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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Running Through My Eyes: Gibbons Park Edition

I've decided to start a mini column on this blog about the things I see while I'm out running. Not entirely unique or original I fear, but I hope I can provide you with some comical relief and who knows, maybe inspire you to look at your surroundings a little differently as you place one foot in front of the other. These recounts will likely be 1 part workout recap, 1 part sightings and 1 part laughter.

Our team met last night at 6PM to put each other through our first workout of the week.  The weather was perfect (about 15C and sunny) and we set out to warm ourselves up with a 20 minute warm up and a 5 minute pickup (at just over 4:00/km pace).  I was a little worried about the state of my shins, so I stayed to the side of the Thames Valley Pathway (which is part of the massive 130km long Thames Valley Trail)

4 blind men, 4 blind men...
As we returned to our meeting spot for some dynamic drills, strides and stretching we noticed a group of senior men on the grass, oh, roughly 100 meters away from us.  We noticed these men for two reasons:

  1. They were positioned directly ahead of us, in such a way that it made our strides difficult to complete.  They were directly in our usual path. Ah well, time to find a new stretch of grass to use.
  2. They were fly fishing. On the grass.
That's right, these 4 senior men were quite contently fly fishing on the grass at Gibbons Park merely 150 meters away from the Thames River. I wish I had my camera with me to snap a picture, it was truly a sight to see.  

And that brings me to another story I forgot to tell chronologically, so bear with me as we go back in time about 15 minutes.

As I finished up my 5 minute pickup which we always tack onto the end of our warmup phase, I noticed three middle aged men standing between tall trees. I took a cursory glance at first and thought there wasn't much to see, but then I saw it. I look again. Yup. One of the three men was carrying a ratty old tree branch that had clearly fallen over the winter months due to the heavy snow we had in early March. 

Trees and pictures: Awkward at all times!
This ratty old branch was perched upon his right shoulder and extended about 6 feet above and behind him. He held it proudly and  stood tall as though this dead tree branch was a proud kill on the plains of the Serengeti.  I was dumbfounded at the scenario I saw before me, but then it all made sense: He was getting his picture taken. Wait, what? That's not right, it actually didn't make anymore sense than it did at first.

I wish I knew what was going on with the tree-branch-in-the-park photo shoot, but I was too busy running so I just kept on going. Then we proceeded to hammer out 500 and 1000 meter repeats at 5km race pace, did some strides, plyos and a cool down.

L-Tryptophan on legs
I had to rush things along as I still had work to do when I got home, but as I was cooling down a wild turkey hen landed ahead of me on the Thames pathway.  I was surprised to see such a large bird land from the sky so graciously and it proceeded to run beside for 20 meters. That was the strangest part of the contact I had with the turkey and I learned that turkeys can move rather quickly.  The darn thing was sprinting ahead of me and I was quickly falling behind until it got bored, shuffled off the path and just stood there.

And that my friends and guests, is what I saw last night during my workout at Gibbons Park in London Ontario.  It was certainly entertaining and has made me realize that it's okay to take a few seconds to enjoy my surroundings while running...especially when my environment is filled with excitement.

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