Where to Run in Seattle: Getting Back on Track on Phinney Ridge

sneakersIt has been two years since I’ve run for fitness. A hip injury sent me to the physical therapist, who sent me to the pool. Which is why I was on my way to deep-water exercise class this afternoon, when I realized that I had forgotten my swimming suit. Shoot! No time left to retrieve it and get to class, so I made the executive decision to try running again.

Knowing that I couldn’t (or shouldn’t, perhaps) log three miles on the first try, I thought I’d do what the experts are recommending anyway: intervals. Fortunately my Runkeeper app helps me do that, so off I went. This is a three-mile route that you can follow to check out the neighborhood at a leisurely clip, or as part of a fairly flat warm-up for a longer haul around Green Lake (we’ll talk about that one another time).

Walk for .25 miles – Turn left out the front door of the inn, turn right on N. 58th Street, go two blocks, turn left on Phinney Avenue North. Keep walking ‘til you see Sully’s Snowgoose Saloon at 62nd Street (do not stop here…at least until the return trip).

Run for .50 miles – Stay on the west side of the street, being very careful at every intersection. While Seattle is relatively pedestrian-friendly, drivers tend to look left first as they turn from side streets onto Phinney Avenue. Smell but don’t be tempted by Red Mill Burgers; keep going another few blocks where you can slow at the Greenwood Hardware Store (at about 72nd Street).

Walk for .25 miles – Enjoy several blocks of shops, pubs, and restaurants (make a mental note of where you might want to stop later). Think about picking up the pace again as you see the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church across the street. You definitely should be running by the time you reach the Cross-Fit place 😉

Run for .50 miles – For better or worse, you’ll hit a slight downhill on this part. If all of the lights go your way, you can build up some steam to cross Phinney Avenue at 85th and head back on the east side of the street. What goes down must go up, though, and you’re still running until about 82nd and Couth Buzzard Books.

Walk for .25 miles – If you need a drink of water, pop into the Greenwood branch of the Seattle Public Library.  Then get ready for your last half-mile sprint as you re-approach the Lutheran Church, which you can’t miss because 1) you’ve seen it before and 2) it takes up a whole block.

Run for .50 miles – This was the part where you walked, shopped, and drooled on the way. You’ll have to come back later for Bluebird Ice Cream at the corner of 74th and Greenwood (unless you’re walking for some reason, then you might pause for a cool refreshment).

Walk for .25 miles, then run for .25 miles – I have to admit to getting distracted here while wondering whether I had run enough. I couldn’t tell whether it was a devil or angel on my shoulder telling me that it was enough for my first time in two years. Speed up as you approach Ed’s Kort Haus and the Stumbling Goat Bistro. Keep going as the arterial Greenwood Avenue jogs over onto Phinney Avenue (no turning, just follow the curve).

Walk for .25 miles – You’ll see Sully’s again across the street and pass the Park Public House on your side. You can slow down now and stroll the final six blocks or so back to your Seattle B&B….or take a break first at any of about six establishments right in front of you.

Time will tell if your innkeeper’s hip will let her (me) narrate another, more active run. If the hip’s sore tomorrow, I might have to conjure up other outings from memory.

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