October has come and nearly gone, and it seems impossible for this to be so. While I have kept up with my goal of meeting 100 miles per month, it has become so much harder for me.
As I mentioned in an earlier post back in September, I started a full-time job at an elementary school, which is great! However, the new schedule of waking up at 4:30 am, 4:45 am or 5:00 am (depending on my workout each day) isn’t easy. So far, I’ve kept up with it, as I know I will feel better if I get that run in compared to what I will feel like if I don’t. With fall in New England, darkness comes earlier and lingers longer in the morning (at least until the time change happens), so many of my October miles have occurred in the dark with a headlamp on.
|Me and my headlamp and attractive crossing-guard vest.|
This has been a new experience for me, and not an entirely awful one (except for the ungodly wake up hour). Once I’m out there running along, I feel privileged. Privileged to be among those who are awake and doing something good for my health. Privileged to have fresh air and a safe place to exercise. Privileged to have woken up at all that morning. It is a weird feeling to be all alone in the world (sort of) and out on the streets when so many others aren’t awake yet. There are a few lights on in a few houses and a few cars starting up, but mostly the city sleeps. It is both eerie and invigorating. But still not easy.
I notice that my pace is slower. I think this is because my sight is hindered with only a small circle of light in front of my feet to light my way. I worry about stepping in potholes (no shortage of which exist in my area) or twisting an ankle on a rock or some other item (acorns, anyone?). I’m not overly concerned about running more slowly, but my competitive self is annoyed.
Then there are the night critters. It is unsettling to be running along in the dark and smell skunk. You can’t tell where it is coming from or if you are about to land upon it up close and personal in your path. Dogs barking at you in the dark are kinda scary, too. Again, not sure if they are outside or in, chained, fenced or free. One morning I had the great pleasure of stepping out of my door and hearing the gorgeous sound of an owl in a tall nearby pine tree. What a delight and an early morning thrill! (And something I surely would’ve missed if not for my new schedule.)
Luckily, the temperatures have been pretty warm all month, so I’ve been able to largely stay outside. I just started back at the gym this past week, though, as I think it is safer than the dark. That’s been ok, too, but boy am I exhausted by the time I get home from work every night! So far, so good with one month of school/work down. I just hope my stamina lasts until school ends in June. I will do everything I can to ensure it.
On the flip-side, it is such a treat to have a weekend run now. I don't have to wake up so early, I get to soak up some sun, and the fall foliage this year has been so spectacular to view while out there. I had to stop the other day to take a panoramic photo while out on my route. It really has been incredible running this month, and I can only hope and wish it continues throughout November. Wouldn't that just be great?! Run on, my friends!
|Panoramic view of my route on a gorgeous fall day.|