Pathetic run today after work. It was my favorite Stanley Park circuit but the performance was awful. It took me 70 minutes to cover 12 km, when I normally do the 11 km Trout Lake run in under an hour. But for my own defense, I will invoke the fact that I had a bad cold last week and pretty much spent the week-end in bed. There. I feel better.

Here follows a description of the circuit, for the benefit of Anonymous mostly, but too for anybody else who cares…

Of course, I can’t say that I fully appreciate the grandiose panorama while running. I’m concentrating hard and focusing on putting one foot ahead of the other while avoiding knee injuries and a cardiac arrest. My world shrinks to a narrow tunnel aimed at the ground before me and turned inwards, towards vital signs and various parameters to be kept under tight control, like calve cramps, side pains, right shoulder tension, diversion of sweat away from the eyes, music control and human traffic avoidance.

But the scenery remains as a blurry background and a support to my failing mental power. I catch a glimpse of the north shore mountains, feel the coolness of the forest, barely notice the overhead passage of the Lions Gate Bridge, zoom by Siwash Rock, ignore other runners (well, most of them). But I am there, it’s all that matters. The park lends me energy, the sea gives me momentum, the mountains call my name and the city of glass drives me back to her.

The starting point is the north end of Burrard street, not far from the cruise ship terminal at Canada Place, off bus #22. From there I head west roughly following the waterfront but only joining it at the end of Coal Harbour (after marker 1 km) where Stanley Park actually begins. The Vancouver Aquarium is located right above marker 2. Between markers 3 and 4, on the southern end of the point, is the 9 o’clock gun, a real old style gun that fires (electronically nowadays) at 21:00 sharp every night.

Then beyond marker 4 and then 5 are the replicas of the Empress of Japan figurehead and the Girl in the Wetsuit, free variation on Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid. The Lions Gate Bridge is lapsed right after marker 6 and then I’m facing the setting sun. Siwash Rock shoots out of the water between markers 7 and 8, and the beaches appear, Third and Second. The swimming pool by Lost Lagoon is already quite busy, and finally civilization re-emerges and the West End buildings take over alongside First Beach. By marker 11, I’m so ready to quit. But then again, so was I at marker 4. I get into False Creek and just before the Burrard Bridge, I leave the Seawall and climb to catch my 22 bus back home on Burrard itself.

It’s a great open loop, minimal street running, no repetition, lots of other fools running both ways, that’s encouraging; it doesn’t get much better than that. I could, though…


[Photo obtained via the great Gmaps Pedometer, a Google Maps API adaptation.]