Saturday, January 24, 2009

Seattle Public Library Run

Extreme Library: Devon, Sam and Jonathan ready to head out
Thursday, January 22 I had the opportunity to join Sam Thompson in his second attempt at running to all 27 libraries in the Seattle Public Library system in order to promote the library and its new Library Passport program. The first time Sam tried, he got caught in the Seattle snow and the libraries closed early. I had read about his attempt and was keen to join him for a second try. My tireless training partner and friend, Jonathan was down to run as well which was exciting and Linda, my crew from Vermont, good friend and ultrarunning librarian herself joined us as our roving aid station throughout the day. Our goal was to get our passports stamped (each library has a unique stamp) at each of the 27 library branches, a nearly 70 mile journey. The library was stoked and behind us, the librarians excited to see us and we were pumped and ready to have a fun, chilly adventure.

We all met up at Sam's house well before 9am, our expected start time and got our aid station bags situated in Linda's car and got our packs ready. My hydration pack had sprung a leak, which thankfully, I discovered before we left. The library had agreed to let us in early to stamp us so we had a total of 11 hrs in order to go the distance. We set off into the cool morning at a good clip and headed towards Sam's local branch, Broadview. We started joking that we should also tally the number of times we did illegal things and jaywalked. In the end we would log more illegal maneuvers than miles.

All the necessary items: Moeben Sleeves, Atayne Shirt, Vespa, Nuun & my library cards

It was instant gratification getting to Broadview within 5 minutes and we spent about 5 minutes in the branch, chatting, stamping, etc. I got talking to some librarians I had known, since I worked (actually work, since I am still tech. employed by Seattle Public Library) and as we left, I said to the guys, "You guys are going to have to not let me get talking and telling my story at every branch (of my librarianship). Or we'll lose too much time."

Sam had expertly planned the route and carried turn by turn directions with him for the later branches which were less familiar to him/us. We hit Lake City Way and as we went around to the staff entrance I said, "It's like trick or treating" (as we were ringing the back bell). We got to Northgate just as it was about to open and both Linda and a photographer from the P.I. were there to meet and greet us.
Ultrarunning Librarian Power! Me and Linda at Fremont

We were all feeling good and clipping along at 7:30ish pace. Spirits were up and we made excellent progress. Zigzagging across the Northeast we hit Greenwood, Greenlake, Northeast, University, Wallingford and Fremont in rapid succession. Linda was there again to fill our bottles and fuel everyone up. Every library and their staff were excited to see us and enthusiastic. It was such a great experience. We headed out to Ballard, where I use to work and I got to see my old branch. At this point the branches were more spread out and we headed up to Magnolia, where I saw everyone I had worked with at Ballard (the Magnolia staff had all been working there). Linda had got us coffee and we took a few minutes rest. We were averaging 5-10 minutes per library. We wouldn't see Linda again until West Seattle, so we took our time before heading out to Queen Anne.

At Queen Anne, Thomas Tan another local ultramarathoner joined us and we headed down to the Central Library (after going past Columbia to say hi to Jonathan's coworkers). We had the warmest welcome at Central and I got to see more of the librarians and staff I worked with. By that point, the majority of the librarians were following us on Sam's Twitter and anticipating our arrival. After Central, the libraries would call ahead to the next branch to tell them we were coming. We spent a bit too much time at Central and it took us a while to get warmed up again. We hit International District and then prepared ourselves for the long haul out to West Seattle.

We made it through the 50k point in 4:17 running time, but had already lost a good bit of time with the stops. We truly were running against the clock with the closing time of 8pm.
Sam and Jonathan at the Admiral Way Lookout

Once we were in West Seattle, I got even more excited since it was my core and I anticipated seeing all of my former coworkers. The core did not disappoint. I saw all my other children's librarians and we were well taken care of in West Seattle.

My favorite children's librarian and mentor, Shannon & I at Delridge

By the time we reached SouthWest we had a good amount of miles down, but many more to go. I was feeling really good and enthusiastic, invigorated by being in my core. Our pace was still great but dark started setting in soon after we left SouthWest, shortly after 4pm. We donned our headlamps and settled in for the long dark miles to South Park and then around Boeing over to Rainier Valley. After hitting up all the libraries in the Rainier Valley, we made it to Beacon Hill and realized that we wouldn't be able to get to all of the last 4 libraries. We reassessed what we could do, as it was just after 7pm and decided to get the next two libraries and call it a night there. We picked up the pace again and got to Douglas-Truth and finished off at Madrona. We made it to 25 out of 27 with no time left to spare. We average under 8:30 pace for the whole day and achieved our goal of supporting the library and getting the word out about the passport program. All in all we logged just over 60 miles. And a big thanks to my sponsors! My Moeben sleeves not only kept my stylish, they kept me warm! My Atayne shirt was amazing (and didn't poison me: www.igottrashed.com) and apparently it is the record for longest run in an Atayne shirt. And of course for my hydration and nutrition, Nuun and Vespa. I even figured out my 73k "bonk" issue and enjoy never hitting the wall, this experience served me so well in prepping for my next 100k effort.A great day, a great run and a great cause! What a day!

What a nice welcome!

Double Fisting PB Pretzels at Rainier Beach

Jonathan getting his last stamp of the day at Madrona, 2 mins before closing
Sam getting stamp #25 at Madrona

Getting my last stamp of the day, 2 mins before closing
All smiles after 60+ miles, 25 libraries and 1 great day!


Article in the PI: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/397061_needle23.html
Sam's Blog: http://www.seesamrun.com/blog

3 comments:

  1. What an awesome day and a fantastic cause. More power to you, guys.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! What a day! Did I read somewhere that you've injured a foot? I hope your've recovered and are getting ready for your next big run.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Devon - congrats on the journey, what a great cause to support! I'm a partner with Jeremy at Atayne and love that you took our shirt along for the ride (er, run). Keep up the good work and thanks for all you do.

    Keep it clean,
    Mike

    **previous record holder for longest continuous run in an Atayne shirt (50M) before you stole my title...which I hope to regain at the Vermont 100M this summer :)

    ReplyDelete

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