The Canada Day Spud Run is ten kilometres long but in my mind I covered several hundred. Our course marshal led us across the highway to the start and already my thoughts began roaming as they took me back to a few early mornings running various trails behind this same woman. As we rounded the corner at the One Mile dog beach, there were her twins cheering for us all. On the boardwalk, I cruised out to Whistler, having glimpsed some participants from there already entering the woods on the other side of the lake.
The course photographer leapfrogged past and as he positioned himself, I recalled the many times the late Bonny Makarewicz would be in town for this same race, kneeling at the side of the road with her big smile peeking out from behind her camera. I visited more places in Whistler once I reached the dyke trail, recalling that my resort town friends referred to this area as Rebel Cow Country because of the Bull at Large sign that used to be there.
Further on, I spied a heart shaped rock in the gravel and wondered if the woman ahead of me, who is known for her heart spotting penchant, had also seen it. Of course, this reflection bounced me up to a heart shape on a tree off the road on the way to the Hurley-one which became the introductory image in a fiftieth anniversary slideshow for my parents. In my mind, my mom is a young girl again, ambling along the tide pools at Boundary Bay in Tsawassen, so I ran there for awhile before skipping over to North Vancouver to say happy Canada Day to Dad.
At five kilometres (seems like more, no?) I detoured briefly up to Savona on Kamloops Lake, since my friend was directing traffic at the bridge and he sometimes stays in the same campground at Savona as we do. He also fishes at one of the little lakes near there, so I puttered up that road too but didn’t catch a thing.
Entering the trees by the river, I boomeranged back to town because my physiotherapist was running behind me and I needed to concentrate on keeping my shoulder blades down as she has directed me. She passed me and informed me that I now had the job of sweep-last again! I briefly flew to Kelowna and reran most of my trail race there then I soared out to Squamish and up the Sea to Sky gondola to another trail run where I unwittingly became the sweep. At that point, I resorted to my “Iamnowhere” mantra reminding myself to say it as “I am now here” rather than, “I am nowhere.”
Seven kilometres, marked with our flag, took me up to the meadows again, to the upper valley school where I first learned to sing, “Oh Canada.” Back out to Brackendale, I rambled after that, as my teacher and her daughters, who had become my friends, moved there after the school closed down. A horse whinnied and that brought me to where I was again, hoping to catch a glimpse of the grey and brown renegades who have been lurking about the area and becoming famous on the Pemberton Community Forum along with the pooping geese at One Mile Lake.
The corner of the connector trail sent me partway overseas since the “one kilometre to go” friend who greeted me there belongs to our Tuesday morning coffee group, and one of the gang just came back from a tour to Iceland. With only half a kilometre remaining, my trip overseas ended because I had to give a last kick to the finish line and I needed to be fully present to do it.
And so I finished the race, thinking “I am now here” as I have been for almost sixty years. I can look around and see faces and places that link me to the past and to the future and I don’t believe it was entirely the post run glow that made me feel darn lucky to celebrate this day in Pemberton.