Thursday, July 5, 2018

Run Happy Ambassador Weekend in Seattle

Remember when I mentioned I'd be traveling to Seattle with the Brooks' Run Happy Ambassadors (RHA) and would be volunteering at the Special Olympics USA Games?! Well, the epic event went down last weekend so I wanted to recap it.



The hubby and pup dropped me off at the San Diego airport on Friday morning. My flight was scheduled to leave around 8am, but since the hubby needed to head back home to walk the dog and get a few things ready before heading into work we made our way to the airport a tad early. Ain't no thang, just meant I had an extra few minutes to start reading my book.

I'll be honest, although this is a YA book I felt a little scandalous
reading this one, especially in public, due to all of the sex in it. 

The flight was easy breezy, getting into Seattle a little after 11am. I met some of my fellow RHA at baggage claim and found our ride over to Brooks HQ (am I the only one who feels extra special when a driver is waiting for you?!). The game plan was to check out the trailhead store, catch up with friends we hadn't seen in a while and wait for the rest of the crew.

The first round of Run Happy Ambassadors have arrived!

The store is pretty amazing... I mean, I'm thinking I need a wall of rainbow shoelaces! 

To try to take our minds off of the fact that our tummies were rumbling, we took a quick walk to Gas Works Park to see the city and get our legs moving after our flights. The sky was overcast, but what do you expect in the Pacific Northwest ;)

The view from the park wasn't too shabby... 

Once everyone arrived at HQ we got down to business... and by business I mean eating ;) The Brooks team surprised us all with a ton of goodies that we were stoked to check out (after we ate, of course). They definitely spoiled us rotten!

Love the bag some of the goodies came in too!

After we ate it was time for a tour. We got to see the Makers Lab (where all the prototyping goes down), the machine shop (where they can create 3D models of shoes or cut them apart to see the inner workings), the biomechanics area (where they test shoes to see how they work IRL), etc. Let's just say there's A LOT that goes into making a pair of running shoes!

As soon as I saw this wall I knew the hubby would LOVE it!

Left: I'm sure there is a technical term, but I called it the shoe squish-er... where they test the foam ;) /
Right: Who wouldn't love working somewhere you can use power tools to cut apart shoes?!

Eventually we regrouped in our conference area to get a sneak peak of the upcoming lines - both footwear and apparel. Some of the products were hush-hush, but I'll let you in on a secret - YOU WILL LOVE EVERYTHING THAT'S COMING! 


By 5pm it was time to wrap up our time at Brooks HQ and make our way to the hotel (EVEN) - which was pretty spectacular if you ask me. We had a few minutes to check in to our rooms, relax and get ready before heading to dinner.

Drinks in the hotel bar with some of the ladies before heading to dinner

The crew!

Before we knew it we were hopping on our shuttle and hitting the hay because we had a full day planned for Saturday.


Technically we only had a 3-5 mile run on the schedule, so some of us chatted to see if anyone wanted to get in a few miles prior to the group run we were leaving for at 7:45am. A small group of us decided on an extra 3 miles, meeting in the lobby at 7am. Brian, Gina and I figured we'd get in even more miles and ended up meeting in the lobby at 6am. The three of us got in 5 miles and found the Fremont Troll (which was in 10 Things I Hate About You and Once Upon A Time).

SURPRISE! Look who we found!

When we met up with more folks we made our way around the other side of Lake Union for a few photo ops (because, let's be real, if there are no pictures, did it even happen?!) before heading back to the hotel for our "actual" morning run ;)

You better believe we #RunHappy! 

We took a shuttle to meet up with some of the Brooks Beasts so we could go for a run and strength training session. It was awesome to run with some of the Brooks athletes (even if their "slow" pace was still a tempo run for us). By the time we got back to the gym we had collected another 5 miles (so at that point I already had 13 miles tallied on my Garmin).

Apparently the Brooks Beasts were too fast because we didn't even catch them in our photos ;)

Once we got to the gym we broke into smaller groups and were teamed up with a Beast so we could learn a little more about what they do in the gym. We were all able to try out and ask questions about an abbreviated strength training workout. It reminded me I DEFINITELY need to reincorporate strength workouts back into my training.

