Top Ten Best
10. The One with all the Animals
Many creatures have graced me with their presence over my years of running: raccoons, squirrels, lost dogs, scary dogs, peacocks, chickens, sea lions, unwanted insect friends, and the list goes on. But the one event that stands out the most was this: it was an overcast, drizzly morning. Nobody was around. In other words, I was the only one fool enough to be out. But who’s laughing now – this was amazing. I stopped at my favourite rock near the inukshuk at English Bay (yes, I have a favourite rock). I noticed something splashing about in the water nearby. As it came closer I realized it was an otter with a fish in its mouth. When it was about three meters away from me, an eagle swooped down and attempted to steal the fish (and failed miserably, might I add). The otter slithered away and up onto a rock about a meter from me. He gobbled the fish and swam away again. That’s it. Amazing right! I thought so too.
9. The One with the Deck of Cards
Lost in a world of Florence and the Machine, I looked down to discover a six of hearts sitting beside a nine of diamonds. “Good start to a crib hand,” was my first thought. This was followed by, “I wonder where the rest of the deck is?” Two steps later and I was greeted by a couple more cards. Three more steps, three more cards. The crazy I-have-to-count-things voice in me started up, and I was on the hunt for a whole 52. After about half a km, I was at 52. A whole deck! And a whole lot of waste! As I was wondering what caused this deck to journey itself down the seawall, I turned the corner to the casino and was hit with the full massacre. Some disgruntled blackjack player must have had a meltdown. It was Jacks, Kings, and Queens everywhere. Aces entwined with eights. Twos tangled up with tens. Sevens seducing sixes. A scene to behold. I sure hope somebody cleaned it up!
8. The One with the Free Wine
While running through Kitsilano one afternoon, I looked down and saw a $20 bill. Jackpot! [Insert fist pump and prolonged “Yesssssss!” here]. The wine I later spent it on was deeelicious!
7. The One where Everyone Shared Their Opinions
I think there’s something about my big doe eyes that causes people to want to share their thoughts and opinions with me. Sometimes, said opinions are quite unwarranted and unnecessary. Like yesterday, when a man told me he could tell by my clothes I was from Vancouver Island..., or the teacher who mistook me for a grade seven student and told me I needed to be supervised while in the library (yes, this actually happened. I was the librarian…). And believe it or not, people do this to me even when I’m in the middle of a run. Am I running that slow to make myself appear ready to converse with passersby? Anyways, here are a couple of comments I’ve had while running:
- “you’ve got a nice pace for a young girl”
- “heeeeey…nice drumsticks”
- on going up a hill “you can do it!” (I liked that one)
- and this last one… a lady yelled angrily at me to “get off the road.” I responded with “pardon?” and she said “uhh,..have a nice run” riiiight…
I’m sure there have been many more over the years, but that’s a good snapshot of them.
6. The One with the Blustery Day
This run dates back to Victoria, and my early running days. Victoria, as you may or may not know, is windy on a regular basis. So, when a bit of a stronger wind comes through, Victoria bears the brunt of it. It was on one of these particularly blustery days that I set out for a run. Now, this might be one of those “you had to be there” stories, but let me tell you, anything that was not rooted down, was blowing around furiously. I was running up Yates Street (quite a busy road), when I was hit by a lawn chair flying through the air (it was wicker and I wasn’t hurt, only stunned and mildly embarrassed). As I was recovering from this, a garbage can blew into the road, its contents spewing everywhere. Being the fearless environmentalist that I am, I ran into the road and retrieved the garbage can and what garbage I could manage. Not knowing which house either had come from I placed them both safely on the sidewalk, constructing a surely infallible lawn-chair-over-garbage-can structure that I was sure no wind could ever break. In fact, if you were to walk up Yates to this day, you would still see the structure, boldly marking the day of blusteriness. Well…maybe not. But Winnie the Pooh would have been proud.
