Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rain in Seattle?

Running gives opportunities that I wouldn't likely have otherwise. I am truly thankful for the experiences do to running, the places it has taken me, and the people I've met. Here is an experience that I recently came upon apart from the training and competition. Disclaimer: in the big picture, this is really nothing to complain about, but a funny situation.

About a week and a half ago I travelled to Seattle, Washington to participate in the 3k at the Washington Invite. I flew into Portland on Thursday and competed on Saturday evening. I stayed with a friend on Thursday night and then borrowed a car to drive up to Seattle on Friday morning to avoid the dense traffic between the two places later in the day. After a nice drive, the goal was to run at the trails next to the indoor facility and then hop on the track for a few strides. Upon reaching the track, I pulled into the parking lot only to learn that the parking fee was $15. I wasn't about to pay $15 to run a 50 minute pre-meet run and do some strides so I continued down the road to the next parking lot. There the price diminished to $7 but it was nearly half a mile away. So I decided that I might as well park even further away for free. Not really knowing the area very well I came upon an open space on a side street, perfect. I conquered a good parallel parking job but noticed that there was a fire hydrant near the spot. It was raining fairly hard at the time so I quickly jumped out of the car to look for any indication that it was a "no parking zone". I didn't see anything and it seemed more than a reasonable distance away, so I grabbed my spikes and headed towards the track.

The distance from the car to the track was about a mile but I didn't mind because I was just doing an easy run anyway, not to mention saving fifteen bucks. After a nice run and some solid strides I ran back to the car. The rain had picked up significantly. Upon reaching the car I noticed something out of place, on the windshield was a small white piece of paper. Hoping it some sort of flyer to an event I would never attend, I looked at the other cars nearby, no papers under their wipers. I picked up the soggy note, a parking ticket - fire hydrant violation - $42. I immediately looked around for some sort of indication that I may have missed. I looked on the curb again, nothing. Then I pulled back the grass... the faintest remnants of red paint under the blades, nothing visible otherwise. So in the end I parked a mile a way for $27 more than parking 100 feet away.

Here's the kicker, I recently paid the ticket online. The website Seattle.gov charged me an additional $3 for a convenience fee. Everything about the situation screamed convenience to me.

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