Saturday, February 23, 2008

Smelt Run 2008

I was surprised to see that my time in this year's La Conner Smelt Run 10K was only seven seconds faster than last year's time. Surprised because I remember last year's run was cold and difficult and I was somewhat disappointed with my time at the end. This year I wasn't disappointed with my time, though I wasn't elated either; just happy that I was under 55 minutes. (My time this year was 54:23, and last year was 54:30.)

I think the reason I was disappointed last year was because I felt like I ran really hard (in the cold, wind, and damp), and yet the time was quite a bit slower than the prior 10K, Mukilteo in August 2006, when I was a bit under 53 minutes). At the time, the Smelt Run was my third 10K, and it was my slowest of the three.

But it turns out I was just lucky in the first two. Over the last year I've run a lot of 10K races, and I've learned what I can expect to do. I can expect, if I try hard, to be under 55 minutes, although I can't guarantee it. And I can expect that a time under 53 minutes, when it happens, will be uncommon and rare, and the result of a very, very good run under the most fortuitous of circumstances.

So today, a sunny and not quite balmy day (albeit with a firm wind out on the course), I ran quite hard, felt pretty good about it, and finished in 54:23. My one excuse (other than the wind), was that apparently I started out rather in the back of the crowd (so my parents tell me they noticed when I passed them down on 1st Street), so there was a good bit of time lost before I actually crossed the starting line. (Let's count on it being at least 30 seconds!) I did pass a lot of people throughout the duration of the run.

Including, I might add, a toddler and his dad who appeared to be blocking the pathway in front of me so that I had to veer around them to sprint to the finish line! Apparently that toddler had been providing a lot of entertainment to the crowd watching the finish, as he ran, then walked, toward the end of the race. My mother reported, though I didn't hear, that a woman in the crowd called to the rest of us as we passed, "Congratulations, you're passing the toddler!"

While amusing to everyone else, that confused and disturbed me for some time as I tried to figure out how a toddler and his somewhat chunky dad could possibly be ahead of me to be passed! I finally determined that while I was running the 10K, they were actually "running" or walking the 2-mile loop through town, which ended on the same route as my portion of the race. Whew! I was beginning to get a complex. (There will be a picture of my "competition" below when I get around to posting photos.)

The Smelt Run (5K & 10K, plus 2-mile walk) is part of La Conner's Smelt Derby, an annual festival centering around a smelt fishing competition in La Conner. I am happy to do the run, and let others spend their day fishing ("jigging") for tiny little fish one at a time.

When the race was over my parents and I walked back to "downtown" La Conner (about half a mile away) for the usual post-run breakfast/lunch. Our destination was, of course, the Calico Cupboard. My primary objective was a scrumptious cinnamon roll (to share, of course). For my main course I threw my usual cautions to the winds and ordered Heuvos Rancheros which comes smothered in (gasp!) melted cheese. Everything was delicious, of course.

After strolling around La Conner for half an hour or so, we headed back home. I had a massage appointment at 3:00, and certainly didn't want to miss that. And so ended Smelt Run day.


Running down First Street at the beginning of the race.

How could this toddler be so far ahead of me? I am in the background, racing to catch up (actually racing toward the finish line).

Running for the finish.

In LaConner on the way to Calico Cupboard.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Well hello there. I came across your blog trying to find out what my 'official' time was at the Smelt run. I had a pretty good time. I've reviewed the race on my website, check it out...

Are you doing the St. Pats Day Dash? I'll be there! I like your blog, would you like a link on my site to direct more people to yours? I'm still growing the site and have had that idea for a while, I just haven't meet too many runners yet with blogs!

I gotta run...