The annual Seattle Summer Celebration known as Seafair, what with the boat races, partying, and general bedlam, is tomorrow, and you should get ready.
What? Oh, it’s not tomorrow. Oops! Sorry about that. Apparently, it’s still 12-weeks away. The main weekend event with the boat races is 12-weeks away (August 5th). If you consider that Seafair also bought the rights to the Seattle version of the Fourth of July, renaming it “Seafair Summer Fourth,” it’s more like 7 weeks away.
We didn’t realize federal holidays were available for retail purchase.
The point is Seafair was canceled last year, and since we haven’t left the house before, during, or after that time, we jumped the gun a bit with this announcement in anticipation of wanting something to talk about. In fact, we’re antsy to do anything besides look at our front yard, within which the little neighborhood 11-year-olds established a fiefdom, completely independent of our influence, essentially sovereign, as communicated by the nerf darts they rain down on us as we try to make a run to the store.
Oh boy, there’ a lot to it. Seafair, that is. A Torchlight Run. Milk Carton Derby. Torchlight Parade. A Bunch of Other Stuff. Then the Arch d’ Triumph – the hydroplane* races coupled with an air show courtesy of the Blue Angels.
*Hydroplanes are really fast boats propelled by airplane jet engines. No joke.
Oh! We just received a letter via speedy courier. It turns out we have to be official about this story, and officially speaking, Seafair events are spoken or written of in the following manner:
• Seafair Summer Fourth – Presented By Homestreet Bank
• Torchlight Run – Presented by Capital One Café
• Seafair Milk Carton Derby (surprisingly lacking loud sponsorship)
• Alaska Airlines Torchlight Parade
• Seafair Weekend Festival featuring the Boeing Seafair Air Show and Homestreet Bank Cup (with the hydroplanes/jet boats…formerly known as the Seafair Cup)
Sheesh. Come on, you guys, this is just too difficult. If you want people to include your various sponsorship entities within the speaking titles of your event, you need to come up with better names. Something within the vernacular or something. We know it’s hard, but you seem like bright people, so surely you can come up with something.
Of these events, we’ve witnessed only two:
- The Torchlight Parade, which we were forced to endure thanks to employment at a coffee shop located along the parade route. It was crazy. People started setting up their chairs at like 10 a.m. We assume they didn’t have jobs. Although they definitely came in to buy stuff. Or use the bathroom. Technically our shift wrapped up well before it actually got dark – a key ingredient in making a good Torchlight Parade – so while we haven’t actually seen the procession in action, we feel like we still experienced its spirit, as well as a lot of tank tops, several of which seamlessly incorporated an image of the American flag. Plus, whatever you’re thinking in your head right now is pretty much what the parade probably looks like, and if you take that and add the sweet, greasy aroma of funnel cakes, boom, it’s like you’re magically there.
Okay fine, maybe that doesn’t count. Scratch it off the list.
- Nothing else. Oops. How un-community and by proxy un-corporately supportive of us. This list is a disaster.
You are likely shocked and wondering how we have lived in the general Puget Sound area for 87 years and not participated in the Seafair Weekend Festival, which involves making a trip to Lake Washington with a boat to tie off on a gigantic log boom which consists of murdered trees and spending all weekend (we think you have to set up on Thursday to get a good spot, so really it’s like four days, and we also assume these participants don’t have jobs) watching professional lunatics fly their buoyant jet planes across the water, occasionally (and much to the delight of the unemployed crowd) actually disconnecting from the water and flying up and off through the air in summersaults, while the United States Navy Marketing Machine routinely violates the City of Seattle’s Noise Ordinance as established and enforced by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) with a squadron of F/A-18 fighter/bombers.
It’s because we don’t like being touched.
A peer of ours who regularly ties off at the log boom every Thursday before the event only to wake up the following Monday afternoon adrift in a sea of empty raspberry White Claw cans and the occasional body can’t get enough of this thing and describes (to his delight and our horror) how great it is as “… you spend the day drinking and people just crawl across all the boats tied-off to each other all day, and they just end up in your boat, and it’s one big party.”
