Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

Running with the mosquitoes

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My return flight from Edmonton was delayed and touched down in Toronto at midnight.  This did not bode well for an early morning run today particularly since the weather in Edmonton over the last four days was far cooler, very pleasant actually.  The only down side was that the headlines of the Edmonton daily papers were screaming the news that it was the worst summer ever for mosquitoes.

Sturgeon river

Land of the silver birch, home of mosquitoes

There is a scenic river path in St. Albert, a suburb of Edmonton which runs alongside the Sturgeon river as it peters out.  The water is still, very still. At the best of times you don’t run this route without insect repellent and my first instinct was to skip the river path completely.  However, the thought of running along roads connecting one gigantic sub-division after another with a higher speed limit than similar Toronto roads, did not appeal either so I decided to check out the river path and “bail” if necessary.

Sturgeon river

The St. Albert, AB river path

Happily it was not too bad, except one section where I had to run with both hands leading the way with a propeller motion. On the way back, I did some sections of fast running to coincide with the most bug-ridden sections.  Despite the headlines, this summer did not seem worse than others.  The only thing I noticed was the infiltration of mosquitoes into indoor spaces.  For example, a mosquito landed on the platform of the weight machine while I was doing leg presses at the gym.

Marie Anne Gaboury (geni.com)


This mosquito business brought to mind the adventures of Louis Riel’s grandmother Marie-Anne Gaboury who was the first woman of European descent to travel and settle in what we now call Alberta.  The excellent biography of Louis Riel, Riel, A Life of Revolution, written by Maggie Siggons, mentions her travails while roughing it in the early 1800’s in western Canada, bug bites and all. Edmonton is a land of extremes with the snowiest winter in years, chronicled in my post about that trip: Winter Wonderland   and now a summer pestilence.

I woke to my alarm this morning after four hours sleep and was out the door soon after, for a four miler.  My legs were heavy from running with the mosquitoes but there was a bit of a breeze which took the edge off the heat.  I felt like a trooper, battling heat and jet lag, admittedly a fraction of the gumption that Mary Anne Gaboury would have needed in her cross-Canada travels on foot, canoe and horseback but hey, I’m still proud of me!

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