08 Dec Winter Running Begins
Winter. Not quite, somewhere in between–dry roads, wet paths, a dusting of snow, can’t-see-in-the-dark ice, etc. The conditions are consistently, inconsistent. That also includes the temperature. The question of what to wear, (if I think about it too long) can become annoying. Yet this week I’ve had two enjoyable, exhilarating runs outside in the early morning hours. Here’s how I do my best to make it that way.
One Early Morning (in the darkness): The night before I peeked at the weather forecast to get a heads up. Set out my clothes and gear ready for morning. Set an alarm. Sleep. The morning-first-look-out-the-door saw a surprising amount of snow on the ground. Not to be deterred I suited up and headed out. Good choice! The roads were icy, yet the softer snow along the edges felt safe and cushiony for my run. In the darkness, with overcast skies (I prefer to see twinkling stars or a beaming moon) the street lights illuminated patches of water that had frozen overnight. Houses had porch lights on, some had Christmas lights still lit. I ran on the streets and ran on the sidewalk; Following in the trail of footprints left even earlier by dog walkers, gave me confidence with the footing. I was amazed how many vehicles had been started, headlights on, idling in driveways. (Another reminder that I was not the only one up before dawn.) Before long I was heading back into the house, feeling better than when the run began.
The Other Early Morning (just after sunrise): People often ask me how I manage to run solo. Answer: Show Up. Quite simply I’ve learned that I just need to show up. This one started with permission to walk or run. Yet once out the door I felt inspired to get moving. I took time to enjoy the sights and sounds–the light of sunrise reflecting above the horizon of the lake, seagulls overhead, ducks on the water, squawking bluejays, and best of all, dry roads underfoot. The good news is that I have an active mind. (Not good at other times.) Today I came up with the idea of ‘playing with tangents’. Let me explain. Rarely are race courses straight lines. Running the tangents of those curves and corners saves a lot of distance, equalling saved energy output. Why not practise? Instead of always running straight I would pick a point at one side, run to it, pick another point and head there. Anyone watching would have been puzzled by all the crisscrossing. Other times I simply focused on running a perfectly straight line, imaginary or real, it didn’t matter. For more variety, I changed up the pace, what runners refer to as ‘fartlek’. No ice. No snow. Not much wind. Quite a change from my run two days prior. Perfect conditions for running.
Final Thought: You may think that I always wake up in the morning, enthusiastic to jump out of bed and get out the door. Wrong!. You are not the only one who wakes up wishing you could fall back to sleep. Nevertheless, over time I’ve realized that if I don’t get up and go, I procrastinate all during the day. Exercise is my preferred way to start the day. If you feel the same (perhaps a different type of exercise), then I suggest you remind yourself to get up and ‘Keep Showing Up’. (…and remember ‘Fun gets Done’)
Cheerios and thanks for reading,