When Oiselle announced that they’d partnered up with the Snohomish Running Company to host a race, I wanted to register immediately. Oiselle is my fave running apparel and girl-power brand, and the SRC, I learned, is an event production and promotion company with a goal to empower all runners and walkers of any ability to reach new goals and heights through a premium running experience before, during and after their events. Sounds like a good combo to host a racing event called The Tenacious Ten!
In January I joined the Oiselle Volée team, and I knew the inaugural Tenacious Ten would be a perfect opportunity to see what Oiselle is all about in real life, and in the city the company is based, Seattle! I knew I’d get the chance to meet some of the other Canadian runners, including our team leader, who I am in contact with on the team portal and get a feel for the Oiselle community for my first time at a race.
After travelling solo on my last big race trip and having an awesome time, I wasn’t worried about going to Seattle by myself if that’s the way it worked out, but my friend Whitney was stoked when I told her about it so we started planning our weekend! Airmiles tickets booked, accommodations arranged on AirBnB; we were set. Just had to wait three months for April to arrive haha. It did! Friday started early (like 4 am early) and our weekend was exciting, hilarious and interesting right from the beginning.
Arriving at the Terrace airport (more than an hour early), Air Canada told us we didn’t have seats on the flight we booked in January because we hadn’t checked in online. Since when is this a thing? What about people who aren’t internet savvy or don’t have computers or smart phones?? The flight was oversold (again, how the eff is this even a thing? Happens all the time with Air Canada..) and if we didn’t get on, we could go tomorrow (Saturday), they said. Uh, no. Anyways. After an hour of trying to stay calm and me checking my heart-rate on my Garmin (lol) while mildly freaking out, an agent let us know we were “in luck” and had seats. It seemed she felt they’d done us a huge favour! Sorry for the rant but I can’t even believe all of that. So thankful my Calgary Marathon trip is with West Jet!!! Poor form, Air Canada!
We made it to YVR and then SeaTac where we cabbed straight to the Watertown Hotel for bib pickup. It wasn’t busy and getting our race stuff was very simple. The Tenacious Ten trucker hats are legit, although I would have picked a different colour if given the choice, and we also got a bunch of temporary tattoos for race day. Whitney had bought a race shirt too when she registered and it’s really nice! There was a pop-up shop of Oiselle gear, but we were heading to the store so we continued on.
From the hotel we took another taxi to the Oiselle flagship store in University Village and got down to business, aka shopping.
We hit Lulu as well (more success), and then took Whitney’s first ever Uber ride to our AirBnB in Fremont! She looooved it and on the way we enjoyed howling with laughter at the shirtless frat boys playing beer pong on a patio. LOL. ‘Murica.
I’m not going to get into too many details about our accomodation, but it wasn’t exactly what was expected. Shirley the dog greeted us along side our host, and let’s just say the house smelled strongly of Shirley and looked like a chaotic vintage museum…BUT, it was a fifteen minute walk from Gasworks Park where the race started and finished, the neighborhood was awesome, and the place was fabulous in its own ways, as was our host, Lisa. 🙂 Oh, it was also steps from the Fremont Troll. Ahh. Next, pizza time at Tutta Bella and early bed time!
On Saturday we were up at six to get the day rolling. WOOOOO RACE MORNING SO EFFING FUN!!!!!!!! I was so pumped to rock the Volée singlet for this race! Breakfast was a mocha protein shake, banana, melon and bakery biscuit, and then we put on our bibs and fake tats and hit the road on foot to Gasworks Park. I brought a disposable bottle of Nuun with me for the walk.
What a sweet place for pre and post race! This park is beautiful! It has a great view of Lake Union and surrounds the remains of an old gas plant! The weather was cooperative too. This is NOT my pic, obviously, but here’s Gasworks.
I met the Canadian Volée members for a team pic and then Whitney and I went into the stage area to join in the warmup, lead by some guys from Kinetic Sports Rehab. The warm up was full, fun and people were into it, and then it was time to make our way to the starting area!
