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Before we can get to the actual Running of the Nuunies, we must get to the getting there–that is half the fun, right? My parents in Illinois were to act as child care while I was in the PNW, so the kids and I went to the Midwest a week beforehand to make a vacay of it. On Wednesday before the race, my ever-loving father took me to O’Hare to catch my flight to Seattle.

I had packed…and repacked… and re-repacked, and even re-re-re-packed before I left. I wanted to carry on my bags, and they were stuffed, but I got everything on. Then the flight was delayed, but the folks next to me were already conked out. These people took their sleep VERY seriously. I finally nudged them and went to the bathroom to… stretch? Sure, why not. You can get a really good glute stretch going on in the plane. Just FYI.

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Ready to fly: Team Watermelon nails, coffee, wings. Let’s do this.

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See? Glute stretch in the bathroom.

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I don’t think we’re in Georgia anymore, Toto.

Flight was uneventful, except for… MOUNTAINS!!! I haven’t been to the Northwest ever, so it was incredible to see the mountains from the air. Almost worth having to poke The Sleepers every time I needed to stretch my glutes go to the bathroom.

Upon arrival, Sarah, Meghan, Mallory, Kristen, Karen had all arrived and were nestled near baggage claim, and the awesome Megan was arriving in the Big White Van to take us to Nuun HQ. We got in and were whisked to the Mother Ship, where we met Jolene, Catey and Leslie. Megan told us we had 3 hours to explore Seattle and I immediately rattled off my list of Things I Had to Do. Luckily no one ran screaming from the Highstrung Type A girl, and we headed to Pike Place. Once there, Jolene and I split off from the group to head toward Seattle Center. First we had to stop at the original Starbucks.

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Oh wait, that’s not the first Starbucks you say? That’s the Starbucks at First and Pike, you say? Yeah, yeah, yeah, we figured that out later. I’m sure they had a full-on “Code Tourist” snicker about it. Sigh. Visiting Seattle Tip #1: If you ever want to go, I recommend you Google “Original Starbucks Seattle” NOT “First Starbucks Seattle.” Ahem. That problem will be resolved later in our story.

Here’s Westlake Center, where my fictional boyfriend Lloyd Dobler had his ‘controversial first date’ with Diane Court (at least, this was the mall pictured in the movie when Lloyd drove by in the rain).IMG_4358 It’s also where we caught the monorail to Seattle Center, home of the Space Needle, the Experience Music Project (EMP), and the Chihuly Garden. Jolene was on a mission to see Buffy’s Mr. Pointy Stake, and I can’t resist a Nirvana exhibit, so EMP won our time first. We made a beeline for Mr. Pointy, then broke the Scream Booth (sorry EMP), then weaved through the Nirvana exhibit. In and out in far too little time; if you are a pop culture fan, it’s definitely worth a lot more than what we gave it.IMG_4361IMG_4363We souvenir shopped at the Space Needle but were running short on time so decided to see the Chihuly Garden instead. I’ve been a fan since he did an installation at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens years ago, and I’ve seen another piece of his in Milwaukee, but this place has just so many pieces of his incredible glass. It was amazing. I find his work to be both breathtaking and accessible, and am awed by the skill it takes to produce it. So pretty.IMG_4364IMG_4366

Jolene and I were having a ball, but running late-ish so we cabbed it back to Nuun and then got to partake in an apparent HQ ritual: A bell is run and it is declared Plank Time! Forearm plank, side plank, other side plank, big plank. Boom and done. If I could just point out that they do this several times a day, and that they don’t make it a competition. It’s just Team Building through Fitness. I really, really, like this company, y’all.

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Plank it out.

We were quickly spirited away to The Garage, for some Bowling and food. I was getting pretty tired at this point, and meeting lots and lots of people. I settled in to prove that I am the Master of Being Last at Bowling, and bowled an impressively low 38. No, you may not have my autograph.

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Bowling. Talking.

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More bowling. More talking. Probably some social media stuff happening there, too.

