Last week, Justin and I ventured up to Seattle to visit his side of the family and to celebrate the 4th of July holiday. We got an early start on Tuesday and arrived just in time to watch the U.S. versus Belgium soccer match, which unfortunately ended with a loss. I actually enjoy soccer but I guess the rest of the country can now forget about it once again, at least for the next four years. After the match, we headed out for a little hike with Justin’s sister and our niece, quickly realizing just how much the heat and humidity would zap our energy. Seattle was breaking heat records. After walking along a few trails and climbing a huge set of stairs, I was sweating profusely. I don’t know how I ever survived running during the hot, humid Houston summers back in the day.
That evening we caught up with the family and ate dinner just down the street at Red Hook Brewery, which was packed. Justin’s sister drives a BMW 335 convertible, so we took full advantage of the opportunity and drove it to dinner while the rest of the family piled into another vehicle.
On Wednesday, Justin and I headed out early on our way to Lakes Stevens to check out the Ironman 70.3 course. We were quite surprised at how small and resort-like the town is. Really, this place hosts an Ironman event? It was quite the opposite of Boise 70.3 in every way possible. The swim area was really nice and calm, surrounded by houses and docks on each side. Sighting should be much easier on this course.
We then hopped on out bikes to ride a majority of the course, which started out fairly easy but made a big shift in level of difficulty about 10 miles in. I don’t know if it was my fatigued legs or what, but I really found the course to be challenging. There were several short, but steep climbs and descents, along with one hill that registered at 18.8% grade. I was out of the saddle, standing on the pedals and feeling as though I was going nowhere. It was quite frustrating. Below is an idea of the part of the course that I rode (through mile 40) and the last 16 miles that we drove.
The bike course itself is beautiful and surrounded by thick green trees, rivers, and lakes. After riding most of the course, I have determined that I need to go into Beast Mode when it comes to training on steep hills for the next several weeks.
The two loop run course is interesting, as part of it is really pretty along the lake, while part of it travels along industrial back roads that are very unsightly. The course is pretty flat with a few small hills. All in all I think it will be a fun experience.
After finishing our ride we headed up to my mother-in-law’s cabin (we call it the Sugar Shack) on Camano Island. The house was just remodeled, so it was fun to check out all the changes. After showering and getting cleaned up, we enjoyed a few games of Sequence (only the best game ever) and a nice appetizer before heading out to dinner at the Camano Island Inn.
We really lucked out with a great table overlooking the water and in the sun. The temperature was perfect. I had the scallops and enjoyed a glass of Syrah, while the sunset was growing more colorful with each passing minute. What a lovely place to have an elegant dinner on Camano Island.
On Thursday morning Justin had a business meeting nearby in the town of Anacortes, so we located the local high school track and dropped me off so I could get in a long run while he was working. I broke my record on the track by a long stride, completing 44 laps (11 miles) with an average pace of 7:18min/mile. It was one of the best runs I have had in a while and it felt great. I was even able to negative split the workout and run the second half faster than the first. It may sound somewhat crazy to run that far on a track, but when you have some good music and a nice controlled environment, sometimes it just works.
Justin arrived back just in time to watch me complete my final few laps, after which I quickly cleaned up and changed (right there in the parking lot) so we could go to the Lululemon outlet. I didn’t do too much damage this time.
That afternoon and evening, Justin and Mary (Justin’s mom) cooked up a storm for dinner, which included flank steak, sweet potatoes, grilled onions, and asparagus. It was fantastic and tasted extra good after working so hard that morning. Later that evening we played a few more games of Sequence and awaited the arrival of Justin’s sister and her brood.
Friday – happy 4th of July! We woke up early and decided to get our workout done while the weather was nice and cool. I did a 27-mile bike ride around the back roads of Camano, while Justin went out for a 6-mile run.
That is exactly what the Fourth of July is like on Camano Island. The people in this community do not joke about their celebrations and fireworks. All of the beaches are filled with people, bonfires everywhere, and the echoes of booms blasting all around. This was by far one of the craziest firework experiences I’ve seen, as people spend thousands of dollars to put on a seemingly professional show. Apparently the owner of the house two doors down is friends with the local tribal chief, and actually goes to his house each year to pick out roughly $5,000 worth of fireworks for the celebration.
The weather was kind of a bummer as it was cold with showers here and there, but we all bundled up and sat around the fire to keep warm. As the night went on, the weather actually got better and while it never warmed up, at least it stopped raining.
Fireworks blasted in all directions well into the night. Justin and I went to bed around 11pm still listening to and feeling the booms shake the house.
Saturday was somewhat of a (much needed) lazy day as we packed up and headed back to Seattle. Justin and I went down to the waterfront and had a late afternoon lunch at Ray’s Boathouse. It was fun to sit outside, listen to the rain trickle onto the cover above us, and watch the boats enter and exit the harbor.
Our evening was spent relaxing on the couch and watching the Tour de France – good R&R for the soul. On Sunday morning we got another early start to avoid holiday traffic, and made the six hour drive without trouble and were back home in Bend by 12:30pm. What a busy, yet fun-filled holiday weekend with the family. Looking forward to heading back in six weeks to race!