As a fan of The Oatmeal online comics, I was rather excited when this race came up in a search online last year. I wanted to do this one last year, but it had sold out before I could. After chatting with my friends Jen and Amy the three of us decided to sign up and do the 1/2 Marathon, which would take place on September 17th 2016 in Carnation Washington, in Seattle.
Leading up to this race, I hadn’t been able to put in the level of training I wanted to, but this being my first race in the US and my first trail half marathon, I had no expectations of finish times – I wanted to just go out and have fun. The race boasted having cake and nutella on course, as well as couches to rest on – no other races I had done before had offered such fun.
The weather in my local area of Surrey BC was rainy and dark leading up to this event, and the forecast for Carnation also called for rain – so I packed enough gear with me to be comfortable and dry for pre and post racing. I also remembered my trail shoes, as you don’t want to run on a trail in road shoes.
The road trip getting down into the US wasn’t too bad honestly. The three of us were able to get through the US border without any issues really, and it finally started to get light outside as we got nearer the race site. I was super nervous, and barely ate before the run – you never know what to expect with any race, especially with out of town races – I was prepared to expect the unexpected.
My friend Jen was able to find parking pretty quick at the local school that was super close in walking distance. I ended up taking my bag with my dry clothes with me, as Jen and Amy had to leave after the race to head back (and friends of mine including my husband and daughter would be picking me up). Getting to the race site from the car was a basic 5-7 minute walk. I was excited as I got closer, there were many people in costume including “The Blerch”. Bib pick up was quick, and due to the rain we were able to hunt down some free plastic ponchos to keep us dry – I ran the race under my poncho to stay dry.
Before the race the three of us checked out the merchandise tent and that was pretty decent. As a racer you were also able to get a free donut, and one both had a donut challenge where you would eat a hanging donut and the fastest person got a prize- not sure what the prize was.
There were also volunteers handing out donuts and shots of Nutella – you read that right, shots. I had a pre race donut covered in chocolate and whipped cream – it was soo good.
Getting to the start line was fairly easy, there was a crowd but it wasn’t too crowded if that makes sense. A man dressed as the Blerch lead off the cheer, and then we were off. I lost Jen and Amy early on as I wanted to run it nice and slow and take everything in. Starting the race there was heavier rain, then it tapered off and we even saw some sun – but let me tell you the course was gorgeous groomed trail – I loved every minute of it. I got to enjoy the “aid stations” with the cake and nutella and spent some time chilling on the couches with the Blerch – I figured I would not take this race too seriously and I did not.
I listened to my music the whole time (I hate large crowds of people so the music helps to keep me sane and focused on my run). I stopped to get pictures of the on course yeti, to take in the sights and just to allow myself to enjoy – I often take races too seriously and didn’t want to do that with this one.
The race was a quick in and turn around back. I felt rather tired at the turn around point, but I had been up since 3:30 am that morning and I think that started to get to me a bit. I didn’t want to go super slow so I did what I could to keep going and still enjoy. At the last couch rest stop I stayed a few more minutes more then I needed but it was nice to chill and talk to the Blerch that was there. I also made sure I only took cake and water at the aid stations, you can get proper fuel at any other race and this is not what this one was about.
Post race after getting my medal, I hung around, bought a book called ” The Terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances” and Matt Inman was onsite to sign it, so I waited in line. I had some time to kill and figured why not.
Overall I had a blast at this race. The course was well marked and gorgeous, everyone had such a strong energy and it was about fun not about speed or getting a PR. As it is quite a distance for me to travel (about 4 hours each way by car), I don’t know when I will be able to do this race again, but recommend it to anyone that just wants to have fun and eat cake.
If you are interested in checking this race out, there is a 10KM, Half Marathon and Virtual race option available. I know of friends that did the Virtual race and received the same cool swag I did (candies, stickers, playing cards). If you are looking for a fun, silly, casual race, I would recommend this to you.
To find out more about this super fun race, please visit: Beat the Blerch