At least I gave it a try, hehe.

By this time my stomach was grumbling (I had a PROBAR BASE bar when I woke up, but 13 miles plus some gym time was leaving me a bit famished), so I was STOKED to jump back on the shuttle and head to Cactus for a yummy brunch. Two words - CHURRO WAFFLES! The cactus fruit margaritas weren't too shabby either ;) #WhenInRome #OrSeattle

This is a stock photo, hence the bacon... I inhaled mine before I could snap a pic.

After filling our bellies we had some free-time before we needed to meet up with everyone for a dinner cruise. A few of us decided to do some of the touristy things - like seeing Pike Place Market, visiting the Gum Wall, hitting up a Starbucks Reserve, meandering in the rain, etc. The only thing we missed was seeing the Space Needle up-close and personal.

Wouldn't be Seattle without a little drizzle, right?!

Eventually it was time to get all dolled up and ready to cruise around Lake Union. The boat cruise was scheduled for 2.5 hours and included dinner. Fun times were had by all. We were even able to check out the homes of the TWO RICHEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD (who happen to live within about a mile of each other) - Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.

We chuckled and said our hashtag should have been #BabesAndBrian ;) #OnlyOneMaleAmbassador

I guess I can never fully get away from my running gear... (Garmin watch, Brooks Heritage shoes, etc)

The skyline was pretty fantastic! 

A few of us went to a nearby tavern to hang out, but Gina and I cut out early so we could walk to Whole Foods for snacks.


We had to check out of our rooms by 7:15am, but seeing as I am normally awake by 5am that felt like sleeping in to me ;) The game plan was to meet everyone in the lobby, get our luggage stored and then head over to the University of Washington's campus where the Special Olympics USA Games were being held. We were signed up as part of the cheer squad along the route the 4,000 plus athletes would take on their way into the stadium for the opening ceremonies.

Getting ready to jump on our shuttle and head to the games

Originally we were told we needed to be there early so we could sign some waivers from ESPN (they were televising the games and would need us to okay the use of any video if we were potentially filmed) and claim our spot. Well, let's just say we were there for what felt like 2 hours early with not much to do other than try to stay dry and warm.



You can always find my shoes ;) #ShwingsMakeYouFly

The soggy weather made us pretty chilly pretty quickly.

Eventually the athletes started making their way to us and we were PUMPED! Apparently there were two different ways the teams could get to the stadium, so I would say we probably only got to cheer on about half the athletes, but it was still pretty amazing! I'll be honest, my arm got a little tired from all the high-fives, but you couldn't wipe the smile off of my face!

I was too busy giving out high-fives and cheering for all the amazing athletes that I didn't take any
pictures during the cheer line... But Brian snapped this picture of my arm, hehe.

After the competitors had all gone by we had about 45 minutes before we needed to grab the shuttle. It was cool to be able to walk around the "expo" area and see the excitement surrounding the games. If we had more time I wish we could have had the chance to do more (whether that be volunteer in other aspects or even watch some of the events).

Hopefully you can read some of the responses that folks wrote on the board.

Brooks had a big booth outside of the games

And just like that it was time to jump in the shuttle to go grab our luggage and head to the airport. It was definitely a whirl-wind of a trip (only about 48 hours total in Seattle), but an awesome time! It was great getting a chance to hang out with friends (and make new ones), meet the Brooks team and be able to give back to the running community.

"San Diego, which of course in German means a whale's vagina"

A HUGE THANKS to Brooks for putting on this wonderful weekend and for inviting me along (in the past I've had conflicts with the events, so I'm stoked this one worked)! It's an honor to be a RHA and you better believe I'll always #RunHappy!

How do you #RunHappy?

1 comment:

Jesica @rUnladylike said...

It was wonderful to finally meet you in person. I love your unique style and kind spirit and genuine authenticity to make the world better. Looking forward to hopefully seeing you soon. xo