The start was self-seeding based on the min/mile pace a participant planned to run. I squeezed in a little ways behind the 8 min/mile sign and then chatted with Shannon from the Washington Volée and listened to the music blasting. No throwaway clothing was needed, not cold at all. It was a narrow mass start of all the 10k and 10mi runners (about 1200 people) which made the first 100m or so fairly congested, but after that it was smooth with lots of room. This course is not flat, but I would not call it “hilly” by any means and in my personal opinion as a Rupert Runner, there were zero significant hills. I can see how someone from a very flat area could find this course a bit hilly, so please keep in mind my opinion of the profile is subjective to where I live! In the last few hundred metres of the 10 mile route we had to run around a big grassy knoll, up and down some very short but steep hills (you can see it in the pic of the park) but I still didn’t find it “hilly”. It was great! My Garmin registered an elevation gain of 66m.
There were just a few water stations but that seemed adequate, a few small but inspiring cheer stations with lots of cowbell, and enough course directors and arrow markers (big bright stickers on the ground) to keep things organized. The route was really nice, and running over the bridges was soooo sweeeeet. The out and back portion of the 10mi course was on a bike path and I enjoyed seeing other runners both ahead of me and behind me, and hearing and giving encouragement.
Finishing in the park was so perfect! The short but steep hills around the grassy knoll seemed so cruel at the 10 mile mark of the race but I joked about it with the volunteers who were giving us our last directions. Whitney and my friend Justin were both at the finish when I crossed and we got a pic with the amazing COWBELL medals!!!!!
This was a race size that made it easy to find someone you were looking for and easy to get a Porta potty. It wasn’t overwhelming, but there were enough runners to create a really good vibe! The DJ was WICKED and I’m pretty sure he was playing Ma$e and Nelly just for Whitney and I while we hydrated, snacked on donuts and Picky Bars, Snapchatted like it was going out of style and stretched in the stage area.
We stuck around for about half of the awards announcements which were hosted by Oiselle founder and CEO, Sally Bergensen, and Oiselle’s “master of shenanigans” Dr. Sarah Lesko. It was nice that the announcements started promptly at 9:30; there wasn’t much waiting around at all. One thing that will stay with me forever, was when Sally said that “everyone is invited, but you are the ones who showed up“. It’s true. We showed up to race and be awesome and did just that. Official chip time results were accesible on multiple computers available to the runners which was so convenient, so we got our results and then took the walk back to our place to clean up and chill out.
I am happy with the race I ran! Although I didn’t do a very good job at pacing (went out too fast in the first kilometers, sagged in the middle, wasn’t able to shit-kick the end..) I am still content with my overall time and that I felt strong during almost all of the race. I din’t have any soreness or injuries, gut issues or any other unwanted suprises while running. Also, I experienced what I needed to to really understand the importance of holding back at the beginning! As for hydration, next time I’ll run with my handheld water bottle because I’ve decided I officially dislike drinking from the little cups and always spill all over myself and swallow air or choke!
What I gather from talking to other runners is that the results look a tiny bit fast..most people said their official time was close to a minute faster than Garmin time, which was true for me too… but we go with official results! Hahaha so here is how I fared and I am very good with it, and feeling stoked to make a precise pacing plan with Coach Andrew for Calgary in less than FIVE weeks!!!!!!
Whitney and I spent the rest of the weekend winning the tourist Olympics! We ate everything, went to Pike Place (and of course the first Starbucks), met Loounch the Bull Terrier, gave REI all of our money and then wrapped up our day with the most delicious Caribbean sandwiches at Paseo and then gelato at the Fainting Goat, all in Fremont. You need to go there! Also highly recommend Roxy’s Diner for brunch, which is where we ate on Sunday morning! Our final Uber ride back to SeaTac from Fremont was about thirty bucks.
The weekend in Seattle for the Tenacious Ten was SO good. Weather was awesome, Uber’ing around was simple, the race was a wicked experience and the “tourist Olympics” was a success! I would definitely recommend the Tenacious Ten to anyone in the area or anyone with a special place in their heart for Oiselle and/or Seattle. The race is quite small and many people only like to travel to massive events, but I will return to this race again if my schedule permits it!! Excellent vibes and lots of girl power, even though it’s a co-ed event!