Thursday, May 24, 2012

A jog along Regents Canal - slow and easy does it


It all started as a passing remark. "You're growing sideways," Wife noted. I need not look down at my ever expanding girth - the tightness of my jeans is evident enough. I no longer need a belt to hold it up; nightly 150g packets of cheesy crisps made sure of that.

Summer's finally here and it did take its time. The English weather is said to be fickle for good reasons. Just last week we had hail in central London and this week we are bathing in 24C sunshine. Unlike say the Scottish weather (which is almost always cold), the English weather is like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates - you never know what you're gonna get.

Yesterday seems like a good time to go for a jog along Regents Canal. Apparently, others were thinking the same too. The path towards Broadway Market from Angel was packed with joggers, dog walkers, cyclists and even entire extended families with armies of toddlers in tow.

If you have been down the path before you would realise that it is at most three metres at its widest and less than half of that at its narrowest. Unsurprisingly, the chokepoints are the parts under the handful of bridges along the way. I try to keep away from the water edge when I'm under a bridge. That means having to crouch (and I'm not tall by any definition) to let cyclists bypass me on the water's edge. Clearly, having some moss in my hair (from the bridge's underside) is preferred to a dip in the murky waters. I'm not about to do a Boris any time soon.

Shoot me if you will but I do like the fact that summer is really short in England. That way, when the sun is out, you can really see the joy in people's faces. Back home where it's 30C throughout the year, people actually carry umbrellas for the sunlight. Over here in London, you'd get weird stares if you do that.

As I made my way down to Regents Canal, you can almost feel the cheer - kids were bouncing down the path, a bunch of canoeists were splashing at each other with their paddles, some couples prefer to cuddle on the side benches while others are contented with a novel. Needless to say, Towpath Cafe and Waterline Bar were packed too. As I got closer to Victoria Park, the murals (or grafitti if you prefer) on the bridges get bolder. That took the mundanity out from the run.

I don't think I'll ever get used to jogging on a circular track or a treadmill for the matter again. Well, one day when my knees give way, I might just have to. But right now, I'm perfectly happy pounding the pavement with the sun in my eyes and the breeze on my face.

p.s. If you are making your rounds along Regents Canal and happen to chance upon a Chinese guy who looks like he's struggling even at a snail's pace. Be kind to him and say hi.

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