2023 Running Trip – Day 4 – Seattle, Washington

Last night, we ventured over to the Ballard neighborhood to meetup with our colleague Mark and his wife Katie. I’m glad that we were able to see them and experience that awesome little community. Mark knows a good brewery when he sees/tastes one, and his recommendation to meet at Reuben’s Brews was solid. I struggled to write last night, so I had to play catch up this morning to keep the blog flow moving forward.

Day two in Seattle would be spent outside of the downtown area, exploring a number of neighborhoods. Generally, what that also means is more mileage, striding out to cover ground. That proved to be the case today. With it being Sean’s final day and last big run before his half marathon, we wanted to put some mileage in. 9.2 miles was the final total for today.

We were able to start the run from our Airbnb in Capitol Hill, and Tillie joined us for the first stretch. Stop number one was Volunteer Park, just north of where we are staying. This large park offers a nice retreat from the big city and great feel to start the day. I once again thanked the Abel family for their donation. I just remembered that Taylor is from Seattle!

Volunteer Park is home to a fairly large cemetery, and within it, lies two very famous men from the Lee family – Bruce and Brandon Lee. Bruce Lee is considered by critics, media, and other martial artists to be the most influential martial artist of all time and a pop culture icon of the 20th century, who bridged the gap between East and West. Brandon, Bruce’s son, followed in his footsteps and led an intriguing life himself. At the grave site, I thanked William Ramsey, a Phi Delt from Louisiana State. It’s been great to connect with William over the past few years through his volunteerism with the Fraternity!

From Volunteer Park, we ventured north towards the University of Washington. On the way, we ran through an impressive stretch of woods that provided a scenic reprieve from the city life. I used a Runner’s Choice stop to thank Jamie and Andrea Beard for their donation. Not only are the Beards friends, they’ve also used our Rover dog boarding services for their pup Ruby, an adorable Shiba Inu. We look forward to hosting her again this summer as she has become one of our kids’ favorite canine visitors. Soon after taking this picture, Sean and I had a brief run-in with a Coyote which provide a nice little adrenaline boost to power us through some stairs.

We then entered the University of Washington’s campus for a few donor stops. The UW campus is beautiful and a classic college campus, bustling with activity and students coming and going from classes. Our first stop was Husky Stadium, the home of the UW football team. Husky Stadium has long been recognized as one of the loudest stadiums in the nation. This is in part due to the stadium’s design; almost 70% of the seats are located between the end zones, covered by cantilevered metal roofs that trap the sound. It’s an impressive structure, and I thanked Bill Wittress again for his donation.

Running to the north side of campus, we entered a neighborhood filled with fraternity and sorority houses. So it only made sense to stop by the Phi Delt house. I really enjoy the young men from this chapter, and they’ve had some awesome recent success with the Iron Phi program. Being fairly early (especially for the life of a college student), we didn’t bother the guys inside the house, but instead, I used the opportunity to thank my colleague Andrew Cole with a runner’s choice. Andrew helps to lead our Foundation and is my go-to conference roommate.

We ran to one of the main entrance points on campus to take another picture and thank John & Susan Klein who have a grandson at UW. My mom and Susan are cousins and grew up together in Eldon, Iowa (home of the American Gothic) as their fathers ran the local grocery store. To this day, they are very close and run into each other periodically.

From campus, we continued north for a few miles to Green Lake Park, a sizable lake filled with runners/walkers, families, and canines galore. Rather than taking a picture and leaving, we decided to run around the lake. What’s another mile or two right? I once again thanked Mike & Deb Sedlacek for their donation.

From the lake, we ran south to the amazing Fremont neighborhood that sits on Lake Union and is home to many recognizable tech companies, house boats, and fun shops and restaurants. Fremont is also home to the famous Fremont Troll. Ya’ll know I love a quirky landmark, and this is one of my favorites in the United States. Every time I visit Seattle, I have to make a trip to see my buddy. How perfect is this thing, stationed underneath a bridge (as a troll should), welcoming visitors to the neighborhood? I thanked my old pal Mike (Scar) Scarlatelli. I’d rival Scar’s running trip landmark choices over the years to anybody’s, and I always look forward to thanking him. Scar is a long-time volunteer for the Fraternity, and he was my small group leader back when I was attending Phi Delt conferences as an undergraduate.

Sean and I commemorated our long-run and a successful few days together with a photo in front of the troll.

Just down the hill from the troll, we met up with our wives at Fremont Brewing, home of some of Seattle’s best brews. I thanked my Iowa State fraternity brother Drew Miller for his support! I ran into Drew last football season, and we were wearing the same hat. The guy has great style.

We followed our brewery stop with lunch at Pacific Inn in Fremont, famous for their fish and chips and casual atmosphere. I thanked the Abels once again and scarfed down a delicious meal.

I really enjoyed this skeptical fish inside. If you’re looking for great sea-creature designs, Seattle is definitely your place.

Outside of the restaurant, I thank my Aunt Lori and Uncle Randy again in front of the Brooks headquarters. Brooks has been my running shoe brand of choice over the year, so I felt at home. Great shoes!

And they have a pretty stellar slogan – Run Happy.

From Brooks, we walked over to Gas Works Park on Lake Union for an awesome view and one of the more unique parks you’ll find. It is a 19.1-acre public park on the site of the former Seattle Gas Light Company gasification plant. With the amazing weather we had today, the place was packed. I thanked Kevin Marks for his donation at Gas Works. Kevin has been a constant supporter of my trips, even meeting up with me a few years back to deliver his donation in person when my dad and I drove the Mississippi River. Thanks Kevin! You’re awesome.

We jumped back in the car and headed back to the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where we enjoyed some great ice cream and visited the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. If you love coffee, you can find these flagship roasteries in a number of major cities across the country. It’ll completely overwhelm your senses, but it’s a really neat place for coffee lovers. I thanked the Jensen family once again for their donation.

Capitol Hill has been a great base for our time in Seattle. The neighborhood is ultra-quirky and filled with a very diverse population and businesses. We loved exploring the shops, art, and restaurants in Capitol Hill. And of course, Tillie showed her awesomeness with this mural. She’s a burger girl.

Seattle has been wonderful, and I encourage everyone to visit. It’s an amazing U.S. city that will keep you intrigued throughout your visit. Time to hit the sack as Tillie and I branch off tomorrow for a few days in Vancouver, Canada, a city that has been at the top of our list for years. Can’t wait to explore it!

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