so i’m still in seattle this week. what is the northwest known for? other than grunge, rain and slugs? salmon. fresh, yummy, trans fatty acid salmon. and what city am i staying in? only the home to one of the state’s salmon hatcheries. and what type of festival does the city hold every year? yup, for the first time, i was in issaquah during salmon days.
so, let me paint a little background. i usually spend my free time up here out hiking, climbing or running all over the place, and once i’ve worn myself out, i sit in front of the computer and work or play games. so, that was the plan i had for this stay here. only this time, mr. mountainbike happened. and mr. mountainbike knew about salmon days.
i get a call friday night after i got home from my run. mr. mountainbike asks me if i like salmon and craft fairs. he tells me about the festival in town this weekend and suggests we get together to check it out. i hopped on the internet to find out more about it, and turns out there’s a 10k sunday morning sponsored by the rotary club. oh, i’m in all right. mr. mountainbike and i agree to run the race, and then check out the festival.
saturday the town is a madhouse. i couldn’t get anywhere for all the traffic, and come to find out the whole downtown is completely shut off to vehicles. there are vendors tents EVERYWHERE. so, i spend the day saturday anxiously waiting for sunday. i didn’t want to head into the festival, for fear of spoiling the experience with mr. mountainbike. i was hoping he’d show me all the surprises and give me a local interpretation of it.
sunday morning comes early, and i couldn’t find mr. mountainbike at the start, so i hopped into the group of racers (oops, forgot to purchase a bib). i ran a pretty good pace, and actually turned in one of my faster times (42:15), but the time was insignificant compared to the surprise as i came around final corner. there is mr. mountainbike with a huge sign, about 4’x6′ saying ‘See Salomne Run? Run Salomne, Run!’. he had it staked into the ground and he was jumping up and down next to the sign banging a cowbell screaming for me to finish strong.
i can’t remember the last time i had someone i know cheer me on during a race. i’m usually pretty solitary when it comes to my running. yes, there’s quite a bit of ego involved after the race when i tell clients or co-workers of what i’ve done. but the races and the runs are more of a personal success meter. i like the solitude of long runs, i like the success being completely on my shoulders, i like the knowledge that i completed a long run or a race because of the dedication i put into something. i like to smugly watch the finishers after i’ve completed a race, almost detached.
mr. mountainbike changed that.
he ran up to me as i was getting some orange slices at the finish. he was very excited and gave me a huge hug, despite my being slick with sweat. he asked me how i felt for each mile, asked me how this time compared to my other race times. he went and bought me a race shirt, since i hadn’t registered for the race, and made me put the shirt on so that everyone would know i’d run. now, a 10k isn’t much of a run for me. i run about that much 4-5 days a week, but it seemed like a marathon with all the pride and joy that mr. mountainbike was gushing. i felt like his superstar.
so, we walked from the race finish to downtown and spent the day looking through all the vendors booths. we had blackened salmon burgers for lunch, a huge bag of kettle corn, a slug on a stick (candy, silly!) listened to some local bluegrass music on the main stage, watch kids play on the inflatable slides in the kids area, and the whole time we just wandered around, we held hands. i know exactly how it happened too. he grabbed my hand to pull me to a booth that caught his eye, and when we got to the booth, i just didn’t let go.