Recently I was on the west coast and had the opportunity to run on the Galloping Goose trail. It was AMAZING. I’m surprised I didn’t trip, because the whole time I kept shouting “THIS IS AMAZING” and looking at the scenery rather than my path. I ran near the ocean, in a jungle, by Hatley Castle. I saw a wild peacock. When I was running through the jungle I kept thinking it looked like Jurassic Park. Every breath I took was full of oxygen. The runners I passed were super friendly and said “good morning”. The sun was just rising and it was beautiful. I got a picture taken in front of Hatley Castle, which also happens to be the X-Mansion used in the X-Men and Deadpool movies (and I am such a huge fan I kind of lost my mind). We had to go back after the run so I could get some photos.
The other day I did mountain running in one of the National Parks in Alberta. So often I would stop and just stare out at the mountain range, or down to the lakes, or wherever, because the view was so beautiful. Breathtaking. Literally breathtaking, especially going from sea level elevation to 2200+ metres above sea level in a couple days. The air was not full of oxygen, but smelled like pine and it was refreshing. In some places the paths were barely wide enough for one person, and there was a fair amount of traffic on the mountainside. One teensy misstep and it would be a long way down. I had to stop at one point to take my shoes and socks off and stick my legs and feet in one of the waterfalls. The water was ice cold because it was fed from the glacier, but it was so stunning I couldn’t help it. I suppose it’s impressive that I didn’t just dive right into the lake.
Of course I had the risk when I was running along the mountainside to have a seizure and fall. There was just as much the risk that I could simply twist my ankle, step slightly off, land on loose dirt, and fall. There are always risks with mountains. The Galloping Goose trail is a little less dangerous, however, there is still wildlife. Peacocks were once used to guard Versailles, because they are prettier than guard dogs but can be just as mean.
On both runs, I was so aware of how fortunate I am. Fortunate that I have the opportunity to travel. Fortunate that I have a body that works, is healthy and able to run. Fortunate to see, smell, hear, touch and experience two of the beautiful sights in Canada. This is a beautiful country and I don’t get to see as much of it as I would like. I know that there are a few races across the country that I would like to try (Halifax and Toronto right off the top of my head) and I think that after this past weekend, I should really consider it a lot more. Even with running as an excuse to see those places, to which I have never been.
When I was running, I was not thinking about misfortune. I was not thinking about my experiences with epilepsy, or past injuries. I was not actively considering the possibility of a seizure. All I could think about was how amazing the surroundings were.
This is just one of the reasons I love running so much. It’s an opportunity to be alone, to be with people, to see things that aren’t part of my normal routine. My world would be a very different place without running and without a positive perspective. What kind of person would I be if I let misfortune guide my decisions? I wouldn’t have run through a dinosaur park, and I wouldn’t have put my feet in glacier water on the mountain. I would have missed out on amazing things that I’ve never experienced before. The world would be a smaller place if I stopped, or had never started. I couldn’t imagine letting my condition stop my world from growing.
Having faced death outrunning velociraptors in the jungle, I treated myself to a latte. Having faced death on the mountainside, I treated myself to a beer and, more importantly, an icepack. In reality, the real treat was feeling those places and seeing a little bit more of what’s out there.