The Paine Field Runaround


I’ve been heads down the last few days concurrently writing a bunch of upcoming reviews for the next few weeks – so we’ll keep today’s post somewhat short so I can go back into the abyss of processing photos and writing near-continuous text.  Or, simply so I can go and eat some ice cream.  We’ll see how I feel by then.

Thus I figured I’d run through a long-run I had late last week while in Seattle.  The schedule called for the long run to be split between a typical Z2 pace controlled by HR, and then a chunk of mileage controlled by a set pace – in this case, 6:45/mile (4:12/km).

But, before we get to the faster pieces, I first had to get out of the neighborhood.


Most of the run was just along local streets leading away from my parents’ home north of Seattle.  I decided that since I had to burn over 15-miles, the route with the flattest ground would be around Paine Field airport, which is home to Boeing (and where the majority of wide-body Boeing aircraft are made).  I was looking for a flat course since that most closely resembles the Florence Marathon.

Though, the first two miles are actually the least flat – as in the case below which was a long but gradual climb.  A false flat of sorts.


Around the 3-mile marker I turned into some of the local industrial/commercial business parks that surround the airport, and are present on most sides of the field.  The vast majority of these companies support Boeing in some manner.


I continued to work my way into the center of the vast airport.  Next up would be passing the Flying Heritage Collection, which is Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s personal collection of WWII aircraft.


As I’d wrap around the back of that building, what looks like a P-51 was hanging out there.  A mechanic appeared to be working on it a bit.


This general area of the airport is one of the many places that Boeing stashes non-finished 787’s (technically, more like broken 787’s).  Most of these aircraft are awaiting re-work in the hangers behind them, and some have been here for a number of years already.


You can see how they are all taped up , with windows covered.


And engines removed (or, in this case – likely never installed).  Most aircraft don’t have engines installed until delivery time from Boeing to the airline.  Instead, they place these massive weights on the wings.


The airport is literally covered with to-be-fixed/finished 787’s, which are pretty much everywhere you run around the grounds.


As you can see, it was getting a bit darker. I had started my run around 5:30PM or so, and with the light rain and dark skies, it didn’t make photos much easier.  Here I was passing back into more of the general aviation area.


Again, more planes awaiting customer delivery.  In this case a pair of 747-8’s, as well as another 787.


As I worked my way in and out of different areas I’d pass around and under the various runways.  At this point a small aircraft zipped overhead to land a few hundred feet later.  Given everything, you’re lucky this photo wasn’t more blurry than it is.


I then worked my way down towards the largest building on earth by volume – the actual Boeing plant itself.  You can take tours in it, which I’ve done in the past (though, cameras aren’t allowed inside).


As I ran past it, you can see just a small bit of the sheer size of it.  I was running on a small foot-trail on the side of the road.  This particular portion of the road isn’t terribly awesome, but the little trail made it work for the half a mile or so in length.


I’d eventually pass under the main runway lights, though no major aircraft were landing at the time.


I climbed up the hill to the western side of the airport and crossed the Future of Flight’s parking lot – it’s a museum as well as a place where a lot of Boeing related events are held.


There’s a bit of a knoll here that overlooks the airport grounds and Boeing ramp which is affectionately called the ‘Grassy Knoll’.  You can see a group of folks standing there – all in suits oddly enough.  I suspect they are part of some event tied into Boeing, whether they are airline customers, Boeing partners, or the like.  I say this mostly because it’s a bit odd for a dozen men and women in suits to stand out in the rain on a cold and windy night and look at airplanes.


From here you can look across and see the flight-line of aircraft awaiting delivery, as well as the paint buildings (the only buildings you can see in this photo).  Unlike the other 787’s and 747’s sprinkled about the airport, the vast majority of these planes will be delivered to airlines in the coming days or weeks.  The only aircraft delivered from here are 747’s, 787’s, 777’s, and 767’s.


I soon left the airport behind (as well as most of my daylight) and dipped into residential neighborhoods for a short time.


And then I found a bit of a running trail.


And then it was basically dark.  Which means, all of my photos came out like this:


It was also right about this time that I kicked up the pace.  For the first 10-miles at a Z2 heart rate my pace stayed about 6:50-7:10/mile (4:15-4:27/km).  Then I switched over to being purely controlled by pace, which for this particular run was set at 6:45/mile (4:12/km).

You can see this in the Strava Pace Analysis graph (one of my favorites, though regrettably they don’t show it on the shared page).  The elevation goes up and down a tiny bit in miles 10-15, but otherwise is pretty flat.


You can see that this largely corresponds with a similar breakout below.  The portions in recovery (above and below) were for a set of 4×30” sprints I did, with 90-seconds of recovery in between.  The recovery was just at a light jog.


Overall the run was quite quick – and while raining (of course, this is Seattle), the temperature was such that I was fine in t-shirt and shorts and it kept me nice and cool.  Some might say even perfect marathon temperature.


Once done, I took one final photo:


After that – I did the only responsible thing left to do – get some teriyaki.  I miss teriyaki.  I was hard to find good teriyaki in Washington DC, and now virtually impossible in Paris (recommendations are welcome).  Whereas growing up in Seattle there’s decent teriyaki in virtually every strip mall, and great teriyaki is never far away.  Don’t worry, I only ate one of those.


With that, I took off the next evening back for home.  Another good week of work in Seattle, and visiting my family there as well.


Thanks for reading!


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  1. RobM

    Amazing fitness level! I look at those paces and go wow… then I look at the Zones for those paces … Can I ask – what heart rates were you running for the Zone2s and 3s? Thanks heaps – I always look forward to your posts.

    • My Z2 is 153-161, and my Z3 is up to 168. I didn’t use any Z3 in this case though, it was all set to Z2 (first 10-miles), and then let-it-be-HR for the hard-set 6:45/mile for the last 5 miles. The pace fluctuated a bit +/- on those last 5 miles because of the rolling hills.

