Runs in the Dark

It’s that time of year when the outdoors can seem a little less welcoming than before. The siren call of the couch/bed is quite loud, particularly when the weather is dark, wet, and blustery. With the holidays looming, there are countless things to be done in preparation, and it’s a fine excuse to abandon any running plans. I’m also at the tail end of my off-season. While that doesn’t mean I am abstaining from running completely, it does make an easy excuse when it feels rather unfriendly outside and my motivation seems to have fled.

However, there is a hidden joy in going out for a run when it’s dark. Particularly in the morning when the city is still slumbering in warm beds and you’re out on the road, bundled yet still chilly. I often think, “Why am I not still cozied up under the covers like a sensible person? This is ridiculous.”

It’s quiet. My headlamp is on, and that little patch of light is my new best friend. The darkness doesn’t feel sinister, but private, like it’s your own little world at that moment. It’s just me, the sidewalk, and my thoughts. Typically when I start a morning run, I’m a bit slow, and my body takes a some time to wake up and reacquaint itself with movement. As I plod along, I see the city lights in the distance. A lovely sight, but a little reminder of my waiting responsibilities that adds a hint of urgency to my run. Otherwise, though, time seems to have stopped in the darkness.

As I slowly tick off the miles, the darkness yields to a rising sun. This time of year, there generally isn’t a beautiful sunrise. It’s a gradual lightening of the sky from a velvet black, to a slate gray, and finally to an ashen silver that sits low in the sky. Seattle and her perpetual grey, wet, blanket.

As I near home, the world seems to have finally awakened. People are hurrying by with their coffee in hand, and cars fill the streets. The magic of the darkness is gone, and all of the tasks and duties of the day beckon (sometimes rudely). At least I’ve started the day peacefully, and I’m energized from the meditative run in the dark. Perhaps tomorrow I can find peace in the darkness again…

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