Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Burke Gilman Trail - Fremont to Third Place Books

There it is. Doesn't it look long? Fourteen miles, baby! From Fremont (a Seattle neighborhood) in the south to Lake Forest Park in the north, specifically the Third Place Books at the Lake Forest Park Shopping Center. The little off-shoot near the end is where I left the trail to go up to the shopping center. Here's the official trail map:
I started at the far left of the pink line, at 8th Avenue N.W. which is just west of Fremont, and went just enough past the shopping center to make my fourteen miles. I think if I'd gone all the way to the end at Tracy Owen Station (and back to Third Place Books) I would have had about fifteen miles. So there's still a little something there for an even longer run.

The Burke Gilman trail is meant for cyclists, walkers and runners, but I think it is used most by cyclists, who are able to whiz through this section of Seattle at relatively high rates of speed without bothering with the roads and traffic (except where Burke Gilman actually crosses the roads). During my run I saw a handful of other runners at various points, and some walkers, particularly as I got into the residential areas around Lake Forest Park. I would imagine it's a nice way to walk to the shopping center, and Third Place Books, and the Sunday Farmer's Market at the shopping center, for people who live in the area.

I last ran on the Burke Gilman trail in June, about a month before I got the Garmin. So I had to base my distance calculations on the figures provided with the trail map. This time, of course, I was able to measure the distance to the very last step! Running on the Burke Gilman trail is not a simple proposition. It requires a little bit of planning and a crew, for transportation purposes. My mother agreed to come along to drop me at the beginning, pick me up at the end, and meet me at designated locations to trade in my water bottle.

I started at the Fremont end, a couple of miles west of Gasworks Park. Not only did this increase my total mileage, it also gave me the opportunity to run through Fremont, which was a fun and scenic opportunity. Very shortly on, I passed by the Fremont Sunday Market, a local institution which I've never visited, since Fremont is not my stomping grounds. I resisted the opportunity to check it out today, since I'd only been running for a mile and making a shopping-and-browsing stop did not seem like a good idea!

The trail runs along the lake shore, and this area of Fremont is also well populated with boats, boaters, rowers, kayakers, and even some houseboats (shades of Sleepless in Seattle, but that houseboat is located on Lake Union). (Although the pictures look dark, it was actually a rather sunny day. Somehow the brightness of the sky made the objects in the photos seem darker. I was using my cell phone camera, which is not the most high tech!)

Exactly two miles along I came to Gasworks Park, and conveniently, the Burke Gilman Trail passes directly by the restrooms. There are a number of paths running around the park, so if I wished I could probably add a half mile or so to my total by looping around the park.

Approaching Gasworks Park. (I know, it looks more like a factory than a park!)

The Space Needle can just be seen in the left of this picture.

Looking towards Seattle.

From my quick stop at the park I ran on to the first official meet-up spot, Metropolitan Market, which by my measurements is exactly 4.25 miles from Gasworks Park (putting me just over 10K so far). Of course this required a trip into the store to use the bathroom (can't pass up a clean, indoor restroom) and to purchase a whole wheat flower cookie for fuel on the road!

My first six miles passed at a reasonable 10:15-10:30 pace. I slowed down a bit during the three mile stretch to my next stop, Matthews Beach Park. The last time I was on the Burke Gilman trail, I missed Matthews Beach entirely, but this time I saw the sign and veered off on the trail down to the beach. On a summer's day, the beach and park would be swarming with picnickers and even swimmers, but on this cool October afternoon it was quite deserted, except for me and some geese. Or were they ducks?

Since I was now at 9.25 miles total, I anticipated less than five miles to go to my final destination of Third Place Books (or vicinity). As I told my mother: "Once I hit 14 miles, I'm stopping. No matter where I am!" (I then amended it to "I'm walking.") My calculations seemed to be on track, anyway, since the Burke Gilman website indicated 5.1 miles to the Tracy Owens station endpoint, and I wasn't going quite that far.

This northern section of the trail bordered some residential areas along Lake Washington. The closer I got to the end, the more I saw walkers and strollers (meaning baby strollers) out and about. I was still plugging along at about an eleven-minute pace. However, as I neared the end I thought I should give myself a kick and pick up the pace a bit. So I did one mile at 10:40, then the next at 9:33. And as I finished that nine-and-a-half-minute-mile, I saw the big sign for Third Place Books and the Lake Forest Park Shopping Center right across the street. I had arrived (pretty much). But I still hadn't finished a full fourteen miles. I was at about 13.3 miles. So I kept going until the Garmin said 13.75, then turned around and hit fourteen back at the crosswalk. The walk from the trail to the bookstore added another third of a mile.

On this particular trip Third Place Books was just a meeting place, not a destination (okay, we did go into the store and get a cinnamon roll from the bakery). But Third Place Books is a great place to go for book events and author readings. In a comment to Dean Karnazes' blog, I suggested that he should do a book event at this bookstore, since it was right off the trail and he could go for a run too. (But he went to Portland instead).

I've been to a number of author events at Third Place Books. Looking back at their calendar of past events, there are lots of others that I wish I had gone to as well, but I've really enjoyed the ones I attended, including....*

Jen Lancaster, Such a Pretty Fat. This book is a complete hoot. I read it on a plane to St. Louis, and I was laughing aloud. I'm pretty sure that Jen Lancaster is the queen of snarky. Maybe she even invented snarky. This is her story of how she decided to lose some weight and get healthy, although she had no interested in trying to be skinny and beautiful because, really, she was already beautiful and had a very positive self-image and she only decided to cut back on the Chinese take-out and hit the gym when her doctor warned her that if she didn't shape up she might, well, die. Her other books are just as hilarious, she was exactly the same in person, and she has a blog to entertain you in between books.

