Sea-Tac 50 Miler
Fucking social media. The Sea-Tac 50 Miler is 100% the result of people — Brogan Graham — doing cool shit, producing it on the internets, and my inquisitive reaction being…”huh?”
How this gets past that is for others to sort through once this bridge burns bright. I won’t even attempt to rationalize it. But here we are, strolling through YEG on my way to a 13’ish hour layover, overnight, at Seattle – Tacoma, Sea-Tac — SEA. The plan is a standard airport to airport loop, and run around the circumference of Seattle. Roughly 50 miles by my calculations. Sure, I make a route in Strava Route Builder. But y’all know me. I maybe forget to follow the map or just sort of wing it.
Run a lot heading north, turn right at the Space Needle, turn right again when you hit water, and then look for where the planes are landing some 45 miles later.
Perfect. I’ve got 14 packs of Maurten 320, two Salomon flasks and a bottle to shake that shit up in. Water will be procured along the route from the easiest feasible source at time of need. Bars and stuff will be open all night on my route? Right?? Did anyone check that?
Narrator: They aren’t.
Assumes the 39 year old who has only been up past 2:00 AM in the last decade because I fall asleep at 6 PM, and well, it’s time for coffee by 3:00 AM.
Oh yeah, I’ve really thought this through. Ready or not, here I come Seattle.
Early on the KMs are clipping off with ease. 5:00 ~ 5:20/km for the first 35’ish KMs. That is about 8:00 ~ 8:30 miles for my American friends. I basically stick to a 10 KM per hour plan. If I run the 10KMs in 52:00, I get an 8:00 break.
It works well timing water stops, nutrition mixing, photos, what have you. Like any given Sunday church of the long run, I am just chopping wood. I have a phone device with a camera and SIM card, so IG stories are going up live, I’m taking photos and posting.
As little as I do post to the interwidewebnets, or use a device, I find myself quite proficient at doing so while on the run. I covered Lululemon Seawheeze a couple years ago doing live Insta story interviews of Edmonton runners. I think we banged out 5 or 6 during the race.
Needless to say, I’m having a nice little time with the now sleeping city.
A water stop in a hotel lobby, a bar, a tap on the outside of a home on Lake Washington Blvd at…who knows what time. It is shortly after this water stop that I find myself lying on the ground. My best guess is Madrona Park, I am looking up at the sky in the silent night, not knowing how I came to be lying on my back.
The memory is foggy, like anything outside of the sharp street lights pouring fake blue sunlight over the awkward scene, but I believe I set a timer for seven minutes, and promptly fall asleep.
Seven minutes later, continuing on my way like what just happened has been practiced dozens of times.
Just part of the script.
Narrator: It is in fact not part of the script.
It’s clear I am now in an autonomous mode. Photos stop. Instagram stories are a thing of the past. Pace is about 6:00/km or 9:40/mile. I am grinding the last 10 KMs out. Whether I know it or not, I am clearly going to make this happen.
Like nearly every other run, as soon as the fatigued mind actually realizes the end is inevitable, it loosens the reins on the physical systems, and I return to a sustainable state rather quickly. This is my gift to silly endurance runs like this. My ability to recover.
In three days, I bike 80 KMs documenting some friends running California International Marathon after slinking through security and plopping onto my connecting flight into Sacramento. I make it sound like I am spent, I’m not. Tired, sure, hungry…absolutely. But wrecked?
Far from it.
My first Layover.Run in the books, and I manage to knock out an ultra. No, it certainly is not 50 miles. Most likely around 74 KMs after retracing my steps.
The photos and this recap don’t do the story justice, I honestly don’t remember most of it. The early Instagram stories really capture the pure joy of my evening. I constantly remembering thinking of how fortunate I am to be out in the middle of the night, running carelessly through an unfamiliar city. The privilege one possesses to do such a thing, let alone audacity to barely plan it and assume “it will all be fine.”
My privilege is never overlooked.