Recreation Northwest

Losing weight is easy…. (Brian Seales’ race journey)

…if you count the three pounds of weight you drop by just removing your water soaked clothing.

 This was a pretty wet night for a run (Wednesday) but I’m happy I did it.  (Which is pretty clear by my photo)


Mind over Matter

I decided that if I’m going to kick-start this training, I need to get used to running in the rain. It is the Pacific NW after all. I’m not a stranger to rain, but it does sway my opinion of outdoor activities from time to time. This time I threw in some contacts, put on my brightest shirt, set my iPhone to shuffle, and headed west from my house. I really only wanted to put in a couple of miles to acclimate myself to running in inclement weather, as the rain was starting to fall and the wind gusts were still under the 20mph mark.

Less than 1/4 mile

It took less than 1/4 mile for me to have two soakers. I kept running. The wind started picking up and the power lines were swaying with each gust from the south. I kept running. The rain went from “nuisance” level to “impossible to keep eyes open” level. I kept running. My pace slowed, but I kept running. I ended up covering just under 3 miles, which in itself is no large feat, but when factoring the weather and the threat of falling power lines and trees, I think I did okay. My pace was slow, but not terrible considering the amount of time I spent running against the wind.  Check out my profile at Strava

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 12.38.53 PM


Distance: 2.9 Miles
Pace: 8:35/mile (I’m shooting for 7:00/mile)
Weather: Shitty
Blonde Redhead – Symphony of Treble
Aphex Twin – Vordhosbn
Go Slowpoke – I really don’t think I’ll ever figure it out
Mongolian Death Cloud – Track 01
Arcade Fire – We used to wait
Broken Bells – The High Road
Frightened Rabbit – The Greys


Next Steps

I plan to meet with Trailhead Athletics soon to go over my training and I should probably consult a healthcare pro about this chronic cough I’ve developed. Stupid allergies.



Looking Back and Moving Forward

Recreation Northwest had a full event calendar in 2014. We hosted Multisport-Relay Races in the towns of Winthrop, Olympia, North Bend and Bellingham (and a Kids Traverse too) as well as Adventure Races in Fairhaven and Orcas Island. We also hosted our second Race Director Summit and first EXPO (watch the video). Oh yea, and some volunteer work parties, fundraising events and plenty of planning meetings!

Some perspective. Our organization is actually less than 2 years old and just received our non-profit status earlier this year. Our Board of Directors and Staff are diligently working to find the balance between our events and our new community programs of Stewardship and Education. Part of our strategy was to create the Northwest Traverse Series to create opportunities statewide for people to have some fun together and subsequently help grow our events (bottom-line stuff) to be able to support these grassroots programs.

We had great teams of people, sponsors and media support in the places where we hosted our races and made great business connections and new friendships along the way. We value these relationships and are grateful for the support we received. Yes, with a triple-bottom-line perspective, the events were a success. Unfortunately, that is not enough to make these activities sustainable for our business. After much deliberation, budget crunching and conversations with our partners, we have decided that we will not be hosting the Northwest Traverse in the towns of Winthrop or Olympia.

We love Winthrop and cherish the place and people of the Methow Valley.  They have had quite the year! The low snowfall in the winter and devastation of fires and floods last summer took its’ toll on the local economy and the lives of most. We would especially like to help bring visitors to the area, but simply don’t have the capacity. 

We would like to give special shouts out to those individuals who helped launch the Winthrop Traverse. To all the volunteers who came out to show support! Props to Julie Muyllaert from Methow Cycle & Sport for connecting us with all the right people. To our Race Directors Sam and Allison Naney (and Fiona) rallied the community and made it happen. Mike Pruett put it all together for us at Pearrygin Lake with the support of Rick Lewis from State Parks. The hospitality provided by Mary Campbell and the staff at Sun Mountain Lodge was 5 star!! Shouts out to James DeSalvo and staff from Methow Trails for participating and being great partners. Our own, Paul Clement, for keeping the party going at the Finish Line as MC! Last, but not least- Thank you to Kerby, Ash and Linda Court of Bear Creek Golf Course for extending the invitation to us in the first place. Read Thank You Winthrop for recap.

Thank these people the next time you see them! How you ask?

Go to the Methow Valley and Spend a Ben(jamin Franklin $100 bill). You can support Methow Trails and local businesses like Sun Mountain Lodge, Methow Cycles, Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop Mountain Sports, Pine Near RV Park, North Cascades Mountain Hostel and your favorite place while you’re there.

The relative good news is that while we will also not be hosting the Olympia Traverse in 2015, our partners at Centro will be continuing the event as the Olympia Adventure Relay. The race will follow the same course we have used in the past. The event will also partner with and finish at the Olympia Beer Fest in 2015. This promises to be a ton of fun!

Without Winthrop and Olympia, we will be able to focus on our hometown events, here in Bellingham. Bellingham KIDS Traverse is scheduled for June 28th and we’re making changes to accommodate the growth we’ve experienced in the first two years. Our Crew, led by Race Director Jen Gallant, is shaping up to create even more fun for the kiddos!

Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics has committed to being our title sponsors for the 2015 Bellingham Traverse and are excited about our shared commitment to the environment and eating well for healthy living. We unfortunately had to bid adieu to our Race Director, Tyler Mitchell, who will be relocating to the “big city”. I am glad that he is looking forward to going SOLO in the race (see what I did there) on September 19th, 2015 and wish him well.

We are working with our partners on the North Bend Iron Horse Traverse, currently scheduled for September 12th, 2015. They strategically became a part of the series last year and we look forward to helping the event grow in metropolitan Seattle and the Eastside.

Based in Bellingham, The Quest Adventure Race TEAM & Club, will also be finding deeper roots. We look forward to working with Brent Molsberry as Race Director and his TEAM of Emily and Dusty! Exciting things are to come with the Team, Club and our Adventure Races! Mark your calendars for Kulshan Quest – July 25th and Island Quest – September 26th.

We enjoyed 2014!  I’m anxious to share what we have coming in 2015. “TTFN” – Tigger

Day One (Brian Seales’ race journey)

Photo from the start of the trail run in 2012.

Photo from the start of the trail run in 2012.

It’s official. This blog outlining my training journey from now until I start the 2015 Bellingham Traverse with a Chinook division, 100-series bib number, starts today! I have threatened to race in the traverse under the men’s solo division before, but that proclamation usually happens about a month before the next scheduled race, and because of my “hit or miss” training schedule, the motivation to follow through with that short term goal was pretty minimal. Not this time.

For your entertainment only.

This collection of journal entries is purely for entertainment. I fully encourage anyone to join me on my quest, but I don’t intend this blog to provide health advice. Each person is different and I have my own team of physicians, chiropractors, trainers, and massage artist to help me along my way. I encourage you to do the same, or just read along and laugh at my experiences.

I’ve given myself a fair amount of training time until the race.

Roughly 9 months. 9 short months to whip my admittedly soft body into race condition, and I truly believe that 9 months should be plenty of time. I’m not a stranger to working out having been a member of various fitness groups over the past 5 years like Bellingham X-Fit and Trailhead Athletics, but since I started Ketchup+Mustard, my time has been dedicated to growing the business. I’m ready to balance that out, and having a goal like this only encourages that kind of work/life balance. My motivation is this race, the net benefit is a healthier Brian. Win/Win in my opinion.

Goals and junk and stuff. 

At this point in my journey, the goal I have is to stay injury free and simply finish the race. I’m not too concerned with stage times, but I’m guessing, and hoping, that those things become important sometime during the training. I have a great support team (some who don’t know they’ll be helping me yet) that will help me along the way and will update this blog with details of how I’m progressing. I’m aware that you may not know who I am, or why you should care about my self-fulfilling experiences, so I will definitely include some training benchmarks with my posts to provide some insight to the progress I’ve made (if any).


Running – I think my current average mile time is about 8:30/mile (I think it’s called the “pace?”). I’ll be running a LOT over the next 9 months and plan on hitting the track for a two mile benchmark run every other week. The first of these runs will happen this weekend and I’ll post the results. My current shoes are Nike Free Run 3’s, but I’m considering getting some Hoka’s. Thoughts?

Mountain Biking – I’m no stranger to the saddle of a mountain bike. I used to be an avid downhill rider but have sold all my gear and currently ride every now and then on my crappy Frankenbike. I’ll need to upgrade my equipment before the race.

Road Biking – I’ve called road biking “joyless riding” since I can remember, but I’ve learned to see the value in it. I don’t currently own a road bike (other than a steel cyclocross bike I won from, and really haven’t actively attempted to ride for speed. Any suggestions are fully appreciated.

Trail Run – Probably my strongest leg of the race, based on experiences up until this point. I can run on trails. Doing it after finishing the other legs will definitely be a challenge.

Kayak – I dread this leg of the race. I’ve only kayaked once in a crappy plastic kayak, and nearly tipped it many times. I am definitely going to need a coach for this section of the course, just to keep me alive.

Feedback is appreciated

They say it takes a village. Granted that usually refers to raising a child, but I think it applies to this situation too. I’m happy to listen to any advice or feedback during this journey and encourage your contributions and I know that having a community behind this process will only help me along.

I will be working with Trailhead Athletics along the way, with this event as the goal. I know they are great at what they do and will be a HUGE asset to my training. I know I will feel like shit for a large portion of this 9 month period, so get used to hearing me complain about it. I know that I will be offsetting my exercise with drinking beer (being an owner of the Bellingham Tap Trail has it’s pros and cons. Mostly pros). I know that this will be hard, but also rewarding.

Thanks in advance for reading and following along.

Extra Extra Read All About IT! “Group leads effort to move trail off wetlands in Fairhaven Park” ~ Herald

Bellingham Herald article:

BELLINGHAM — A nonprofit recreation group is closing in on its goal of raising $30,000 to replace an unofficial, popular trail that goes through sensitive wetlands in Fairhaven Park.

Recreation Northwest, which organizes races that include the Bellingham Traverse and Quest Adventure, is leading the project as part of its new stewardship of Fairhaven and Cordata parks.
About $21,000 had been raised as of Tuesday, Nov. 25, for the trail work. The organization hopes to reach the campaign goal by the end of the year.