Paula Deen, Christmas with Paula Deen. No refreshments, sadly, but she and her husband are very engaging and we had the additional excitement of some protesters showing up, including an old man in red clothing with a long white beard who looked just like Santa Claus.

Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry, Living in a Foreign Language. Remember them from L.A. Law? This is a very enjoyable book, written by Michael, about their experiences buying a home in Italy and living there for parts of the year. Later I also read Michael's first book, I Never Forget a Meal, which is a memoir about his life and the food he has loved. (It also tells how he and Jill hooked up, and how the L.A. Law job came about.)

Sophie Kinsella, Shopaholic and Baby. Sophie Kinsella (if that is her real name, she also writes as Madeline Wickham and I don't remember which is real, if either). She was completely charming and very funny, with tales to tell about writers she knows and shopping experiences she has had. I wrote about her in a post about the exchange rate on my England travel blog, as she visited at the beginning of the dollar-pound fiasco (from my perspective, not so much to the English), and I asked her if she was enjoying the favorable exchange rate! (I am actually encouraged about recent progress in the exchange rate, and only hope that the British economy continues to tank in the months prior to the Bath half marathon.)

Susan Kleiner, The Good Mood Diet. She's quite a motivational speaker, and the book is very good as well. I read it thoroughly, and I've incorporated a lot of its premises. (And I am very cheerful usually, so perhaps the food I eat does play a part in that.)

Mireille Guiliano, French Women for All Seasons (the sequel to French Women Don't Get Fat). I worked very hard at putting together an outfit for this—can't look dowdy for Mireille! But the rest of the audience largely stuck to the usual Third Place Books style—denim skirts, clogs, you know the look.

Jared the Subway Guy. What can I say? He wrote a book, he had an author event. He was pleasant and entertaining, though I have to say that a 20-something male who gained a ton of weight because he ate a ton of food, and lost the weight when he ate less, does not have a lot to say that is very useful to the rather more complicated rest of the world. (And, you can now buy his book for 74 cents through Amazon!)

Sharon Wheatley, Til the Fat Girl Sings. Now this book, and writer, was a pure delight. Sharon's memoir tells of growing up as an overweight child (and adult), and her dreams (and accomplishment) of becoming a Broadway actress and singer. She is totally not, "I lost the weight, got skinny, and became a star." For one thing, she's not a star, but a successful working actress. And although she lost weight, she has never maintained skinny, and I believe called herself a happy size 12 at the time of the book event. She did have one job (I believe it was in Cats) where she agreed to a weight clause (losing and maintaining weight to get and keep the job). In her presentation, not only did she speak and take questions, she also sang a few songs, and boy, can she sing!

Mary Daheim, writer of numerous mysteries with a Northwest setting. She's kind of a regular at Third Place Books, as she publishes at least one book a year. This is an example of someone who is a real working writer. She's not trying to write the great American novel, or one bestseller; rather she has a contract to write books, and she does. She's fun to hear, and my mom really liked her because it turns out they went to the same elementary school, or something like that.

Jennifer Weiner, Little Earthquakes. This was the first book event I went to, and I got there a couple minutes late—and there were so many people I had to stand. Jennifer Weiner is just as funny in person as in her books. She is the writer that all chick-lit-wannabees want to be!

To go back and finish the story of the run, the drive home from Third Place Books took about half an hour. And by the time I got out of the car I was walking like a bow-legged cowboy! I couldn't resist a hot bath, but I did try out the concept of a quasi-ice bath by running cold water as the tub drained, eventually turning it into a sort of cold bath which I endured for about five minutes. The best I could do. But really, although my legs were tired and a little achy that evening, by Monday they were fine. (It was my head that was giving me problems by then!)

The only other concern I had from this run was that my dicey heel and ankle were giving me some pretty decent twinges throughout most of the run. Usually that goes away after a few miles. Hence the effort at a cold water soak later. I can't seem to be bothered to ice my ankle prophylactically, but I have been making an effort to slather it with arnica cream a couple of times a day this week. I would prefer it not to be hurting in Victoria. As if I have a choice!

*All my book links are to Amazon, because that's the easiest way to find any book. I apologize to Third Place Books, I did buy most of these books there! And I'm sure I will buy more in future!


Sarah Pekkanen said...

Hi there,

I just came across your blog, and was wondering if you had a moment and wouldn't mind checking out my website at www.sarahpekkanen.com I'd love to hear what you think. I'm a brand-new author who just signed a publishing contract with the same house as Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner (I've never met her, but it's great to hear she is just as funny in person!).
If you like my website, I'd love it if you'd sign up for my private monthly email list in the box on my homepage. That way, I can send you my first chapter when it's through the editing process to see what you think (I love to get reader's opinions, not just reviewers!)
Take care,

Marie said...

I'm enjoying your blog, Kristin, and will make sure to add many of these books to my Goodreads list. Remember, Goodreads??? I really want you to sign up for that so I can keep up with what you are reading.

I'm glad you are allowing politics to sneak into your blog, since I'm such a flag-waving (feminist) liberal! ;)

Good luck on the half-marathon in Victoria--I'm so jealous; I love Victoria!!

Kristin said...

Thanks Marie! A warning of sorts - Jen Lancaster is (gasp) a Republican, though it is only really relevant in her first book, where she goes from being a conspicuously consuming yuppie to a down-sized unemployee. But don't let that deter you, her books are laugh-out-loud hilarious!

And I looked at Sarah's website and it is delightful! I can hardly wait to see her book when it is published.

Laura said...

Thanks for all the suggestions! I just requested all but "Till the Fat Girl Sings" from the library, and am buying that one since my library didn't have it. It sounds right up my alley though - Broadway and weight loss!