Inaugural Beat The Blerch Race Recap

*Edited to add that there were FREE race pictures and I've added my faves at the bottom. Another Huge thumbs up for this race!*

This race was so much awesome.  How could a race with cake, Nutella, grape drink, couches and 'Blerches' in fat suits be a bust?  If that last sentence made absolutely no sense, I encourage runners and non-runners alike to read Matthew Inman's inspiring and hilarious comic on running

now a hilarious and inspiring book
Even prior to race day, the organizers (the same lovely folks that coordinate the Sonohomish River Run, Snohomish Women's Run, Snoqualmie Valley Half, Mustache Dache and probably others I'm forgetting) were on top of making as many runners as possible happy.  When the event sold out in minutes, another race was added on Saturday to accommodate over four thousand people that signed up for a waiting list, should anyone drop out of the original Sunday race.  Additionally, switching between the Saturday and Sunday, transferring race bibs or race distances (for a small fee) was allowed and easy to accomplish with few clicks on Race It's website.  I decided to switch down to the 10K from the half AND from Sunday to Saturday with absolutely no fuss.  Being able to transfer bibs for a fee is really so convenient and I hope more races do this in the future.  Especially for races that sell out, since it gives people who didn't get in an opportunity that might have otherwise gone to waste.  
perpetual line down the block for packet pickup
Packet pickup was a little crazy with some long lines at Road Runner Sports, but that's to be expected when so many people wanted to get Matthew's autograph and all the goodies for purchase, including advance copies of his new book The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances.  I decided not to wait for an autograph or pic because I've had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Oats in the past at a Greenlake Beat the Blerch 'training run.'
I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that we received half zip long sleeve shirts in our goody bag, along with a Blerch magnet and sticker.
Getting the shirt took awhile because they were not only separated by size/gender, but by race distance.  I'm thinking that in the future it'd probably be easier for everyone to get the same shirt with all the distances included.  Maybe if I was running the marathon, I'd think differently?

On race day, I drove over with Dawn who scored a parking pass for the lot right the start/finish area, Tolt MacDonald park.  However, it seemed that parking nearby was easy and plentiful for all, parking pass or no.  Speaking of parking, The Oatmeal had his Spaceboat of Light and Wonder right up front.

The full marathon started at 9AM, the half at 9:30AM and the 10K at 10AM which was just another reason I was glad to have switched down to the 10K.  We got settled in just in time to watch the half runners start and pretty soon we were off.

I started out in a bit of a crowd, so I did my usual zipping around (probably too fast) to find some space to settle in to a nice pace.  I wasn't trying too hard, but I wanted to make SOME sort of effort.  There's a bit of rocky gravel in the first half mile or so and I was trying to get through that as quickly as possible.  There were also a few runner 'carrots' I was chasing and trying to pass to keep me entertained on the way to the turnaround (all distances were an out and back along the gorgeous Snoqualmie Valley trail) which was apparently a slight uphill grade.  After sitting on the couch, taking a Blerch selfie and having some electrolytes disguised as grape drink, I felt revived and took off with wayyyy more pep in my step.  
huge couches! running blerches!
blerch selfie!
A great thing about an out and back with a slight uphill grade at the beginning?  There's a nice downhill boost for the second half of the race, when you really need it (kinda like the Seattle Hot Chocolate 15K but WAY less steep). Another great thing about and out and back is that you can sort of size up the competition.  I started checking out every woman that was coming my way and wondering if they were 40 or older, if you catch my drift.  Most people at this race were not putting forth much effort, and rightly so - it's probably best to do as a fun run.  But, I was feeling good and thought that it wouldn't hurt to kick it into high gear since there weren't any more couches calling my name.  And, yeah, biggest awesome surprise was that I won my age group and got a PR with 53:50.  I felt like the course was maybe a little short?  But I'm not 100% sure because, as usual, I failed to turn off my Garmin until well after I'd cooled down.  Either way, the age group placement is what it is and I'll take it!
age group medal!
individual race medals for each distance
I got my medal and water, thankfully there wasn't much of a line for cake and post race goodies after most the 10K runners finished.  If there was any problem at this race, I'm thinking the lines for food would probably be it.  There was quite a line by the time the half marathoners were finishing up.  
so. much. cake. The cake and Nutella sandwiches were available at the finish as well as at all the aid stations.
After I ate, stretched, and bought a copy of the book, I decided to go ahead and get in line to have him sign it, since there were less than 20 or so folks queued up.  Luckily I met a nice gal to chat with while waiting and pretty soon I was chatting with Matthew, who is ridiculously nice.  Running two half marathons in two days, plus doing the second one in a fat suit on a hot day while taking tons of selfies with fans is pretty awesome.  I'm sure signing books all the livelong day is a huge part of his job, but he certainly doesn't have to take the time to chat for five whole minutes with people and make them laugh or draw pictures of dogs upon request.
pic I showed him of Chewy and his rendering
The things we covered in less than five minutes included... a congrats on my AG win (he noticed my extra medal right away), I told him that we were those Oiselle girls screeching at him during Ragnar and congrats on conquering the horrific miles of runner 8.  He told me that he also took over the legs for some of his van mates in addition to his own.  Dude.  It was also his first Ragnar and he loved it, especially running at night and that awesome bit runner 8 gets to do on the boardwalk over Fidalgo Bay.  But, he didn't like being 'covered in Ragnar' and if you've run one, you know what he means.  I laughed and agreed, even the hand sanitizer compounds in grody layers.  I asked what the grape drink was on course and when he told me it was Clif, I suggested Nuun for the future.  Apparently, he does drink Nuun (awesome) and went to them first but the timing for budgets was off.  Hopefully next year!  He's training for an ultra and I told him that more Greenlake meetups would be fun, and he said that maybe people could join in as he did 20 or so laps around?  Hahaha.  All the while, he was drawing the lovely picture of my pug.
These signs were plentiful, and I took them to heart.
The Oatmeal is a true force for good in the world (Tesla Museum for the win!) and, of course, he is effing funny as hell (This comic on religion is a personal favorite, really they're all a favorite - just spend an afternoon on his website).  I'm so, so happy that he has made this race a reality and I can't wait to experience it next year.

Also, I just learned that on Sunday's race, a young man collapsed and died.  Such a terrible tragedy.  If you would like to donate to Evan Sebenius' memorial fund, please go here.


  1. Yay! Congratulations on the AG win and great day. Pretty cool that The Oatmeal hung out to talk with everyone.

    1. Thanks Alma! Hope to see you at a race sometime soon :) Snoho River Run perhaps?