No thanks. The last thing we want is for some pot-bellied, red-tanned attorney in an American flag (there it is again) pair of (hopefully knee-length) swim trunks slapping us on the back with his sweaty hand as his big-boobed, bikini-topped, and torn-jean short wearing wife shoves past us asking if we have any vodka and some sunscreen while slurring how she “needs to find a spot to pee.”
Nope. No, thank you. You’re violating our personal space for real. No touching and transference of your ample body sweat, please and thank you.
But there is a super-secret part of Seattle’s annual Seafair tradition worth devoting your time, personal space, and body sweat to. The Seafair Triathlon (currently available for overt corporate sponsorship – a good fit for a “Brought to you by McDonald’s: Try Our Spicy Chicken Nuggets with Mighty Hot Sauce” tagline … or maybe just “McDonald’s: Eat Our McPlant,” which turns out to be an actual menu item).
We love triathletes because, while insane like most fitness-enthusiasts, triathlon-ing by its very nature doesn’t involve lots of personal contact or unnecessary conversation. In fact, it’s a fairly isolating sport, as participants need to train:
- In the pool, which is virtually impossible to sweat or conversate in, and now that we think about it, we humans do likely sweat in the water. At least what sweat comes out is annihilated by copious amounts of chlorine.
- In the open water – you can’t just train in the pool because then you’ll be woefully unprepared for open water swimming, which features waves hitting your face while you’re trying to breathe and vast populations of frightening little sea creatures, as evidenced by that time we saw a muskrat or some other evil being in the shallows of the lake we were training in and absolutely freaked out.
- On a bicycle, which requires complete immersion as otherwise it’s easy to get hit by a truck.
- On your feet, as in running, which leads to breathlessness (no conversation!) and results in such sheer misery that, even if in a running group, all you can really do is grimace at each other.
The best part about the Seafair Triathlon is its overall ease of use, relatively speaking. Meaning, you get to pick from the least intimidating kinds of triathlon races: Super Sprint, Sprint, Duathlon, Relay, or (if you’re a kid) the Kids Triathlon. It turns out the latter requires you actually to be under 14 or something to participate. We tried, but as we towered above the other racers, we were yanked out of the start and reprimanded.
The key here is having the Super Sprint and Sprint options to choose from. We don’t know anything about Duathlons or Relays, but since they imply other people are involved, a.k.a. teammates one would have to speak and possibly hang out with, we caution against them. Basically, this means you get to pick from the following:
- Super Sprint: Swim .3 miles, bike 6.2 miles, run 1.6 miles (One after the other. They discourage breaks, as we discovered). Training required: 3-4 hours per week.
- Sprint: Swim .46 miles, bike 12.4 miles, run 3.1 miles. Training required: 3-5 hours per week. We don’t know what the extra hour is for. Perhaps reflecting on your life’s regrets.
This is all way better than the other generally accepted triathlon distance options, which include the following swim/bike/run mileage ratios: Olympic (1/25/62), Half (1.2/56/13), and Full (2.4/112/26.2 + an approximately 12-to-15 mile transport to the emergency room).
Additionally, if you choose to do a triathlon, you pretty much have to train if you want to actually finish, and being gone for at least 60 consecutive minutes, five days a week, really puts you in a great position not to be bothered by other people. If you choose to participate in some nerd triathlon training group, the bet’s off, though, so you only have yourself to blame when that dude starts talking about how his V.P. of Sales is an idiot, and if only he could get the right pricing, he’d be able to really kill it, etc., etc. Or God forbid some other work story that reflects how we all have problems with our professional peers. And don’t even get us started on stories revolving around having trouble with millennials, gen z, and all the other stuff that never changes but, in fact, is just a symptom of getting old.
Additionally, you get to buy or steal a bike, a nose plug if you’re like us and just so sensitive that chlorine really bugs you, and a new pair of running shoes that can easily double as you’re Going Out to Dinner shoes despite what your partner says.
Finally, you’ll get super fit. It’s inevitable. Unless you just offset all the calories burned by eating Spicy Chicken Nuggets with Mighty Hot Sauce every day. But who does that?
And there is that sense of accomplishment – not so much from the race, but the training. When you practice an intense swim, then instantly hop on a bike and crank away, then drop that bike and run for a few miles, you start to feel like you can do anything.
Or so we hear.
This year’s Seafair Triathlon is July 25th. See you there. Watch out for the muskrats.