On short notice, I ended up having to fly out to Seattle for work last Friday. I flew out from Chicago on Thursday evening, getting to Seattle a little after 8:00. After getting a car and then grabbing dinner and a beer (ok, two), it was past 11:00 by the time I checked into my hotel for the night…or what was really 1:00 am according to my internal clock. I was flying back home the next day, and would be stuck in a meeting during the day, so I knew my only chance to get my daily run in would be first thing in the morning. I had to leave the hotel by 7:30 am for my meeting, so I set my alarm for 6:30 just planning on getting a short streak keeper run in.
The only problem was the hotel was on a fairly busy road near the airport, with no sidewalk on either side. I figured I would have to just hunt for a nearby road that was more accessible for running…or end up running laps around the parking lot (which I’m not above doing! … that tactic worked out fairly well when I was stuck in a snowstorm in Detroit earlier this year).
But that’s when I looked out my window and saw something unusual at the back of the hotel parking lot. A wooden arched garden arbor with what looked like a paved path on the other side. I wasn’t sure where it lead to, but it looked very promising. I quickly pulled up a map on my phone and sure enough – right at the back of the parking lot sits the “Interurban Trail“, which runs 14 miles and connects a few neighboring towns. I could hardly believe my luck – and pushed up my alarm to 6:15 to give me a little more time to explore.
I hit the trail early the next morning on what was a beautiful sunny Seattle day. I was elated when looking over at the nearby road that I would have been forced to run on had this path not popped up out of nowhere. The path runs along a series of railroad tracks, which were pretty active as several freight trains rumbled through during my run. Trees and bushes separated the path from the tracks in most sections, and I figured I would turn back when I reached the 1.5 mile mark. As I approached my turnaround point, I noticed that a bit farther ahead there was somewhat of a clearing near where a set of tracks crossed over the path, which looked to be a good natural spot to turn around, so I continued on a little further.
And boy did that ever pay off! As I came into the clearing I glanced up and was greeted by a stunning view of Mount Rainier off in the distance. “The mountain was out” as they say in Seattle on days when clear skies allow for her to be seen. Had I turned around a tenth of a mile sooner, I would never had seen the snow capped mountain as it was hidden behind the brush the rest of the time.
I’ve always had a fascination with Rainier, and attempted to climb it a few years back. Unfortunately my summit dreams were crushed when my body couldn’t handle the altitude. As I found out later this was likely influenced by medication I was on at the time for ulcerative colitis – or as my doctor said when I told her after the fact, “you tried to climb what?!” This turned out to be just 7 months ahead of having surgery to remove my colon, so I wasn’t exactly in tip top shape. But someday I hope to give it another shot, and would like to think that this morning’s greeting was Rainier’s way of saying that she’s ready whenever I am. …or maybe that’s just the jet lag talking!
So all in all, a fantastic morning run to start the day and keep the run streak alive (day 157!). It’s always great when traveling to find an unexpected path like that, and really makes the run even more enjoyable. Thank you Interurban Trail!