Interesting Places

Depending on how the rest of my holiday-countdown week shapes up, how the holiday break happens (or not), and a couple of pandemic-related decisions that have yet to be made get sorted, going out on the winter trails last night for a six klick run in the falling snow may have marked my last run with the crew of this year.

describe your 2021 in terms of fitness, health, mind and body.

In fact just about a week ago a new bridge opened up crossing the mighty North Saskatchewan river.

About five years ago the old and well-loved foot bridge at the same location was closed (amidst protest) as construction of a new leg of our rapid rail transit system was officially started. The Tawatinâ Bridge which opened last week now stands in its place and is an LRT rail bridge with a wide pedestrian foot bridge suspended below it. The view from that footbridge is of the city, the river, and a huge collection of indigenous art embedded into the concrete.

We parked near that bridge last night even as the snow started to fall and then we ran a loop through the river valley trails near downtown, a run that concluded with crossing the bridge (on foot) for the first time.

It was dark, snowy, and the bridge was spectacularly lit and illuminated brilliantly even by the frozen precipitation all around and in the air.

If it was my last crew run of 2021, it was a fitting one.

We call it another year of lockdowns and uncertainty, but to be sure for much of the world it marks the first full calendar year, January through December, of what is turned out to be the embodiment of that famous curse “may you live in interesting times.”

Who knew interesting times would be so repetitive and boring.

Admittedly in the last two years I’ve lost a measurable amount of my fitness.

I entered 2020 with the plan of training for and running the Chicago marathon, while two years later (not having ever stepped a single foot in Chicago after all) I plod out ten klick runs on the regular, but can’t barely conceive of training for a full marathon distance lately.

Running has kept me healthy though… mentally, physically and soulfully.

That likely has as much to do with a core group of six or seven people as anything involving sneakers or trails.

That said, a run like the one we did last night would have been an unusual adventure two years ago. Meeting somewhere other than the running store. Meeting at a time off the regular schedule. Running a course that was as much exploration and discovery as it was an exercise in fitness and training.

The pandemic, in blocking off the regular pattern of things, has disrupted so much in negative ways, but in adapting to those disruptions it has created interesting changes.

May you run in interesting places isn’t so much a curse as it is a cure for the mind and body.

And we certainly spent 2021 running through interesting places.