Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hood to Coast (part one)

After over a week I am still trying to come up with the words.
Or perhaps it's that I'm trying to pare things down.  Short of signing a deal for a three installment series of books it wouldn't make any sense for me to say everything that I could and would like to say.

There are moments in life that change you.  Sometimes they are huge, sometimes they are simple.
Sometimes they fall nicely in the middle of the spectrum, not altering your course in life, but certainly making a difference in who you are.  Hood to Coast is one of those for me.

I am shy.  I am an introvert.  I have a hard time putting myself out there, especially in big groups of people!  I am easily intimidated, even when there is no reason to be.
I know, ironic considering I throw my life out here in the online world.
I guess my efforts at trying to change it all started when I made the new year's resolution a few years ago to step out of my comfort zone.  Who knew how far reaching those effects would be!

I started rewatching Lost recently (stay with me here for a second), and in the first episode there is a moment when Jack asks Kate to stitch up the slice in his back.  They talk about fear and he recounts a story of his first surgery and having something go wrong.  He says that the fear was overwhelming, and that he let the fear in, but only for five seconds.  After he counted to five, he moved on.

I had a little pep talk with myself as I was waiting to board my flight to Seattle.  I prepped myself to get over my fears and doubts and insecurities and embrace what was certain to be incredible experience that lay before me.  When I landed in Seattle it was time to put it into action-I was due to meet up with Jolene there at the airport!  I counted to five, and off I went.
Despite my nerves, I was so excited to meet up with her and have some time to sit and chat.

We got to spend a couple of hours just hanging out at Nuun headquarters waiting for the next group of ladies to get in.
Behold the wall of happiness.
What an awesome company Nuun is.  Their office was totally chill, everyone was more than welcoming.  I have liked the product for years, and the more I have learned about the company the more I have liked it.  But wow, meeting these people and seeing them in I really, really LOVE it.   To meet these amazing people behind it all and be blessed with their generosity was more than I imagined.  Mason, the president and CEO of Nuun is amazing.  Absolutely none of the stuffy, weirdness, or superiority that often comes from the people in charge.  He made everyone feel right at home.  Hearing him talk about how Nuun does things-the fact that they would rather put their time, effort and money into people as opposed to dropping big dollars on magazine pages advertising the product-was awesome.  They get it.  And they have a great enough product to let it speak for itself.
Then there was Megan.  She is the one I met in SLC back in June.  The woman is magical I tell you.  She coordinated 36 women coming in from all over the country, plus the awesome guys who drove for all of us crazy women who are Nuun employees also from all over, plus accommodations, entertainment, awesome swag...not to mention she personally transported almost every single person from the airport to the office.  Wow.  Totally in awe of everything she put together.
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Casey.  A blast.  Genuinely great guy, and a decent bowler to boot.  Also the magic behind making sure that I went home with enough quackers for the whole family.  Explanation, pictures, and video, to come.

After basking in the glow at Nuun for a while, the next round of ladies appeared and we set off to explore Seattle.
Heading out in a city I'm not very familiar with, with a bunch of women I've never met before was awesome.  So unlike me, and completely awesome.  We headed down to Pike Place Market for lunch and just to roam around.

I ordered soup from some little cafe and was seriously craving bread, so I figured I'd grab a "mini baguette" to go with it.  She handed me a loaf of bread longer than my arm.  So I then roamed around Seattle eating a loaf of bread.  The ocean and ridiculous amounts of carbs=happy.
We enjoyed the view of the waterfront and then Meghan mentioned that she wanted to meet up with a friend of hers who she had previously worked with and recently relocated to Seattle.  He also happens to work at Brooks headquarters.  Hello!  So the other 4 of us tagged along and got to tour it!

We got to see fabulous things, like giant shoes
and runners made of pasta.
It really was pretty dang cool to get to roam through their offices and see the design areas, all of the colors and fabrics and sketches that they use in creating these shoes.  I'd share it all with you but for obvious reasons we couldn't take pictures of those things.  Dang.  We also got to see Moving Comfort's line of fabulousness for next season-some super cute things coming there!

After our little tour there and raiding their candy drawer, as well as snagging free tshirts, we headed back to Nuun to meet up with everyone else who had flown in through the afternoon so we could go to The Garage where we would spend the evening stuffing ourselves with food, bowling, and trying to remember the names of 40ish people we had just met.

I have to admit that I wish I could do this night over again.  I was so terrified with all of these people there!  I feel like I did ok introducing myself to people and not being too incredibly awkward, but there are SO many ladies who were there that I wish I would have made an effort to talk to more than just introductions and small talk.  It was a little overwhelming to be completely surrounded by so much greatness.  There were women who are elite athletes (like world class elite), women who are mega bloggers, and women who I am just totally in awe of.  Which pretty much covers everyone there.  It really was a blast to hang out with everyone though, and get a chance to meet the guys who would be chauffeuring us around in big vans for a couple of days.  I know I've used the word awesome probably a dozen times already, but really, it was just a giant room full of awesome.

After all of that awesome we headed to the hotel where we met up with our roomies for that night and the next.  I was blessed to be set up with Allison, Karen and Devon, three incredibly wonderful ladies.  Allison and I have a mutual friend, so it was super fun to get to know her a little more after hearing so many great things about her from said mutual friend.

First day-incredible.

Day two started out with a run around Green Lake, which was gorgeous.
 I am usually a solo runner so running with a group of ladies was a fun change!
We headed to Oiselle headquarters after the run and met the amazing people behind their greatness.
After a fabulous morning we headed out to tour Seattle on The Ducks.  I will admit I was skeptical about how exciting this would be.  Seemed cool to do the whole land/water thing, but I'm not necessarily a huge cheesy touristy kind of person.  It was great though, such a blast!

Aside from the novelty of the whole driving in to the water thing, our tour guide was fun and funny, and the atmosphere with this whole group of people was a riot.
Good times.
Also this is where the quackers originated.

That evening we all gathered back at Nuun for dinner and a little pow-wow,
a lotta swag (Christmas in August anyone?),
and van decorating.
Oh, the vans.
Relay decor done right!
I had the privilege of being in a van with Megan, Mallory, Kara, Hannah and Sarah, with the fabulous Jeantel at the wheel.  We made up the first van of Team Watermelon.

The rest of Team Watermelon was chauffuered by Casey, and consisted of Meghan, Megan, Laura, Lisa, Lindsay and Devon.  Such an amazing group of ladies!

By the end of the night we were anxious and excited to get to the running part of this trip!
Which I'll share with you tomorrow.  Because this is already way too long.


XLMIC said...

I never could understand how some people are able to recap the experience in less than 3 posts. Some are able to do it in 3 sentences! How????

I am so thrilled you had a great time! I surely do wish I could have been there, too :) You are the best, Catey! You so deserved this awesomeness :)

Elisabeth Welch-McClellan said...

It was so great to see you again! I am still wearing, and am inspired by the necklace you gave us. You're thoughtful, kind, have a contagious smile, and make every person you meet feel so special and important. I hope this is not the last time we meet.

Cheyenne and Seth and Co. said...

This really is awesome. And not long enough :) I'm excited to read more.

TinaF said...

Sounds like you had a great time and had an awesome experience all at the same time. Way to go Catey!!!