Seattle running (and Seattle falling)
Before sunrise on Tuesday, I jumped on a bus heading north with nothing but my running backpack and a change of clothes.
The trip: Two days in Seattle.
The goal: Run as much as possible.
I’d visited the Emerald City many times before but had pitifully limited exposure to the running hot spots there (other than one rainy jaunt around Lake Union in March). So, Tuesday, I set my sites on Green Lake, a lush watering hole that seems to dominate the Instagram feeds of many Seattle runners I follow. After a few quick stops on the tourist circuit (Smith Tower, Pike Place, Elliott Bay Trail) and a Malaysian lunch in the Wallingford neighborhood (Sayay, yum), I strapped on my Garmin and criss-crossed city streets toward the Lake. The air was fresh, the neighborhood was charming, and I was coasting.
Until I wasn’t. No, I was not coasting. I was lurching. I was flailing. For a moment, I was flying. I was landing. I was skidding. And I was quickly coming to the horrifying realization that a whole line of traffic was watching my clumsy rendezvous with the pavement. Yep, a half-mile into my Seattle runcation, I was on the sidewalk with a scraped leg and achy ankle.
But caution be damned, I hopped up and pushed on. I was all the way up here to run around Green Lake, so I was going to run around Green Lake. And I did, and it was lovely.
A combo asphalt-crushed gravel path circles the lake for about three miles and includes views of Mount Rainier and the downtown Seattle skyline in the distance. My legs were stinging from the fall, and the temperature had climbed to about a thousand degrees, but the route was delightful nonetheless. I can see why Seattleites flock here.
For the rest of the day, I opted to hike and walk instead of run. At the time, this seemed like the safer choice for my ankle, but I’m not so sure it was actually any gentler than running. In any case, I stopped in Fremont to medicate with coffee and check out the South Ship Canal Trail and then popped over to Discovery Park in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood.
If I could do Tuesday again, I would have spent the whole day there. Discovery Park is a runner’s playground. The park includes miles of paved paths, forested dirt trails, and winding singletrack through meadows of waist-high brush and wildflowers.
And the views! If you’re a regular reader, you know I’m a sucker for viewpoints. And Discovery Park delivers, with sweeping views of Puget Sound and Mount Rainier from the ample cliffside benches and picnic tables scattered throughout the park. Earlier in the day, I had stopped in at Seven Hills Running Shop, where a store associate told me how much he preferred running in Discovery Park over Green Lake. After checking out the park for myself, I’m with him. Green Lake was lovely, but could easily be in any city. Discovery Park was truly special, and I can’t wait to go back and log some miles there.