the mountains are calling

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Lately, I have been mentally and physically drained, so I was really looking forward to my vacation in Washington to visit my brother and sister-in-law. After a flight snafu (I hate you, Spirit Airlines!), I made it to Seattle on April 7. On top of seeing my family, there were three things I wanted to do while there – baseball, craft beer, and running. Happy to say I nailed all three.

I consider myself to be a pretty in-shape runner, especially around home, but throw in some elevation and hills with a sprinkle of trails, and I’m an amateur at best. But that’s okay. I needed running to feel fun again instead of a chore, and it certainly was.

My SIL Tracy is a runner, having just set a half marathon PR in Arizona a few weeks back, and my brother Steve has the uncanny ability to transform into a runner when the mood strikes, like during a visit from me. He and I kicked off my first morning there with 4 miles around their neighborhood. Our pace was nothing like I am used to at home, but I felt accomplished with the elevation changes and the fact I wasn’t sucking wind like I would during previous visits. They live in the mountains about 25 minutes outside of Seattle, and the last time I was there and ran, I couldn’t even go 2 miles without stopping.

Next up was the Seahawks 12K! Tracy and I were already signed up, and on a whim, Steve did, too. This would be his longest race to date. The weather gods were smiling on us that Sunday because although it was crisp, the sun was shining, something they haven’t seen in a while in Seattle. This race was the most fun I’ve had running in I don’t even know how long! We weren’t worried about pace. The crowd and overall atmosphere of the run was entertaining. The views were freaking gorgeous, as the course took us along Lake Washington and around the Seahawks training facility. I’m pretty sure I smiled the entire time! And we didn’t run a shabby race either – 7.65 miles in 1:11:09 according to my watch.

My plan while there was to get in my long-overdue long run. You know what? It didn’t happen, but that’s completely okay. The trail run Steve and I had on Tuesday was much more rewarding and enjoyable than any long run on the pavement would have been. We drove to the area where Tracy and he lived when they first moved to Washington and ran the Redmond Watershed Preserve. The scenery was beautiful and peaceful, and the trails weren’t completely killer. We clipped through the woods for 6 miles, and I loved every minute. Plus, running on the trails, even though they were considered easy, made me feel kinda badass.

So that’s the running, but what about the baseball and craft beer? I have been wanting to go to a Mariners’ game since I first visited, and we had the opportunity to go to the home opener on Monday, April 10. And they pulled off a win!!! It was a great experience and made me think of all of the times we had with my dad going to Opening Day at the old Cleveland Stadium. Sweet nostalgia.

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And craft beer. Lots of it. We stopped in at least half a dozen breweries to grab a flight and did a little shopping at the beverage stores, which made me feel like a kid in a candy store. Stouts, porters, IPAs, red ales, pale ales, barrel-aged goodies, even a few barleywines, we tried a lot. I think part of my liver is still in Snoqualmie.

Thank you, Steve and Tracy, for a much-needed vacation. Love you both and can’t wait to see you again!

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