Long have I had a love-hate relationship with running. I often go months without running, favouring other forms of exercise over a merciless pounding of pavement. Unexpectedly, the urge to run strikes me. Sometimes it is idealism that moves me. The sun is at the right angle and the breeze is a perfect temperature. I decide today will be a beautiful day for a run. Other times, I’m moved by an almost physical inclination. I wake up feeling that today will be a day I run. The problem with this physical inclination is that I’m mentally no more excited about running than I am on an ordinary day when stony-faced runners pass me on perfectly walkable sidewalks. In spite of my misgivings, I lace up my shoes. Anticipating a wedgie, I shift my spandex shorts to their correct place. I queue a double play of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” and I take off to Bruno Mars singing, “Smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy.”
The first 400 m of my run is all down hill. I run like the wind. I’m the fastest woman alive. I hit flat ground and make a right. I doubt my choice and turn in the opposite direction. I pass six pedestrians and a toddler on a tricycle. I make my way along the seawall as the bass drops on “Too Original” by Major Lazer I have run one kilometre. Running is wonderful.
I climb the stairs up to Cambie Bridge. I feel less excited about the stairs but I don’t let them put a damper on my enthusiasm. I don’t stop when I reach the top because I have endurance and I’m not thinking about how my left shoes is too tight and my ponytail is too loose, not at all.
I am on the other side of the seawall, right across from the park where I started my run. I’ll get there soon. I just have to run across another bridge. I can make it across another bridge, no problem. I pass under Granville Bridge and decide not to cross it because the heavy traffic and sidewalks without barriers scare me. I have to take a longer route to get home now and the bridge has planted a seed of doubt in my mind. I dodge pedestrians inconsiderately eating ice cream cones in my vicinity. Running is wonderful, I try to remind myself, as I side eye a couple eating burritos.
I climb up the stairs to Burrard Bridge. I reach the top and try smile at a happy woman stretching before her run. Only half my mouth manages an upwards turn. The view from the bridge is beautiful but I’m only halfway through what has to be the longest bridge in the entire city. I make it off the bridge in a state of full loathing. I pass a row of car dealerships and a Canada goose staring at a gold car through the window of a Bentley dealership. (This isn’t a usual part of my run but I thought it was deserving of mention.) I’ve been running for hours. I pass Granville Island and I glare at tourists who have the nerve to walk the path along which I drag my suffering body. My right shoulder experiences pain out of proportion with its level of participation in the run. I will die on this path; I will know a young death. The happy woman from the top of Burrard Bridge passes me. How can a human move so quickly?!
I round a curve and know I’m approach the park where I started. “Blockbuster Night Part 1” by Run The Jewels pumps through my earbuds. I run up the hill like a bat out of hell. I hit flat ground and I stop. I breathe a sigh of relief and walk the final block home.
For the whole range of emotions I felt, I was gone for less than fifty minutes and I ran 7.5 kilometres.
Song of the Day: Happiness by Goldfrapp