|Photo by Grace Healy|
The above photo was taken about 2 minutes before the race at Hackey Marshes. I told you it was cold!!! I am in the back row 6th from the left with my hood on -- at that point I still thought that I had a good chance of being able to keep the hood on throughout the race. How naive I was!
Kooky things that have occurred during my runs this term:
1. While playing NikeGrid, I had one man in a relatively quiet neighborhood in the Canary Wharf area start cheering as I emerged out of the phone box. As I ran past him, he yelled, 'Go Olympics! London 2012! London 2012'.
2. Every so often I will encounter a few individuals (at different times, mind you) who, upon seeing me running towards them, also feel the need to start running. Despite the fact that they are almost always dressed inappropriately for such activity (ex. heavy backpack, boots, jeans, etc.). I'm still not quite sure what about me elicits such a response.
3. I've witnessed on two separate occasions a rather enterprising couple who have set up a makeshift stall on Millennium Bridge and advertised 'Fresh Thames-caught fish sandwiches'. They had a fishing pole over the side the bridge, an electric frying pan, assorted sandwich paraphernalia, and were cooking the fish that they caught from the Thames. What is even more ridiculous is that people were actually buying these sandwiches! Now, for those who are unaware, the Thames is incredibly polluted - possibly right up there with the good old Chesapeake. I routinely see debris, tires, and, on one occasion what could possibly have been a dead body, floating down the river. Most of the chemicals that are likely to be in the Thames are the type that can't be neutralized by cooking either. (I learned all about this in Environmental Marine Biology last year). So I shudder to think about what those people were actually eating when they bought one of the 'killer' sandwiches.
4. Being chased by a Jack Russell terrier down Long Lane and Tabard Street while its owner laughed.
5. Being engaged in conversation by homeless men (never women). Today's was priceless:
Homeless man living in the tent city under Waterloo Bridge (perched on the ledge where the tents actually are): "Oi, where ya from? You look like you're from Canada." (How he deduced from my running style/clothing/general appearance that I am not from the UK is uncertain). "Is that why you run so fast? You have to run away from moose? Slow down, there's nought moose in London."
Me (slowing slightly): "Er...no. I'm from the US actually." (Usually do not volunteer this information, but since he was wrapped in a sleeping bag, I figured that it was unlikely he would be able to unwrap himself, jump 10feet down from the tent ledge, and then chase after me without me being able to get away. Plus it is a busy street).
Homeless man: "Right..." (Pause of about five seconds, during which time I prepare to head off again). "You'll be fast because you'll have been running from the Republicans then. I've heard they all carry guns and are led by Sarah Palin."
I was incredulous, of course. Even a homeless man living under a bridge was more aware of US politics (however mistaken he might have been) than most Americans. Amazing. I wish I could say that I went on to correct him, but, frankly, I was amused by the thought of an army of angry gun-toting Republicans led by former (failed) governor Sarah Palin chasing runners. Besides, he then started on to a tangent about how this is a sign of the apocalypse and that 'you can't outrun the apocalypse, lass' so I decided it was time to go. ((As you might guess from this post, I am not too fond of Sarah Palin, her politics, or her recent turn towards reality television. As for Republicans: not all of them have guns. In fact, most do not. And there are a large number of Democrats who do have guns. But as I have pointed out in previous posts, certain stereotypes and images cross into foreign media, which is why the US has to be more careful of the image that it promotes)).
In other news, I am struggling with my essay for Theories. It will get done, of course, but undoubtedly with an immense physical and emotional cost to myself. Still...this is the last thing (besides my IPME presentation on Thursday) that is separating me from the winter holidays. Friday will be a day of freedom and celebration for me!
Days until I cross the Pond: 11
Days until Christmas: 19
Weather situation outside: Cold, looking like the end of the world ("a bit gloomy" as the BBC described it is an understatement).