Seattle Freeze Ice Cream Crawl

Urban Adventure Running

Kelly has built a great community through her Tuesday night Issaquah Alps Trail Running Club. One member, Will, has been talking about an “ice cream run” between some notable ice cream shops in Seattle. After a very cold March and April, Seattle finally hit its first 70 degree day – followed by 80 degrees the very next day! It was the perfect time for the “Seattle Freeze”.

Will, Kelly, I, and a few others from the club met up in West Seattle around 11 am to start the run. A few people were also doing the route on bike, while the majority of us were running. Our first stop was Husky Deli, mere blocks away.

Husky Deli is a deli plus ice cream shop and has a lot of tasty looking sandwiches. But we were about to test the limits of ice cream as a fuel for physical activity!

Our first scoop: the “Husky Flake”.

This was not your typical ice cream run. Will put in a ton of preparation. He printed out voting sheets for each stop and prepared a round of ice cream trivia for each location. The winner of the trivia would get a $10 gift card from Salt & Straw, which graciously donated the gift card as our first and only corporate sponsor. Legit!

The trivia and voting sheets.

After our first scoop, we ran down towards the water taxi that would take us over to downtown. There was some pleasant running and I had never been to this part of West Seattle. I have only been to West Seattle a few times in my life, mostly for district cross country meets at Lincoln Park. West Seattle might as well be more remote than the North Cascades to me.

Nice “urban greenery” in West Seattle.
A pleasant view of the “Seattle Range”.

We had half an hour to kill at the dock so I soaked my feet in the water. After a nice water taxi ride, we ground out the only major climb of the day up to Capitol Hill. Could James Street be the “Cable Line of Seattle”?

Swim to the Olympics.

As the day went on, people came and went. Nastassia met us at Frankie and Jo’s, a fancy plant based ice cream shop in Capitol Hill. Kelly and I shared some absolutely delicious sorbet. We felt that the lighter sorbets might sit better in our stomachs; the price tag also lightened our wallets a fair bit!

Tasty sorbet on Frankie and Jo’s.

Our next segment to Sweet Alchemy in the U District was our longest, and the heat was starting to get to us. Fortunately Seattle U had a nice fountain to cool off in. Heat management and finding natural water sources are two challenges on these urban runs. It gave me even more appreciation for Saulius.

Cooling off.

We ran through some fancy Cap Hill neighborhoods where the ground was pretty uneven. Suddenly I heard a scream behind me and Kelly was on the ground! As road wipeouts are much worse than trail wipeouts, she was bleeding from at least five spots on every arm and leg. Would this be the unexpected end of the Seattle Freeze?

Battle scars.

Luckily, Marla came prepared for the remote urban run with an extensive first aid kit. Kelly hobbled her way to UW where Will was able to swipe us into the geology building and Kelly could wash off her wounds.

Geologist Will explains “Banded Iron” to us.
The classic cherry blossoms shot at UW.

The group was in a funk as we walked over to Sweet Alchemy on The Ave. It was hot, Kelly’s body ached, morale was low, and our bodies were beginning to bonk due to a lack of food other than ice cream. It was nearly 4 pm when we finally caved and got some Greek food to complement the ice cream at Sweet Alchemy.

Sweet Alchemy Strawberry ice cream.

Will had majorly sandbagged us, initially estimating a 3 pm finish. We decided to cut out Molly Moons and go straight for Salt & Straw in Ballard, about 4 miles away.

Kelly was done with road running, but luckily there was a bus we could take to meet them at Salt & Straw. Ferry, running, and bus – it was a true multi-mode transportation kind of day! Somehow, the runners beat us there.

Kelly loved the hibiscus coconut sorbet at Salt & Straw.

Alex and Violeta joined us here after skiing St. Helens in the morning. We finished our final two rounds of trivia and Kelly won, securing the $10 Salt & Straw gift card. And we shared the muffins that Eric baked and had carried around all day.

1st annual Seattle Freeze Ice Cream Crawl. From left to right: Vik, James, David, Will, Marla, Eric, Violeta, Alex, Kelly, and me.

After some parting words from race director Will, Alex and Violeta graciously drove us back to the start in West Seattle. Hungry for something other than ice cream, we ate a real dinner at Husky Deli and drove home.

Big thanks to Will for the vision and execution of this hilarious event, and to Kelly for building a fun community of runners. This was certainly the slowest 8 mile run I have ever done, and the most I have eaten over the course of an 8 mile run! By the end of the day, I think we were all pretty tired of ice cream, but it was a fun and certainly unique way to celebrate the first warm weekend of the year!

Voting Results:

The average ratings were:

  • Husky Deli: 2.7 stars
  • Frankie & Jo’s: 3.9 stars
  • Sweet Alchemy: 3 stars
  • Salt & Straw: 3.4 stars

There appeared to be no correlation between miles run and ice cream ratings, but the ice cream itself was not a control.

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