Race Recap & Review: Beat the Blerch Half Marathon

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#8 of the 2014 Half Marathons

It’s been a while since I posted here! That doesn’t mean I’ve been slacking off on my runs, just the blog.

Beat the Blerch is a race created by Matthew Inman, better known as The Oatmeal, also known as the web comic that floods your Facebook feed every time he makes a new comic. The race was inspired by his latest contraption “The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances.”

When he announced the race earlier in the year, I failed to sign Erica and myself up since it was sold out within minutes, so we placed ourselves on the waitlist. Then, he announced a Saturday race and we were able to successfully sign up (10K for Erica, Half Marathon for myself). That meant another trip to the Pacific Northwest! My last trip to Seattle was for the Rock n’ Roll race in 2013.

On Thursday evening, Erica and I flew to Seattle and stayed in the Belltown neighborhood using Airbnb.  We did all the sights that one would see in Seattle (Space Needle, Pike Place Market), and got around using Lyft and Uber. Yep, we’re full supporters of the sharing economy.

And now, without further ado, the packet pickup!

Packet Pickup

IMG_0061Pickup was held in Road Runner Sports, a running shoe store located in Green Lake. We arrived after eating at Pike Place Chowder and promptly picked up our Blerchendise. Mr. Oatmeal was present and signing advance copies of his new book, The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances (which contains some very good digressions, if I might add), and we quickly hustled over to the book signing line.

That was when we realized how long the book signing line was. To give you an idea:

We held onto this for about ten minutes before the next group of suckers showed up.

All in all, we were in line for about three hours. But getting those signatures and meeting The Oatmeal in person was worth it. He decided to cut off taking pictures with him starting with us, but as a consolation he did a doodle for us.

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As a fuel up, we met my friend Patro at a longtime favorite place of mine, Lunchbox Laboratory. There were Gavacho’s Tatchos, which were tator tot nachos with ketchup made from Satan’s tears, and we each had a fine burger from this establishment. We got our carbs, sugars, and protein!

Race Day

At 8am, we left Downtown Seattle and took the Zipcar over to the nearby town of Carnation.

Because people always said “Huh?” when I told them we’re going to Carnation.

Everything was Blerch themed, and we were able to snag some great shots before the race.

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The marathon started at 9am, the half marathon started at 9:30am, and the 10K started at 10am.

Matthew ran the half marathon, and before starting, gave us a short inspirational speech.

“So uh, this is really weird seeing all of you here. There will be cake on the course, but don’t vomit cause we’re on cleaning duty and don’t wanna clean that up.”

At 9:30, the race bell sounded and we were off!

The Race

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The course itself was a there-and-back race through the park. Coming from suburban California, it was incredibly scenic, passing by barns, cows, horses, and random bridges in a dense forest. The 10K  turned around at the 5K mark.

It was a steady incline up until the halfway (10.5K/6.55 mile) mark, about 250 feet of incline over 6.55 miles. What comes up must come down in these types of courses, and a 250 foot incline was followed by a 250 foot decline.

What’s more interesting about this course, though, was the Blerch related rest stops. At every aid station there was water, but there was also purple drink, birthday cake, and Nutella. Not to mention the random Blerches wandering around the forest telling you to just stop and take a nap, since we were a champ and deserved it.

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Chill out with the Sasquatch and the Blerch in the couches provided at aid stations!  Photo credit: Facebook

Erica and I, however, silenced our inner Blerches.

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How did we do?

Results:

I finished at a 01:40:09, or 7:39 / mile. My second best time after Santa Cruz, surprisingly!

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Erica finished at 01:08:08, or 10:59 / mile. A new personal best!

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We celebrated with Nutella sandwiches and cake, and the finish line area was playing Disney songs (Kiss the Girl was playing when we finished), had places to take pictures with jars of Nutella, and signs telling us our naps had yet to be conquered.

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It also turns out that my finish time placed me in the top 20! I was also top 3 in my division. The last time I ranked was in the Merced Half Marathon. What?!

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Post-Race Fun!

After resting up, we drove back to Seattle to take our much needed shower, and pigged out at Taylor Oyster Bars in Pioneer Square.

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We then explored what Seattle had to offer for the rest of Saturday, including the Seattle Underground Tour and Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant, where we had お任せ (“omakase”, meaning trust the chef).

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It’s customary to stare at the person that’s going to eat you before you die.

The next day, I also met an running celebrity on Instagram, @blingwhore!

The hashtag parade will start soon.

All in all, it was a great weekend and a great race. The Oatmeal is figuring out how to expand the Beat the Blerch race to other cities, and if he did one in California I would sign up no questions asked.

Until then, see you next time, Seattle!

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