The boat race
It was my mid-week run: an early Wednesday morning, mist already rising over the river, still icy cold out.
Gloves and woolly ear-warmer a given.
That day I decided to follow the Moselle river which leads to Trier in Germany, instead of the smaller, swan-filled Sauer river that usually keeps me company. I marked out two miles to do a there-and-back route. I would get to the next village, spin on my heels and try to burn it back slightly faster into the biting wind.
The walking (or in this case, running) and biking path is right next to the river. That morning traffic was high, lots of boats shifting their wares from Germany to Luxembourg and France and back. Barges piled with scrap metal, what looked like coal; others with their goods hidden.
Watching the boats meander the water’s bends took my mind off running. It was easy, striding out, breathing out my own personal fog, ignoring the cold. Just me, the boats and the river.
I turned at two miles to head back. Ahead of me on the river was now a boat that had just passed me. I focused on my music and stride. On my right over the fields I had cars burning past me. But if I looked to my left, well, the boat was getting closer.
Was I running faster than the boat? Eyes on the path, I stepped it up a little. I didn’t want to keep glancing towards the river, the barge was long, but wait… yes, I was winning this race!
As one song finished and another started, that short, silent pause was filled with metal clanging against metal and shouts. I turned. I was the only one on the path. Then I saw them: two men on the control deck of the barge cheering me on. I waved. The music started again and I was off. I had a slight detour getting back to Luxembourg and crossing the other river to get home – could I keep in front of the boat?
I dug in, hoping they wouldn’t up their speed or let me win. This was a real race, man against machine. Who would win?
I sprinted my ‘home straight’ and turned to see the barge coming up behind me. The sun was trying to poke out and I stood stretching, watching its length pass me by as the sun tried to poke out from its grey morning blanket. When those rays hit the side of the boat I saw it. Gotcha.
The boat’s name. Don’t tell me how fast they go. I don’t care. My boat race. My win. Gotcha.
Posted on December 13, 2013, in General, Running and tagged 4-mile run, Germany, gotcha, Luxembourg running, river barges, running, the boat race, Trier, Wasserbillig. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.