5. The One with the Tourists
Another Victoria ditty. I was stopped at the corner of Cook and Fort, waiting to cross, when I noticed a giant tour bus on the road. Now, this is by no means an unusual sight for Victoria, but something about this particular tour bus caught my eye. The tour guide was up at the front speaking into his microphone. His gaze seemed to me directed at me. Having had headphones on, I have no idea what he said. All I know is that the moment he finished speaking, the entire collection of tourists, in unison, turned to me and waved, big smiles on their vacationing faces. I waved back feebly, and, the light having turned green, both the bus and I continued on our journeys. I will never know what that tour guide said about me, though I’ve had many sleepless nights thinking about it. No, not really, but it would be interesting to know. Something like “look there, if you keep quiet you will see a Victorian in her natural habitat, conducting the ritual of working off the pub fare she had last night. A very important practice of the university student.” Or perhaps, “turn to your right and you will see the traditional markings of a young Victorian lady: Lulu lemons, a pony tail, and if you look closely, the slight remnants of a bar stamp on her left wrist. Fabulous.”
4. The One where I was Famous
Arguably, I was quite famous in that last story as well, but in this one, I made it behind a camera! The setting this time, English Bay: home to visiting groups of students from every corner of the world. One particular group from Japan stopped me mid run, to see if I would like to be in their video. I could have said no and continued merrily on my way. But I’ve sometimes got a stutter when it comes to that kind of thing. So, my lack of response and meek smile, led them to believe I was ready for stardom. One person filmed while the other interviewed. I was instructed to look at the interviewer, not the camera, numerous times, leaving me feeling like a young Mary Kate (or Ashley), on the Full House outtakes. But, we finally got the interview down pat. They had wanted to learn about how Vancouverites keep active and fit. “Running!” I proudly proclaimed. But, despite the fact that they stopped me while on a run, they weren’t very interested in running. Instead, they had me explain in great detail, the rules of beer league softball (go Gulls!). After the interview, they told me that it would be used for classes of Japanese students, who would have to translate my English to Japanese. Dear God, sorry students! After all was said and done, they gave me a little doll on a stick as a thank you. Again, I could have politely turned down the doll. But, alas, I ended up finishing my run holding onto a doll on a stick. Yes. This really happened.
3. The One with the Cigarette
This one is a little less light-hearted than the rest. But happened nonetheless. I was running past the casino (my first mistake), when a man walked right towards me, stopped, and threw his cigarette right at me, lit side towards me. It hit me, and hurt! I was so stunned that for a second I just gasped and gaped like a buffoon. But, for anyone that knows me, you know that I probably didn’t let this one slide. Littering! Littering directed at me! Littering of the worst product known to man directed at me! With a burning end to boot! I let this man have it with a series of “!@^$*’s” and “$*&^$#’s” that anyone would be proud of, and of course let him know that birds choke on littered cigarette butts. He responded with a few words of his own. I added in a choice finger, and continued on my way.
This story has two morals:
- I decided I would take his angry vibes, and stub them out right then and there, much like he should have done with his cigarette. It simply gives me more motivation to spread love and positivity, when there are rude and low people like that trying to bring us down.
- Don’t go for runs in front of casinos.
2. The One with the Proposal
While running along the seawall at Sunset Beach, I noticed a plane circling overhead. It was carrying a message: “Jane, will you marry me?” I regarded the plane with mixed excitement and irritation. “Where is Jane? Will I witness a proposal? What a waste of fuel and resources! I would say no on principal if I was proposed to like that!” And so on and so forth…I decided to stop at my favourite rock to rest my legs, when a pack of strangers accosted me. “Are you Jane?!” they all asked excitedly. Thankfully, I was not. I then proceeded to join the throng of excited strangers in the search for Jane. We never found Jane. I hope the proposal all worked out.
1. The One with Darth Vader
And the last story for the day. This one, believe it or not, happened minutes after the proposal story. As I turned to leave my fruitless search for Jane, I noticed a stoic figure on the street above the seawall. He was dressed like Darth Vader and was simply standing there, on a bike, holding a large 80’s-esque boom box. After a few moments, he turned on the boom box and began blasting the Star Wars theme song. Dooo doo, dodododo doooo doo, dododo dooo doo, do do do do. Just like that. And then he rode off into the distance. That was it. Strange? Yes.
Well, there you have it folks. And, if you are wondering, the half marathon was a success! Yes, it rained for the entire 2 hours and 21 minutes that it took me to complete the race (9 minutes under my goal! Hooray!), but it was a fun adventure with good friends that I would definitely do again.