I guess it is just a part of living in an urban environment... a mere stone's throw from the ghetto... or maybe it has to do with being so close to the Birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, People's Park, and Marijuana Mecca (aka Berkeley)... that makes this place thick with 'characters.' But they are not usually hanging out down on the Bay Trail.
That's where I do my long runs right now... the Bay Trail. I usually see very few runners when I go out... must be a weird running time of day. I often see cyclists and walkers. The walkers are usually bird-watchers or couples chatting or families. I have never before seen a Drunken Bum on the Trail. Until today.
I had gotten into a really nice groove. It wasn't too cold and I had dressed perfectly for the occasion... my short-sleeved shirt and favorite pants (clean today). I was 2+ miles into it and was at a make-or-break point mentally and logistically (my husband was taking my sons to see Tron and I had to be home in time for them to make the show... and I was cutting it a little close... they would really let me feel their disappointment if I screwed this up). There was this guy there at the junction. Weaving. Smelly. Drunk. He was lost. He was trying to get to Highway 101... on foot. Drunk. And he had gotten bad directions and wanted to know if he could get there by following the Trail. This is what he was wanting to do. Unfortunately, he didn't just want directions... he wanted conversation. :( I have a hard time blowing people off, so I did have a brief conversation with him. It was circuitous and meaningless and unmemorable. Then he started off and so did I.
I ran for a few steps, continuing my same direction, then realized I'd be late if I went to my normal turn-around point AND it was now getting sort of dark SO I decided to vary the run a little. I made a little loopy-doo in a new place and then headed back up the way I had come. After about 15 minutes, there he was. Still weaving. Still smelly. Still drunk. But no longer lost... thanks to me :) But as I started to pass him, he started running! Yes, he started RUNNING!
"Wait!" he slurred. "You're beating me!"
"Happy New Year!" I said, as I started pulling away from him.
"You can't beat me!" he puffed, as he picked up his pace to stay even with me. "How can you run so fast?"
And then he (thankfully) dropped off and continued
I finished up in just under an hour, the boys got to see Tron, my hip is bugging me, and it's 2011!
Happy New Year, everyone!
(And remember to enter my giveaway... unless you don't like good movies, that is).