Friday, November 20, 2009

Nothing lasts forever, except the cold November rain

I hate running in the rain, but I love running in mud. As a sidebar, I'm not alone as someone who hates to run in the rain. So when I left for a run yesterday afternoon, I was only doing it with the intention of heading for the grass and dirt trails near my house. It was almost sunset, which was a problem because the trail runs through a vast arboretum that separates Humber College and Woodbine mall. Often at dusk or in the dark, I've been running there and almost tackled some unsuspecting student or shopper.

What I like about running on the trails in the dark is that the deer living in the arboretum come out. Sometimes I spot them in the distance thanks to their unmistakable silhouettes and other times I run right by them and ruin their meal, though nothing beats the time I ran laps of a rugby field while a deer stood in the dead centre, rotating to watch me like an organic sundial. These days I think about the deer more than usual thanks to this story (as though OFSAA needed to get any tougher).

Yesterday I was hoping to see some deer quietly eating in the dark while I ran muddy, hilly repeats, but there was no such luck. I've been told I sound twice as big when I run, so maybe that's what chased them away. Or maybe there were just in their usual spot on the edge of the forest at the basketball courts, possibly attracted by the blinding Esso in the distance that lights up an otherwise dark sky. I ran in the mud until I had to concede that one of the hills on the loop I like to run was simply too slippery to run at anything other than a jog and then I emerged into the rush hour traffic to rejoin humanity.

Whenever I run, I spot people that look weird, such as the sort of person that stands in a gazebo in the middle of nowhere for a brief smoke break, or the kind that hangs around in the bushes after dark. The reality is sadly that I look weirder to an impartial observer, especially to the impartial observers in that area, where runners are rare. Coming across another person in situations where the last thing you'd expect to see is a human being is a lot like coming across a bear. Each party is scared of the other, who they consider to be a violent predator, but really it's all just a misunderstanding.

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