As I sit on my flight back home from the west coast, I can honestly say this past week is a blur. I had to pull out my Nike+ app to remind myself of any exercise earlier in the week because the excitement of being on vacation has taken up all the space in my mind. I’ve spent the last four days visiting my oldest and best friend in Washington state. Just me. No husband or kids. No responsibilities except having fun and relaxing with my girlfriend and her family. While I definitely missed my family, it was nice to get away for some me time. It gave me the chance to reunite with my oldest and best friend and also with nature.
I arrived in Washington state on Thursday and we spent the day in Seattle walking the streets, exploring Pike Place Market, shopping, eating, and drinking. My idea of a perfect day! We even rode a ferris wheel and paid for the picture they take before you get on the ride…it was like we were little kids again getting to hang out…that’s pretty clear by the look on our faces! Loved it!
Experiencing Pike Place Market was AMAZING! I was on sensory overload. There was fresh everything…the largest king crab legs I’ve ever seen, homemade pappardelle pasta, the juiciest peaches ever, the reddest of red strawberries, olive oils I’d never seen, flowers to smell for days. Everything I ate, I found myself saying, “Oh My God…so good!” and then I would look up and see a sign saying “O.M.G. peaches” or “O.M.G. strawberries” and I realized Wow, guess I’m not the only one realizing this food is out of this world fantastic!
There were so many vendors offering so many different products, most of which were handmade. There was a lot of art work, clothing, blown glass items, woodwork, and jewelry. My friend and I were transported back to a time when we had matching “Best Friends Forever” necklaces when we found these matching bracelets saying “Alis Volat Propriis”. When we learned this meant, “She flies with her own wings”, in Latin, we had to have them!
We walked for miles by the time we had finished perusing vendors and visiting other local shops so when we passed by Piroshky Bakery and got a whiff of their amazing food coming out onto the street, we had to stop. I had no idea what I was about to eat, but I didn’t care. By the smell of it, I knew it was exactly what I wanted. Turns out the food is Russian. We had piroshkies (think hand held pies) stuffed with meat and cheese and with mushrooms and smoked mozzarella…mix that with a nice, cold Moscow Mule for lunch and I’d say it was a great day!
Friday morning I got up early with the time difference and headed out to explore the neighborhood a bit. I found myself back at my friends house after completing a solid three miles. There is a view of Mount Rainier from her home, but it had been foggy when I arrived and still was so I didn’t get a peek at the peak like I hoped to. Nonetheless, it turned out to be a beautiful day spent at a local Farmers Market near the water and swinging on swings at the playground.
We decided I had to see Mount Rainier before I left town and the only guaranteed way, and obviously the best way, would be to go to it. So on Saturday morning. I got my run in early clocking just over 3 miles and my fastest 5K since I got my new Garmin.
After some breakfast and a shower, my friend, her son (my Godson), and I headed out to visit Mount Rainier. It was a bit of a ride, but worth every second. Talk about O.M.G moments! It was nature at it’s finest, beauty on steroids, ridiculously amazing to see up close. Driving into the National Park brought me back to years ago when I went on a weeks vacation to hike the back woods of Yosemite with friends. It made me long for another week in the woods exploring. I knew instantly upon arrival that I needed this time to enjoy nature and to truly appreciate pure beauty at our fingertips.
We picked a trail that was about a 4.5 mile loop with an elevation gain of about 1,700 feet based on what a fellow hiker told us as we sat and enjoyed some snacks at the highest point. While it wasn’t necessarily easy to hike up the 12 or so switchbacks that led to the peak of our day, it was awesome! It got me super excited for my upcoming Catamount 25K trail race. Along the way we saw several deer within an arms length, a few old springs, lots of running water, beautiful flowers, and lots of ginormous trees. Being surrounded by nothing but nature for miles makes you realize how small we really are in this world. It makes you appreciate how vast the landscape around us is and how much beauty lies hidden in it.
When we hit our first lookout spot, we were so excited for a view of the peak of Mount Rainier that we jumped for joy!
As we descended the trail and arrived back at the car, we felt accomplished! We had done it! Heading back home that afternoon, we were all tired from the days adventure, but somehow my friend and I rallied and headed to a local casino for some more fun that night. Wow…I forgot what it’s like to be surrounded by cigarette smoke. Yuck. Gross. Stinky. Regardless, we played some slots and lots of roulette, had a great time people watching, lost all our money, and had some good laughs along the way. Totally worth it for one last adventure before I had to head home in the morning.
This trip made me remember that it’s not the number of friends you have in life, it’s the quality of the friendships. Seeing my friend after two years had passed seemed like no time had passed at all. Yes, we are older now. Yes, we have children of our own now. Yes, times have changed. Our friendship has remained rock solid though.
Spending uninterrupted time in the outdoors and exploring the beautiful trails and the National Park at Mount Rainier confirmed that it’s just in my blood to get outside, go on adventures, and experience new things. I want to share these adventures with my kids so that they too can learn to love the beauty that surrounds them.
Between the vacation runs and running at home earlier in the week, I logged somewhere around 14 or 15 miles for the week. If I count the hike, I was closer to 20. I also started back up with my strength training and got in a jam packed one hour session with my trainer early in the week which felt great.
Here is a quick update on my 2015 goal…
I am definitely looking forward to a full week ahead with more miles and strength training on my calendar. Don’t forget to celebrate National Running Day with me and runners across the country this Wednesday, June 3!