Field Report 20150501RC
Topic: A City Prepares for Bloomsday
Conditions: Eye-of-the-Tiger Inspiring
Driving around town they hang on the fronts of houses, colorful and flapping, like Tibetan prayer flags. Nope: there hasn't been a Buddhist revival in Spokane. Yep: it's the Friday before Bloomsday, and as I drive just a few blocks, I see two houses proudly displaying t-shirts from the first 37 years of the road race. In a running town like Spokane, the Lilac Bloomsday Run is a big deal.
Each year, about 50,000 of us take part in this spring ritual: a 7.46-mile jaunt around Spokane, one of the largest timed races in the nation. There are folks like Allan Kiprono, an elite Kenyan runner looking to claim his third Bloomsday victory and a share of nearly $100,000 in prize money. Then there are people like me: locals who use the race as a motivator to maintain a decent fitness level over the winter. Both Allan and I will make our way from Riverside Ave around to Doomsday Hill and on to victory on the Monroe Street Bridge. Some victories look different than others: a friend of mine used to jog it every year dressed in a foam hot dog costume.
Pre-race rituals over the course of the weekend are crucial. Make your way downtown to the Spokane Convention Center to pick up your race number and swag bag (Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m). I like to ride my bike down to avoid parking ridiculousness, and use it as an excuse to knock around my favorite downtown spots. The proximity to an independent bookstore like Auntie's usually has me taking home something to work my literary muscles, in addition to my runner packet.
If you want to get real weird, walk among the blooming lilacs in Manito Park sometime this weekend, for good smells and good luck.
Caffeine an hour pre-race. I do it every year, and it is an incomparable feeling to mix a shot of adrenaline with a shot of "Mile Seven" from Indaba: it's from Ethiopia (like a few past Bloomsday winners), and it's named for the coffee bar's location on Broadway near the end of the course. If you're casual about your finishing time, you can just stop in to enjoy one during your race.
As I hung out around Spokane and Coeur d'Alene this summer, I started asking more questions of the places I frequent. Questions like: What causes are you passionate about? How does your business try to make a difference? Scroll through some of the answers I received...
As the kids happily drop their hard-earned quarters in the Ms. Pac-man machine, we realize we haven't complained about the heat all day... the sign of a well-played summer day.
COMMENTS: It's an uncommon night at O'Doherty's when the Lord Mayor of Limerick, Ireland stops by... sister-city love on Spokane Falls Blvd.
COMMENTS: ...Since then, Gordy's has become a go-to date night when they can find a sitter for their two little boys. Bigger than that, it's just a small part of their ongoing story. That's the simple power of a secret spot.
Carman stops to talk with me for a few moments. On Friday night, he hopes to fill the place, and begin to fulfill the mission of CHARTS (Child Humanitarian Arts): connecting local artists and art enthusiasts for the sake of children in the community.
It’s my husband’s birthday and we’re determined to squeeze in a walk before the sun abandons us at 3:58. The trail has been surprisingly well-loved despite the...
When you're at a Christmas party and someone suggests hitting the mountain the next morning at 5:30am, make your decision wisely...
They start to arrive in November when the cold turns dry and sharp. The return of the bald eagles to Lake Coeur d’Alene is a much-anticipated part of winter’s arrival...
It’s a Thursday evening on the cusp of the holiday season, and we’re at the Kitchen Engine. Co-owner Nicole Frickle is teaching...
COMMENTS: At F&C, we've noticed that our mission is somewhat encapsulated by a couple of viral hashtags that will once again make their rounds this weekend.
On a late-winter afternoon in Spokane’s South Perry District, I pull a stool up to the bar with Deb Green, restaurateur. I take in a few breaths, welcoming the tinge of warm smoke that perpetually flavors the air, a subtle touch from the kitchen’s specialized charcoal oven.
Thinking of a plastic costume from one of those weird pop-up Halloween stores? Do better. And support a local community theatre in the process.
I made the pilgrimage north because I wanted to hear about the legend’s art, but first he told me the remnants of a story. As with many a good tale of adventure, we sat around the kitchen table on a cold winter afternoon...
COMMENTS: On October 7, 1991, Capone's Pub & Grill opened its doors in Coeur d'Alene Idaho. Today marks twenty five years. Anyone who owns a business of any kind can tip their cap and raise a glass to that.
Time to head indoors. And there is a lot to experience with a new season of arts and theater events in Spokane. There's a lot more starting up than we can list here, but three things are firmly on our radar:
COMMENTS: I almost expect someone to start giving me a massage, but not in a weird way. I'm just that relaxed. It's a September day and I've made my way to Gaiwan Tea House in Coeur d'Alene Idaho.
COMMENTS: ...We meet at the Fish Lake Trailhead near downtown Spokane, and we start pedaling. Today, we’re riding rather than running this ten-mile paved scenic link between Spokane and Fish Lake, a fun little rec area near the college town of Cheney.
COMMENTS: It's a hot Thursday night in the panhandle of Idaho, and people from all over the Northwest have congregated at DOMA Coffee Roasters for an event well worth the drive.