Monday, January 09, 2017

Running Across an Abandoned Railway High Bridge in the Dark

I was standing in the jammed boardroom with 80+ coworkers for the weekly Monday morning conference call and I had to choose between 1) making an awkward mid-meeting departure through the crowd; or 2) possible fainting or throwing up from overheating.

As per usual, I slept in later than I should have so I made up for it by jogging the 3 blocks to work in my suit and tie. I made it just as people were gathering for the first morning meeting of the new year, and I moved through the throng at the doorway to find a spot in one of the corners. As the meeting went on, I found that I was unable to cool down from the jog. I unbuttoned the cuffs of my shirt. I shifted positions, but I was starting to lose it. Finally, I had to pull the chute. This was my first time attending this meeting and bouncing my face off the corner of the table in a faint was not the first impression I wanted to make.

Once out the door I immediately shucked my suit jacket and grabbed a cold can of ginger ale from the pop machine, holding it against my face to try to cool down. Before long I was feeling much better. When the rest of the team came in from the meeting they were buzzing about the young female Associate who had fainted in the meeting. Apparently, everyone was feeling the heat in there. Poor girl. I am sure that is not the reputation that she wants to have.

Finally everyone is back from vacation today, so some of the pressure is off for us. That's good because I have some more insurance arrangements to take care of today, plus a few phone calls with the moving company that is coming today to pick up my truck to ship it to Toronto by rail. It's been a bit of a concern because it has been really cold outside and we've had to leave the truck outside because the boat is now parked on our driveway, because a neighbour near Ross' new house didn't like it on Ross' driveway and complained to the city. R had to figure out how to get the truck out of the garage, and then she had to have Ross help her jump start it in the middle of the bitter cold. The hassle pays off and the truck is finally on its way. The moving company sends a guy out later in the afternoon to do an estimate on the moving cost. Poor R is also trying to paint the master bedroom and organize Katie's birthday party in the midst of all this. And she has to take the car to the autobody shop tomorrow for a quote.

It's a busy day but I am able to get back in time to meet Gareth J for a run. This time, the plan is to run 7.5 km up to Greektown to meet the Scarborough missionaries for dinner. One of them is Dalton M who was in our 17th ward young men's program where I was the YM President and Gareth was the Scout Leader. Elder M is serving in Toronto while he waits for his US visa to go to the Denver South mission. Turns out his companion is from just outside of Calgary too, so that's fun. This Greek place (Messina) means business. They bring out massive portions and everyone is stuffed, especially Elder M who orders the crazy meat platter that I tried when Gareth and I came here a few weeks ago. It's cool to see him now. When he was young he wouldn't say a word to anyone. Now he has figured out how to handle himself and is doing really well as a missionary.

We part ways and Gareth and I run off into the night. Rather than return back the way we came, along the Don River Pathway, we mix it up a bit. This takes us, well, essentially everywhere. We go across a huge bridge, then we drop down some sketchy wood stairs to the river, past what looks like a squatter's camp. We only stay down there for a bit before charging up a really icy path back to the top of the ridge. Up there we find a necropolis, a petting zoo, and a police cruiser. After a bit along we the ridge we end up back down at the river, exploring a path that had been blocked off when we came though earlier on the way to dinner. We end up following an unused rail line, which has weeds and bushes starting to grow across it. The tracks hug the side of the river valley and gradually work their way up the slope. On the map we see that we are supposed to intersect with a road, which we plan to follow back across the river, but when we get there, we find that we are way up above it, and these tracks turn into a train bridge high above the Don Valley Parkway. Always the instigator, I say we should run across it. It's a bit freaky, running down the middle of the tracks, looking down at 3-4 inch gaps between the ties beneath our feet. Gareth takes it pretty easy. I take a lot of pictures.

On the other side the tracks continue off through the woods but we still want to get down to the river. We head down the steep slop below the bridge, past yet another squatter's camp, down to the old brickworks, which is apparently now a trendy outdoor market or something. There's nobody there on a January evening, but there's hardly anyone in any of the places we go. We head off down the iciest pathway yet, finally finding our way onto a dry pathway that takes us back towards downtown. Gareth says that he is done running and doesn't want any more detours, as the heavy Greek meal was giving him a bad cramp. When we finally get back, we have logged 21 km for the evening. It is possible that we have burned off all the calories, but that is only because we didn't get the meat platter.

When I talk to the family they say that they are doing their best to come up with meals that they can make without using the oven, as it is on the fritz yet again. When it rains, it pours.

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