Friday, January 23, 2009

Great Day at the Libraries

Yesterday was a lot of fun. No snow and fast running companions made for much quicker progress than the first time around. The libraries being open for normal hours (and even a few letting us in early) helped a lot too! It was a great day, and we were all really glad to be able to help promote the libraries and get folks excited about going to visit their local branch!

Devon Crosby-Helms, Jonathan Bernard, and Linda Barton met at my house yesterday morning for a quick pow-wow before we hit the road. Brock unfortunately had some things come up at work (Caffe Vita) that couldn't be avoided and couldn't join us for the day. Linda (fresh 0ff the really tough HURT 100k race in HI this past weekend) graciously joined us for the whole day keeping us fueled, hydrated, and full of caffeine. Devon, Jonathan, and I hit the road just after 9am and were able to get in at our first 2 library stops even though they weren't quite open yet. Devon pointed out that it felt like we were going trick or treating as we rang the bells at the back door and held out our passports hoping for stamps.

We continued to press on clicking off libraries and miles one by one. Devon (a SPL librarian herself) had to fight back the urge to catch up with many of the librarians we saw, but we all kept moving really well. All the librarians were very welcoming and excited to see us. The library in South Park even had a great little sign on the front door to welcome us in! While it was a cold day, as long as we kept moving it felt great and we were fortunate to have no rain (or snow).

At Queen Anne, we found friend Thomas waiting for us, and he joined us for a nice long stretch. Devon and Jonathan knew Thomas from the running community here in Seattle, but I had met Thomas several years ago when he lived in Indianapolis and joined me during the 50 marathons for my run there! Small world! We pushed on and met up with all the great library folks at the Central library, then International district and cut over to Alaskan Way to head over to West Seattle. Thomas cut off from us there to go back to work, and the 3 of us continued on. Devon lives in W Seattle, so was really helpful with getting us around there. Devon was also wearing a GPS and informed us that we had done the first 50k in about 4:18 (I think our next 50k was a bit slower...). Dark came around the SouthWest Branch, so our head lamps went on for the night push til 8pm. The slog around Boeing was arduous to say the least (we thought it seemed big when driving by on I-5), but we made it over to Rainier Beach and started moving back up north, feeling like we were on the home stretch.

We slowly came to the realization that we were probably not going to make it to all 27 libraries before our 8pm cut-off, but we decided to just keep pushing and stay on our intended course to get as many as we possibly could before 8. With a hard last push, we were able to squeeze in at the Madrona branch at 7:58pm, get our stamps, and be gone. Linda was there to meet us, and we snapped a few photos, ate a bit of food, put on some clothes, and headed back for the barn. 25 libraries visited for the day, and we only missed the Capitol Hill and Montlake branches. We'll all likely meet up in the next day or 2 to run to the last two and finish up our stamps.

On the way back, I called a few folks to update on our progress, and ironically noticed that I had gotten an email from the library- a due date reminder on a book! Fortunately, with just a few clicks, I renewed my book, and all was well. The Seattle PI wrote a good article on our day's endeavours here, although in an earlier version the author had a line I really liked. It said something like- "Sam's wife Kirsten, a dietitian at Children's Hospital- her extreme sport of choice? Extreme patience. "That's definitely the truth," said Sam." Indeed, that's definitely the truth.

Though we certainly did our fair share of j-walking, we got held up a fair amount waiting for traffic lights, a train for a few moments, etc. Also the stop and go in and out of the libraries proved challenging to a consistent pace, but all in all we kept moving really steadily throughout the day.

Well, I hope this story inspires you to go check out your local library and be reminded of what an incredible resource we have there! On that note, I'm going to curl up with my new book and get it finished before I get another due date notice!


Anonymous said...

Great job, Sam. I saw the article in the Seattle PI. You are very imaginative, in addition to being a talented runner.
--Bruce Hoff

Anonymous said...

That's great, but now I want to see a real challenge: running to all King County Libraries in a single day! (44 branches including Vashon Island and Skykomish!!)

Good luck