“The response from the community has been fantastic. This is our first fundraising campaign and our first trail project. The support that we’ve had has just been terrific,” said Todd Elsworth, executive director for Recreation Northwest.

Elsworth will talk about the trail project and his organization’s stewardship program, which is being done in partnership with Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department, during an event Sunday, Nov. 30, that begins in the upper pavilion of Fairhaven Park, 107 Chuckanut Drive. Participants also will walk the the path of the new trail and learn why it’s needed.

“It’s just a muddy mess,” Elsworth said of the current route. “What’s happening is the trail is getting wider and wider as more use happens.”

The plan is to move the trail north — out of the wetlands and onto higher ground — linking Fairhaven Park to 18th Street off Fairhaven Parkway. It would replace the existing, unofficial route that wasn’t created to standard.

“That’s a user-created trail. Users go in the path of least resistance,” Parks Director James King said of the current route, which dries out during summer but is muddy this time of year.

Construction could begin in spring, once the rain stops. The new route, which will be north of the existing one and over an old road, will be built by Gerry Wilbour of Northwest Trails Inc.
“We will be building a trail that meets current city specifications, so it will be a nice, flat graveled trail that will provide much better access for a lot of people,” Elsworth said.

As for the organization’s stewardship role, Elsworth said that grew out of a desire to care for and preserve the places where Recreation Northwest has an impact because of its races.

Its help is appreciated.

“It’s a wonderful contribution. We have an amazing parks system and trails system in Bellingham,” King said. “We don’t always have the resources to take care of it like we’d like to. Partnerships are essential with different groups and volunteers to help us with that. To have a group like this that’s willing to step up and take care of this trail is a great partnership.”

The trail work is part of a larger project for Recreation Northwest. That includes improving access from the new trail into what’s been called the Chuckanut Community Forest, which had been unofficially used as a park for a number of years before voters in southwest Bellingham decided to create a park district of the same name to essentially tax themselves to help protect its 82 acres from development.

The forest is adjacent to Fairhaven Park. It’s to be used for nature-oriented, recreational or educational purposes.

The city of Bellingham owns and manages Chuckanut Community Forest, its unofficial name, and still must develop a master plan for its use, which is still a few years in the future, King said.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or

Read original here: Bellingham Herald article

Fairhaven Park Trail Relocation Orientation – November 30th @ 1 pm

You are invited to join Recreation Northwest at the Fairhaven Park Upper Pavilion on Sunday, November 30th from 1:00pm – 2:00 pm.

Come learn about Recreation Northwest’s new Community Stewardship Program in Bellingham and how we are working with the City of Bellingham on a Trail Relocation project to improve access by re-routing the entrance trail from Fairhaven Park to reduce the increasing environmental impact.


You’ll have the opportunity to walk and talk with Todd Elsworth, Recreation Northwest’s Executive Director. He will provide an overview of our Stewardship Program; outline this project as Phase One in a larger long-term picture for the preservation and planning of the Chuckanut Community Forest; and offer options of how you can get involved and show your support.

Your support of this Phase One Trail Relocation project is appreciated and will ensure the success of the project. Recreation Northwest will have the ability to take your credit card donation or please bring your checkbook. If you are unable to attend, you may Donate to the effort online.

This is a great opportunity for community collaboration and we look forward to being a part of it. Please join us. We’ll see you on Sunday, November 30th at 1:00pm.

Wear boots- we’re going to walk in some mud! Join the Facebook Event.

Before & After (once we’re done)


2013 Race Director Summit Attendees

2013 RD Summit Attendees

Name Organization
Lance Romo Bellingham Parks & Rec
Chris Mellick WMBC
Tjalling Ypma (TJ) Race Director Liaison, GBRC
Candice Burt Bellingham Trail Running Club
Sam Alexander Klicks Running
Jen Gallant Girls on the Run
Craig Bartlett Fairhaven Runners
Heather Anderson & Kevin Douglas 50ks
Ryan Rickerts & Cisco Rodriguez Cascade Cross
Jill Komoto Bellingham Bay Outrigger Paddlers
David Penrose  
Bruce Burpee Silver Lake Outdoor Festival
Ben Twigg & Aaron Hakeman Bellingham Bay Marathon
Doug Schoonover Mt Baker Bike Club
Dan Baharav Bellingham Canoe & Kayak Sprint Team (BCKST)
Todd Elsworth Recreation Northwest
Stacy Smith The Firs 5k Fun Run
Cami Ostman Blue Sky Education Project, Wind Horse Half
Lori McKnight Arthritis Foundation, Jingle Bell Run
Rachel Tinnell Lighthouse Mission, Agape Walk & 5k
Audrey Johnson Run for Refuge
Al Coyle Flora Lake Padden Trail Half
Tamalyn Kralman CROP Hunger Walk for Church World Service
 Stewart Bowmer Shuksan Velo Club, Northshore Road Race
 Heather Romano Skagit Runners
 Joseph & Shawna Tompkins  Tulip Run