    • Ray have you done testing to figure out your zones or do you use one of the est methods? If est what method do you use? Your zone 2 is basically my zone 3. Guess I should also ask, since I’m assuming, 5 zones?

    • My coach established the zones, mostly based on specific efforts – not quite tests, but close enough to it. We used tests initially (VO2Max test), but have modified it since. In fact, my running zones were just modified a month ago (first time in a few years), shifting them slightly higher (my Z2 cap used to be 157, now it’s 162).

      The total zones are:

      Z1 (not really ever used)

  2. Chris

    Is that a white 220 with a purple band?

  3. Sean

    Hey Ray, I’m surprised you don’t make your own teriyaki! Have you tried before? Do you have any good recipes?

  4. Daniele Iozzino

    Ah! So you are coming to Florence for the Marathon :)
    See you on the course.

  5. Matthew Moroney

    Good luck in the Florence marathon! I ran it last year and my one tip would be to make sure you start as near to the front as possible. The course is great but there are so many bottlenecks in the narrow streets at the start that you can end up walking for the first 15 minutes, even if you start in the 2 1/2 – 3 hour pen.
    Also, after the race you should go for a meal at Ora D’Aria, it’s the best restaurant I’ve ever been to and is worth booking in advance.

  6. Miquel Casas

    Great read. Thank you & my ifttt is working like a charm. ;)

  7. Manuel

    Will you run Florence marathon? i will too!
    what pace will you try to keep?
    I will run 4:20-4:25 per km, maybe we can run togheter

  8. Bernard

    Wow, I ran that course earlier this year!
    I was staying next to the future of flight and found the foot trail you ran on, but unfortunately couldn’t find a good route around the airport. Some of the roads have no shoulders.
    And BTW, the new 747 is the -8, not -800 (sorry for being pedantic about it)

    • Doh, good catch. It’s funny, I was looking at that trying to figure out why it felt funny when I typed it. There ya have it…

      As for roads, it’s really getting that chunk along the Boeing Freeway that’s less than ideal. After that, you can wander through most of the roads around the airport perimeter. There’s a few Boeing Private Access roads, but they’re well marked.

  9. Amedeo

    Ray, will you go to Firenze marathon in november? Have I understood?

  10. euro

    Wow, Seattle has to be the most depressing city to live in. Every picture I ever see seems to be either rainy or grey skies. Terrible…

  11. Scott

    Yes, that’s the Seattle experience I recall. Go to work in the dark and come home in same nine months out of the year. Only wished they had good trainers back then as it would have saved me from flat damp hair and road rash from mossy roads. But oh, Summers are awesome 16 hours of sunlight!

  12. Guillaume

    4×30” sprints I did, with 90-seconds of recovery in between.

    Wow, long recovery for such short sprints ;)

  13. While the Strava pace analysis isn’t available when not-logged, you can see it when logged in (not sure if having a premium subscription makes a difference).

  14. Jackson

    This may be good for the week in review (followup to previous link of mine you posted on a week in review) Best -Jack

    link to

  15. Miro Lehky

    Ray, the biggest building by volume is the assembly building up at Everett Field, not the one at Paine field. Boeing does not actually assemble any aircraft at Paine, all the assembly is out in Renton (narrow bodies) and Everett (wide bodies).

    • You do realize that Paine Field is the name of the airport that the assembly plant is at right? Everett is simply the name of the city that the property sits on. All widebody aircraft for Boeing are assembled at Paine Field, save the handful of 787’s now additionally being assembled in Charleston.

      There’s no such thing as Everett Field.

    • Miro Lehky

      You are correct, for some reason I had it in my head you ran around Boeing Field (King Co.).

  16. Brett

    Don’t know if you’ve been around your parents’ place when Paul Allen has his collection cranked up, but when he says “Flying Heritage,” he means it. Sometimes it’s like a WWII air show around here. Or you see three biplanes flying in formation above you.

    • Every once in a while, I believe this summer when I was there they swung by at one point. Crazy loud.

      I grew up getting used to everything else, but there’s a pretty substantial noise difference between a 747 and a Mustang (and not in the Mustang’s favor).

  17. Jay

    Just a quick hello and thanks for all the great reviews and advice. Looks like you had an awesome run around Paine Field. Nice work! This is about a mile away from my neighborhood but in all my years of running I never considered running around Boeing. Tend to gravitate down through Lowell and down along the river toward Snohomish, much more scenic. Not running much lately… sore knee. A loooong time ago I posted a 2:49 marathon, I have slowed considerably.


  18. Efe M. Balli

    My bet is that the ANA 787s are in for an overhaul. They cannot be unfinished planes because they’re already painted. I can’t think of any other reason why those planes are dismantled that much.
    Awesome work, btw.

    • Nope, they’ve never left. They are part of the early line numbers (first 30 aircraft roughly) that needed significant re-work in the internal fuel-tank/wing area after an early issue was found with fasteners. This whole mess is commonly known as ‘Change Incorporation’. Most of these aircraft have literally been sitting there for years. The priority was shifted to getting new aircraft out (with the fixes already completed as part of build). And then these would be gone back and dealt with. The challenge is that the process to do this work required going into the fuel tank area and removing a bunch of paneling at the wing joint that also required being undercover for about a month. So hanger space was the limiter. They actually even setup temporary hangers for a while to get through some of it.

      You can use the data sheet here to look at the aircraft numbers and current state here: link to

      All the red and dark green ones are still hanging out at Paine and never left.

      Since Boeing bought that facility, you likely won’t see any non-brand-new aircraft coming in there for service like in the old BF days.

      (Minor point of note: I’m sorta an aviation geek…)