet pick up was at a running store near Seattle.  The creator of the webcomic which inspired the marathon was there selling and signing books.  When we drove by, there was a line extending half a block out of the store.  Awesome.  Also, no place to park.  Luckily there was a park nearby.  We parked there and the Sarah watched the kids at the playground while I went to pick up my stuff.  Turns out the line was for book signing, there was no line for packet pick up.  I got my stuff, bought the book, and went to see how fast the line was moving.  The people in line were saying it was about a two hour wait. 

Normally, I would never wait in a line that long.  I'm not sure why I decided to wait.  Maybe it was because this was a neat add on to my first marathon.  Maybe I just liked the comic that much.  Maybe I wanted a souvenir of the first running of this event.  For some reason I suspect it will grow to at least an annual event.  Whatever.  I waited in line for around two hours while Sarah watched the kids.  She thought I was crazy for waiting, but suffered along because she is awesome and for some reason she loves me. 

As I got almost to the end of the line, I called Sarah and they all came up to check out the scene.  Michael had read the original Blerch comic and loved it.  So, while the line shortened, Sarah took the kids around to look at all the merchandise.  She ended up with a Blerch stress relief squeeze doll for Max and another book of Oatmeal comics called "How to Tell if you Cat is Plotting to Kill You" for Michael.  For some reason, Michael had been inspired to draw a comic while sitting at the park with Sarah.  He overheard some comment in a conversation Sarah was having with another parent and it struck him as amusing so he decided to draw it as a single panel cartoon. 

When we got to the head of the line and met Mr. The Oatmeal himself, I asked Michael if he wanted to show his cartoon.  Michael did and Mr. The Oatmeal (A.K.A. Mathew Inman) asked if he could keep it.  Michael said yes and then we got our books signed and Max even got his squeeze doll signed.  In Michael's book, Inman even drew a little picture for him.  I think The Oatmeal has a new fan for life.  Thank you Matt Inman. 

He looks nothing like his self portrait.. 
Then we went to the hotel. 

If you ever find yourself in need of a hotel in the Bellevue area, may I recommend the Embassy Suites?  It is pretty sweet as far as non luxury hotels go.  It has an open atrium design, comfy beds, a pool with a waterfall feature and a hot tub.  Here, we spread out and relaxed.  This was a much needed break for everyone. 

I think that cat is plotting to kill us.

It's an original Inman darling.  Priceless in the art community.

Max carried that thing everywhere for days.
Rested and relaxed, I was as ready as I was going to get.  The night before the race I didn't sleep much.  I think that is pretty normal.  The start was at 0900 on Sunday.  I got up at 0645 and got something to eat before we drove down to the surprisingly idyllic and bucolic town of Carnation, WA.  If it weren't for some of the traffic, you would be hard pressed to realize you were that close to Seattle.  The plan was for Sarah and the kids to watch me start and then head back to the hotel for breakfast and to get packed up and checked out.  That way they wouldn't be stuck sitting around county park waiting forever for me to finish. 

As for me, I started the race.  I you want to hear about that though, you will have to wait for the next post. 

Heading out to the starting line. 

Yes, those are pajama jeans.

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