Race Report: 2017 Beat the Blerch 10K

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Been a while. Let’s see if I remember how to do this!

Yesterday, I participated in my first race in almost two years. The race is part of a series called Beat the Blerch based on a comic by The Oatmeal, a/k/a Matthew Inman. Even if you don’t enjoy running, the comic is really funny and you should read it.

I wouldn’t have even known about the race if my friend K hadn’t asked our other race-loving friend R and me if we wanted to run it with her. It was selling out fast so I said yes, thinking that a race was as good a reason as any to spend time in Seattle with my friends, and that I could absolutely train for a flat-course 10K in four months.

While it was fantastic to spend the day before tooling around Seattle with K and R, I was not in racing form by the time Sunday rolled around. That ended up being fine because my racing partners were also dealing with their own health challenges, plus the race was very walker-friendly. Also, personal worsts are encouraged in a Beat the Blerch race because they ply runners with cake and Nutella along the way. So once we picked up our bibs and shirts, the three of us relaxed, chatted with other runners, and hammed it up in photos with a Blerch.

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A Blerch and me.

R and K tried Burritoughnuts (yes, tortilla-wrapped doughnuts).

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R actually ate hers!

Soon after this monstrosity was consumed, we had one last bio-break and then joined the other runners at the starting line, where a Blerch tossed tortillas and marshmallows at us, and then showered us with Doritos as we got on our way.

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Lining up for the 10K.

The mood was high as we made our way through the woods, peeping costumes and chatting and snapping the occasional pic. Mile 3 brought the hydration (and cake and couch) station! I knew the cake wouldn’t be gluten-free, but I hadn’t realized that all of the Nutella would be in sandwiches, so I didn’t get any mid-race Nutella break as planned. That was okay, though, because the day before I had loaded up on post-race treats from Flying Apron Café.

Despite my plan to take it easy, I got caught up in the excitement, and I told K and R I wanted to run for a bit. I ended up running about a mile in two separate segments. Although the running bursts felt good, I had trouble staying within my target heart rate, so I slowed down to a walk. There was also a long stretch of gravel that proved challenging; all of my other races have been on pavement, and I wasn’t keen on injuring myself so soon after recovering from the sneaky sciatica of last month.

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Through the woods.

Even though I was surrounded by people, I was lonely for my friends, so before the mile 6 marker, I stopped for some water and waited for them. The three of us ran the last wee bit to the finish, collected our medals, and got chocolate milk! (And then a proper meal in Redmond.)

All in all, the strengths of this race were the feeling of camaraderie with the other participants, the rampant silliness, the costumes, and the high-quality tech shirt with thumbholes that I’m going to love wearing while running in the cooler months. The challenge was the course: despite how scenic it was, that large-rock gravel was not fun for less experienced runners, and sharing a narrower course with both 10K and half-marathon runners meant that there were lots of “clumps” to navigate.

10K is a great distance for me, training-wise, and I’ve already signed up for another 10K race in about a month, my first in Portland proper. Going to the gym will be a lot more fun with this goal in mind. But I already miss my racing buddies!

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Racing is better with friends.

Day 353 of Project 365: Sunday karaoke.

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Now that I have a car, I sing (badly) all the time, but I was definitely overdue for some fun karaoke times with friends. Courtney, V, and I went to Voicebox and sang our hearts out. About ducks.

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: Zen’s snores … making me so sleepy.

Day 317 of Project 365: No bull.

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Today I am grateful for a night out with FunkyPlaid and dear friends seeing a really good film (“Arrival”) and going out to dinner together afterwards to discuss it. I spent the earlier part of the day feeling very guilty and upset about the usual, and it was good to recover the evening.

I still don’t remember to take photos in the moment, so here is the restaurant sign just before midnight. Thrilling, I know.

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: the heavy keystrokes of an old keyboard, having finally given up on the wireless one.

Day 214 of Project 365: Om to the nom.

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This is the lower two-thirds of my friend Hawk’s face right before we ate all this food at Southpark Seafood. Not pictured: even more food.

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Writing from: my study. Listening to: the “Amélie” soundtrack, which the U.S. iTunes Store did not have but my library did. Libraries rule.

Day 213 of Project 365: Tea time.

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Look, I left the house today. I didn’t want to do it (not true) but I did it (true). It was looking like a whole three-day weekend spent hiding inside (except for nature) and despite expecting myself to do something social (like making at least two seconds of eye contact with another human being) I was enjoying days and days of writing and watching Netflix and cooking weird recipes and having unsatisfying conversations with the cat. I really was. Does that make me an introvert? I am finally at the age where I can say YES IT DOES proudly (sort of) and not worry about what anyone thinks of me (not true) and feel confident that my friends won’t wander off (definitely so very not true).

But I left the house today and it was really good. I recommend it. I especially recommend it if you, like me, have been on an introversion binge and yet miss seeing your friends in the Real Life and not just in the Instagram World because even if they are photogenic (disgustingly so) they are so much better in 3D. The LOLs are more realistic, too.

There is even tea in the Real Life. And random craft fairs and charcuterie and clothing stores that are surprisingly interesting for clothing stores. And friends.

And friends.

And tea.

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Writing from: the safety of home. Listening to: “Living” by Sebastian Plano.