Sunday, June 1, 2008

I run for cinnamon rolls

A couple weeks ago I was at Third Place Books standing in the Honey Bear Bakery line for a latte, and of course I spent my time in line staring longingly at the scrumptious baked goods in the bakery case. I can't even talk about the insanely decadent cakes and cupcakes, I might just go into a sugar coma at the very thought. (Or else run to the freezer to rummage for frozen goodies—hmmm—but no.)

But in addition to all the other wonderful stuff, a large-ish cinnamon roll caught my eye. As I may have mentioned before, I am fond of cinnamon rolls. (I can't even bother to link to all the times I have referred to the post-race cinnamon roll!) I thought idly (well, covetously, voraciously, hungrily) that it would be nice if I had a race or a run that ended at Third Place Books so I could have a cinnamon roll afterward.

Cut to a few days later, at work, and Rachel Levy (an attorney, not the person whose name comes up on google—although if Rachel ever googles her name, perhaps this mention will come up) stopped by my office. I happened to mention Third Place Books, and she said that sometimes she rides her bike over there on the Burke-Gilman trail.

My ears pricked up. Third Place Books is on the Burke-Gilman trail? I asked. Thoughts of cinnamon rolls are rushing through my head. Yes, I learned, the trail goes through Lake Forest Park right across from Third Place Books.

Well, obviously, plans had to be made. Later on (when I was not at work, naturally), I looked up the Burke Gilman trail to see what kind of a long run I could make of this. I figured out if I started at Gasworks Park and ran north, it would be about 11½ miles to Third Place Books. (My calculations were a lot more lengthy and labored than it sounds here!)

I was about to leave for St. Louis in a few days, and had a 10K a week after I came back, so the logical day for a long run would be... Sunday June 1! I warned my mother that we would be making this expedition the day after I returned from St. Louis.

And today was the day. I thought I would wake up early and easy, give the reverse time change, but although I woke up at 6:30, I felt groggy and not real excited to jump out of bed. Eventually I got up long enough to make some breakfast. Around 8:00 I called my mother and we arranged that she would come pick me up between 9:30 and 10.

And, around 10:20... she arrived and we left (stopping at Starbucks first, of course).

Despite some very convoluted directions from Google, we managed to find Gasworks Park. I had run on the Burke Gilman trail last year, in June, so this time around I was easily able to spot the trail (had a little trouble with that last time, for some reason). (Last year I ran from Gasworks to Matthews Beach, 7.2 miles.)

I planned to meet up with my mother along the way, at Metropolitan Market and Matthews Beach, before our final rendezvous at Third Place Books. That way I could top off my water bottle and use a restroom.

I hit the trail slow and easy (as usual). I was also taking a tip from John Bingham's book which I just finished, Marathoning for Mortals. He says (as does his co-author, Jenny Hadfield) that long endurance runs should be slow. Well, I know that, obviously! I practice that regularly.

As I ran along the trail I saw the U-District come and go. I saw Husky Stadium in the distance and thought back (somewhat fondly) to the Beat the Bridge run. Soon, Metropolitan Market came up—more quickly than I expected. Apparently it's closer to Gasworks Park than I thought. I was about to call my mother when I saw her parked near the trail.

A slight delay ensued while I wandered through Metropolitan Market looking for the restroom (it's on the mezzanine, by the way). I looked at Blue Bunny sugar-free ice cream in the freezer case and had a sample of cheese in the deli.

Another delay ensued at the car while I washed off the traces of a chocolate espresso bean that I had inadvertantly sat on and melted onto the seat of my pants. It was not pretty.

Finally, I was back on the trail and on my way to Matthews Beach.

And then I missed Matthews Beach.

I determined that I had bypassed it when I finally stopped a walker to ask where Matthews Beach was, and he pointed back where I had already been. I know now exactly where it was. For some reason I thought there were better signs.

I called my mother and let her know we would not be meeting there. Although I would have liked the potty stop, I wasn't about to backtrack!

I set an estimated arrival time for Third Place Books at 2:00. If I hadn't arrived by 2:30, my mother was authorized to call me on my cell phone. I had abandoned my earlier plan of having her call me at a certain time to see where I was, when I realized how irritating I found that. I hate stopping to answer the phone when I am in a running groove! And plus, if I'm not there yet, calling me is not going to make me any faster. So my new motto was, "Don't call me, I'll call you." (With an addendum, "Unless I never, ever show up. Then you can call me to see if I'm dead.")

As the trail wound northward, it began to follow the edge of Lake Washington, and it was a very pleasant route past the lakeside houses. I thanked the stars that I don't have allergy issues, because all the way along the air was swirly with fluffy plants bits. I'm sure there must have been some pollen involved.

Around ten or five minutes before 2:00, I was wondering how much further I had to go. The 2:00 meeting time was a pretty random guess, since I didn't know exactly where I was when I made it! I decided to ask someone for information, if anybody appropriate passed by. I couldn't ask a biker, because they go too fast. I didn't want to ask a runner, because I know from experience that runners don't want to stop unnecessarily. It had to be a walker.

Luckily, I soon met a woman with a stroller. I asked her about Third Place Books, and she assured me that it wasn't much further, and it was easy to find.

Sure enough, less than half a mile along the Burke Gilman trail met up with Bothell Way, right at the intersection of Ballinger Way, which is where the shopping center with Third Place Books is located. It took several more minutes of waiting before the light changed and I (along with a whole crowd of people waiting for the light) crossed over.

I met up with my mother and we went into the store for the cinnamon roll. Since it was mid-afternoon already, I decided that some additional lunch would be a good idea. So we got salads to go along with our shared cinnamon roll. Which, by the way, was whole wheat. Healthy!

So, in all, I thought the Burke Gilman run was a good one. I could make it longer by going on to the end at Tracy Owen Station (another .8 miles, so more than a mile and a half if I doubled back to Third Place Books). There's also another 1.8 miles at the beginning before Gasworks Park, although I do like starting at Gasworks Park. We shall see. I'd rather add at the end first, and then see if I want to do more another time.

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