Running in the Dark
I have a love-hate relationship with my alarm clock. I’ve tried just about every type of alarm clock out there, even going as far as to buy one that vibrates at 110 decibals and vibrates my mattress! Alas, they all fall victim to the same demon…my desire to stay warm and cozy in the wee hours of the morning. However, the one thing that has gotten me out of bed at some otherwise unreasonable hours has been long weekend runs. This past Saturday was just such a run, my last 5-hour run to be exact. I didn’t want to spend the whole day running, so getting up early and knocking it out seemed like a perfectly logical decision. The alarm clock went off at 3:30AM. I hate logic.
None-the-less, I quietly rolled out of bed, and proceeding to stumble around the house getting ready. This was probably the coldest morning we’ve had in Iowa in quite some time, and after so much heat, it was pleasantly wonderful to slip a thin pair of running tights on and bust out a hat and pair of gloves. I planned to meet up with my normal Saturday AM group at 7AM, which meant fending for myself for about 3 hours. It also meant leaving the leaving in the dark. The streets are extremely quiet this early in the morning, and there is definitely something satisfying about being able to run down the middle of the road, without a car in sight!
However, the nature of the time/distance I was heading out to tackle meant I wanted to find a relatively long route so I wasn’t passing close to my house frequently, the temptation of crawling back into bed nipping at my toes (along with the cold…26 degrees, to be exact!). I headed south, and ended up on a fairly long stretch of road just outside of town. Under normal circumstances, this road isn’t very highly traveled, and at 4:30 in the morning, there wasn’t a car in sight. There also wasn’t much in the way of light.
I had brought a red blinking light to wear and alert cars to my presence, but didn’t think to bring any sort of light for my own benefit. As it turns out, I have a lot of interesting thoughts when I’m running in the dark. Most of them drift to the more illogically paranoid variety 🙂
Thought: What if I get hit by a drunk driver waking up in a ditch and driving home?
Response: Time to start looking for random tire tracks in the grass as I run.
Thought: What if a wild dog runs out at me?
Response: My fists clench, and water bottle becomes a defensive weapon.
Thought: What if I’m attached by a random lunatic murderer?
Response: A) Seriously, Adam? You live in the middle of Mayberry! Wait, lots of serial killers come from small towns…crap! B) fix posture, close fists.
Thought: I wonder if I’m going to end up running in the dark during Surf the Murph?
Response: I’m looking at buying a new hat with built-in LED lights 🙂
Thought: Seeing the sun rise as I breath in crisp fall air and enjoy my time alone is wonderful!
Response: Relaxing and enjoying the run, one foot in front of the other.
I happened to run into some friends I don’t normally run with and was able to tag along on their route for about 8 miles before I met up with my normal group as well. Sometimes it’s great to live in a small community where everyone knows everyone else! The run felt great overall, aside from my fingers and toes not really completely warming up until mile 18, of course. When I walked back in the house around 9:15AM, with 28 miles under my belt, I couldn’t have been happier, both to have it done so early, and to pour that first cup of coffee. Let the tapering begin!