After struggling with work-life-training balance, some niggling health issues and a one-year-old overly energetic Border Collie, I declared 2018 to be the Year of the 5K. I assumed that rather than meet up with running friends who had made the exodus out of the San Francisco Bay Area to cities less congested for a destination half marathon as I had done for the past several years, I would race at home this year and settle for keeping up with everyone on social media. Then, I rediscovered the Rock N Roll Marathon Series. I had done a dozen or so of the RNR races years ago, but these were before RNR added shorter distance and remix options to the series. When friends from Indiana said they were stopping in Seattle for the half marathon on their way to vacation in Vancouver, BC, I jumped at the chance to meet up with them and registered for the 5K.
A few days before the race, Rock N Roll sent out the runner perks list for the 10th anniversary of the Seattle race. It was like having our own travel agent/concierge for the weekend. All we had to do was follow the suggested roadmap to enjoy a fabulous weekend getaway. Renting a car in Seattle can be more of a headache than a benefit so I opted to jump on the light rail from the airport for a $3 ride to the Westlake District where I able to walk a few blocks to the Hilton Garden Inn, one of the host hotels for the race.
After checking into the hotel, I headed out to CenturyLink Field for the expo. If you like the expo experience, Rock N Roll’s will not disappoint. You can test out different nutritional products, shop for any must-have gear, enter races, test drive a car and more. I could not pass up the opportunity to purchase the 5K shirt with all of the runner’s names on it. Hey look, there I am.
Runner Perk #1
On my way back from the expo, I stopped at Wild Ginger for dinner, where runners received 10% off the bill the entire weekend. I selected the Market Vegetable Satay skewers and Seven Flavor Beef, a Vietnamese-style flank steak prepared with the flavors of lemongrass, peanuts, chilies, hoisin, basil, garlic, and ginger. The steak was as tender as you could want and exploding with flavor (all seven of them) without being spicy-hot. The duo provided the perfect ratio of protein to carbs to fuel my Saturday 5K.
Runner Perk #2
The Museum of Flight was the staging ground for a lightning fast 5K that took runners under planes in the Aviation Pavillion, then headed out on the streets nearby for an out and back before landing back at the Museum. With a whopping elevation change of 4 feet, this course provides a great opportunity to reach for a new PR.
Race morning started out a little chilly. Thank goodness the Museum accommodated us by opening their doors early and most importantly – the cafe – so we could enjoy a cup of coffee and get a lay of the land of the Museum. I was happy to be able to meet up with fellow Rock N Bloggers Stephanie Dunlap and Deborah Olson before the race for a photo op, and Scottie Bibbins for a post-race pic in the beer tent.
Following the race, the Museum of Flight was free for 5K runners and 10% off for their guests. I took advantage of the opportunity to go back to the Aviation Pavillion to check out some of the planes we ran under. First up, I boarded a British Airways Concorde. The dark, narrow aisle and low sitting seats (think race car bucket seats) lead to quite a claustrophobic moment. On the other extreme was the Dreamliner prototype with lots of space. My favorite was SAM (Special Air Missions) 970, which was used as Air Force One during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations.
You can easily spend an entire day at the Museum. check out the fighter planes, jump on board a USAir jet and see what flights used to be like when leg room was plentiful and drinks were free. There are also many tours, movies, video clips and flight simulators that span the various decades of flight.
Sunday, while my friends were out on the half marathon course, I took the opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of the city and boarded the elevator up to the Space Needle. While not an official runner perk, we did receive a discount since the Space Needle is under renovation. Everyone raves about the beauty of the Emerald City. You can see exactly what they are talking about from around 518 feet in the air. Construction at the Space Needle is due to be completed in July 2018. If you are headed in that direction, make a point to stop to check it out.
Runner Perk #3
Food is somewhat a passion of mine – both cooking and eating – so I was thrilled when I saw that runners had a discount on the Savor Seattle walking/eating tour. Held at Pike Place Market, the tour stopped at seven destinations, showcasing just a handful of the local producers that call the market home. We learned some interesting facts about sugar content and brick erosion at the Gum Wall, and some of the darker histories of the market, including when the majority of the market’s farmers, who were Japanese Americans, were interred in camps during World War II.
After a couple attempts by the city to tear it down, today, Pike Place Market is a historical site.
Some of my favorites along the way:
Greek Yogurt at Ellenos. Following a traditional family recipe, this version of Greek yogurt is by far the best I’ve ever tried. It was so smooth, it seemed as if it was whipped.
La Bouna Tavola, featuring white and black truffles and gourmet sauces and condiments. I stopped back in here after the tour for some wine tasting
Pike Place Chowder, winner of the New England Chowder’s Nation’s Best Chowder contest three years in a row. The chowder wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but it was pretty darn close. If you’re in town, you can do “flights” of the different chowder offerings to find your new favorite.
Runner Perk #4
The last night in town, we stopped at The Pike Pub for a light dinner at 10% off.
I would have had to stay an entire week to take advantage of all of the runner perks. Thanks to the team at Rock N Roll for providing a race distance for all types of runners, and to the wonderful Emerald City for welcoming us to Seattle, and making us feel right at home.
As a member of the Rock N Blogger team, I receive a free entry to 10 Rock N Roll races.