Little did I know that when I was running behind the two drunks who were staggering up the street, 24K into my long run, that I'd be launching in to a mini road race with one of them chasing me with a stick and a picture of his 'lost dog.'
But lets back up to a good 14K earlier, when I was about an hour into the run. I snapped this picture below of the view of downtown. Just moments earlier, I witnessed a group of 'polar bear' swimmers at the lake. I found it a little odd cause it just looked like they were hanging out after plunging into the water. No crowd watching, just about 20 of them standing on the rocks. It was -7C and probably -15C with windchill.
I haven't gone true long distance and I was looking forward to finally going long. I haven't done a hell of a lot of endurance so this was a big week for me, two 10 milers on the weekdays and today's planned 18 miler.
I did a 10 mile out and back on the waterfront and then I did the next 8 miles in the city. City running is always an adventure. You veer in and out of crowds, you can't ever imagine what is around the next corner and, from time to time, run into real idiots.
Like the two guys who were up ahead of me. I knew it was trouble. First guy had a tree branch and a 8x11 printout. He was waving the stick, holding up the paper at passing cars. His buddy had torn jeans, a baggy sweater and was staggering to the right.
As I passed them, stickboy raised his branch at me and whacked me on the behind. WTF?!
I took a few strides, turned and made a gesture while saying, well, WTF?!, then turned around to to jog to the intersection.
They both started running beside me:
Stickboy: 'I can run faster than you!'
Drunkboy: 'uh, ugh,'
We stop at the light and there's other people around, and the both circle me.
Stickboy: 'What's going on, it's Sunday. What's wrong'
Drunkboy: Something indiscernible while putting his arm around me. I can smell the alcohol. It's 2 p.m., he's been drinking heavily.
I shove drunkboy, saying 'get your hands off me'
Stickboy: 'What's wrong, why you pushing us'
Me: I point down at the stick 'You hit me with that, what is that, a weapon'?
Stickboy: 'I was just playing, I'm looking for my dog'
I see this torn up letter sized poster of an admittedly cute dog. I feel immediately sorry for it -- and in retrospect happy that its rid of these owners.
Me: 'Too bad, haven't seen him' I see the light change, and I start running across the street
This is where it gets good. Stickboy starts running beside me. As we reach the curb, I deke right, sending him into the street (stupid him), and then start upping the pace.
Stickboy is running right on my heels. He's got some speed but there's one thing I like to think. You take a marathoner in the latter part of a training run, and even on a bad day, he'll take down any drunken freak who thinks they can 'run fast'. As I'm going into stride speed a hundred metres in, I still hear him on my heels and I wave up my hands three or four times as if to say, 'whatever, try to hunt me down.' Pedestrians and drivers are staring on. It's a good show.
We pass a hospital and I'm near gunning it and then he yells 'He stole my TV!!' which is, I guess, the thing to say when you got your ass whooped by a runner and you're forced to stop. I don't even slow down for another 200 metres because who'd give him the satisfaction of having me looking back. He can eat my dust.
That got my blood boiling and fuelled me for the rest of the run.
30K or 18.67 miles in 2:40