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The next morning I was up for coffee and stretching before we invaded Oiselle headquarters. I was beyond stoked to go to The Nest and see where they all their birdie magic happens. But there was to be a run, and this little bird had butterflies in her tummy. I had said several times I wouldn’t take part in the Green Lake run, but c’mon, it’s GREEN LAKE. They name hoodies after this place! So off we went. My hurts started hurting immediately and I was slow and achy. Seriously, running like an un-spry 80 year old. I want to give slurpy kisses to Zoe, who was in the unenviable position of keeping this from being a no-drop run. Thanks for not dropping me, Zoe. Your gentleness kept me from despair!

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Atlantans ready to go to Oiselle. @runladylike and me, smiley.

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Sally. Passionate about women in running.

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My happy place!

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Hands up, wings out?!?

We re-caffeinated with Starbucks and then went back to Oiselle to hear from Sally, the founder of Oiselle, who seems pretty intent on changing the game in women’s running. She’s brilliant. I also got to meet the object of my biggest blog crush, Sarah “Mac” Robinson, who is unlike me in that she is very, very, very fast, but like me in that she writes candidly about injury–a runner after my own heart. Also got to chat some with Dr. Lesko and Kristen Metcalf, so this little runner was a happy girl.

After we basked in the running-fashion goodness, we were on our own for lunch. I’ll let Jolene tell you about what happened there, but it was sobering, and I’m so glad that she was there.

After that: time to Ride the Ducks. This was just… fun. A tour of Seattle and Lake Union aboard an amphibious WWII era vehicle. With a witty driver and tons to see. FUN. As our guide had us say at each and every Starbucks we passed… “Uff da!”

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You have to do this when you ride the ducks. It’s like, a law.

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Fishermen on a roof.

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Pioneer Square.

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Need a kilt? I’ve got a lead on some good ones…

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Elephant=Car Wash

 

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…and we’re in the water…

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Little brown house: the one from Sleepless in Seattle

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The other part of #nuunhtc trying to out-dance us. As if.

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Holly goofin’ with the Cap’n

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The good stuff: Gifties!

Post-duck, we went to Nuun HQ and ate dinner and were presented with a massive amount of fun swag to wear, try, and love. It was like a visit from Nuunta Claus. Nuun bottles, hats, visors. Shirts and jackets from Oiselle. Sunscreen from Naawk, socks from Swiftwick, skirts from Sparkle Athletic, and a Tiger Tail. President and CEO Mason innovative approach to marketing and their commitment to bring athletes together. Yay Nuun! *cheerleader jump*

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The Even Better Stuff: Mason Reay addresses the happy runners.

Outside, six shiny white vans awaited us. We markered those suckers up into lean, mean, Team Watermelon, Lemonade, and Cherry Limeade machines. Uff da!

All that fun-having wore me out, so it was off to bed pretty early.

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@endurotwerd AKA Meghan M. made all the teams flavor-specific cupcakes and dropped them off for us. Thanks Meghan!

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Meghan shows off her seed-drawing skillz.

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Team Watermelon, Van 2: Meghan B., Nuun CFO/Driver Extraordinaire Casey, Devon, Megan H., Moi, Lisa M., Laura T. Van Decorated, Legs Ready!

The next morning, I got up to tell the other Watermelons goodbye. Only Van 1s go to the top of Mount Hood, which grieves me greatly. I get it, that would be literally twice the amount of traffic up the mountain, but this little Runner #11 surely did miss the team time at the start line. But, I waved goodbye as they loaded up and started on their adventure.

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Bye… Sniff….

Then I had three hours to kill, so I got a shuttle from the hotel and went back to Pike Place to make things right with the original Starbucks. This time, success! Coffee there, then I explored the market as it woke up to a beautiful summer morning. After gawking at the flowers and fish, I got an espresso and a fancy-pants croissant from a French bakery across the street.

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Ah. Yes. That’s more like it. The other one did seem anti-climatic.

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Uff da!

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So unassuming…

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Feeeeeesh.

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Les fleurs.

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More les fleurs.

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Les carbs.

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Jitters, coming right up.

I was nearly done with the caffeine-shakes by the time the shuttle dropped me back to the hotel. I rushed around and got myself ready just in time to get in the van and hit the road.

Next stop: Beautiful Sandy, Oregon!