What does a “weekend running warrior” do on their weekends? They run! 😉
This past weekend I ran a race with a rather rare name, called the Tukwila to Alki Half Marathon. I googled the meaning of “Tukwila” and learned that it is the Chinook Jargon word for “nut” or “hazelnut”, referring to the hazelnut trees that once grew in the area. The earliest people in Tukwila were the Duwamish who hunted and fished, picked wild berries, and used the river for trade with neighbouring peoples.
So where exactly is Tukwila? It is in King County, Washington, and borders Seattle.
On the day of the race, it turned out to be a very pleasant morning. A little cloudy but no rain. A group of about 120 runners including myself gathered at a parking lot, and we were each assigned a race number. There were no bibs nor timing devices. The race entry fee was by donation only, which was suggested to be $10. I find that these low-key races are very runner-friendly.
At around 5 minutes to 9am, we were called to gather at the start line, which was across the parking lot. The fist portion of the race took us though the Green River Trail. And then there were a few crossings along the freeways, which made the course kind of treacherous especially because I was not familiar with the route. There were also parts of the route where I definitely could have gotten lost had I not sped up to the faster group of runners ahead of me.
At about mile 5, there was this slightly steep hill, followed by a quick downhill. There were a number of quick turns throughout the first 10K, but soon after the course followed a more clear and straight direction. After we exited the Green River Trail, the course took us along the Duwamish Bike Way for a couple of miles, and then as you can guess from the name of the course – we headed towards the Alki Trail.
Alki means “eventually” or “by and by” in Chinook Jargon. The Alki Trail leads to Alki Point, a very popular tourist attraction that offers many activities such as roller skating, tanning, beach volleyball, and so on, particularly in the summer months. This area was originally called “New York Alki”, because it was the state of origin of several of the settlers.
I saw cyclists, roller bladers, and young families strolling along the Alki Boardwalk, even though it was winter. As well, looking across the water, there was a beautiful, picturesque view of the downtown Seattle skyline.
And as the name “Alki” suggests – by and by – 10 miles turned into 11 which turned into 12, then finally the finish, where several familiar faces were there cheering me on. The last 2 miles were a little more challenging with the head winds going against me, but regardless the race was a good race.
For a small, low-key race, I was impressed with how organized it was. Instructions were provided beforehand, such as being told to bring our own water for the race (but what a pleasant surprise! Water stations were set up about halfway through the half marathon).
So, what will next weekend be like for me? To be honest, I do not have a clue. My decision will be based on what races I can find nearby.
I am thankful that my body allows me to continue on this marvellous running journey. And I am thankful for my family and friends who support me as well. Life is good. Running is good. Happy as ever being a “weekend running warrior”!
“Passion bridges the gap between needing to run and wanting to run. Go #FindYourStrong”! – Saucony