Thursday, November 20, 2008

the madness of the November runner

I have gone running twice this week, both evenings when I arrived home earlier than normal from work so there was a little bit of fading light out there for me.

Running in November in Minnesota, especially when you have an 8 to 4:30 job, requires some conquering of demons. First and foremost, there is the ever-increasing cold. Pah. I reminded myself I used to regularly go cross country skiing in similar or colder temperatures. It was 18 degrees on my car thermometer when I turned into the driveway. I have cross country ski bibs that are plenty warm for my legs, and any layering stuff will work. And winter hat and mittens, of course.

Next, there is dark. A formidable demon, considering many of us subconsciously fear the dark. But there is nothing out there, especially where I live, to fear about the dark that is not also present during the day. There isn't even a need for reflective gear; if a car happens to come along the road, an unlikely occurrence, I will have enough advance notice of it to move over if I happen to be running in the middle of the road. I don't really care if they see me or not, and sometimes would prefer that they don't.

A side note to running in the dark: I have an LED head lamp, and I ran with it once, but I ended up putting the light on the back of my head and setting it to flashing. The circle of light I get with a light source is narrowing; letting my eyes get accustomed to darkness enables me to see more overall.

Next, a few lesser demons including wind, precipitation (haven't dealt with it yet), and the overwhelming desire to just curl up in front of the woodstove in a warm blanket (which is stronger than any of the aforementioned!) However, I have surprised myself. Today, on the drive home from work, I talked myself out of running at least twice. When I got home, I sucked it up and ran.

Running has been the best medicine for me. Running makes me strong. I feel better about my body than I have in years, I feel more able to face the cold weather...and somewhere in the twilight, when I am drawing in cold breaths and hearing the testimony of dead grasses in the wind, listening to the rhythm of my feet hitting the ground...that is when I feel alive. That is when I feel both excited and subdued, but nevertheless feeling. That is when I come across moments of clarity, where I feel the presence of a higher power that gives me this strength.

I am thankful for the ability to run.


cindy said...

Deb, I was wondering if you were still running. I'm so glad you are! It's hard this time of year to do anything after 4:30pm. All I want to do is fatten up with chocolate and hibernate! Good for you! Stick to it!

pablo said...

These are the kinds of sentiments I wouldn't be surprised to read in something by Thoreau.

MojoMan said...

Good for you! Keep it up.

I know it's hard to get out the door, especially when it's lonely, dark and cold. Maybe you could try going at lunch with a co-worker, or take one of the kids? Sometimes in the evening I start some slow food cooking on a low flame or in the oven before I go so I know dinner will be waiting when I get back.

In any case, keep it up. Always remind yourself how good you feel after you've run. Sometimes I have to chide myself: Do I have any discipline, or not?

It's a sign! My verification word is "worth"!

RuthieJ said...

Good for you Deb! I have turned into a knitting couch potato, but you've inspired me to try walking the dog again when I get home from work (we could both use the exercise and darkness is no excuse because I'm home by 2:30!)

Floridacracker said...

My lungs were burning with the cold air as I read this.
Good job.

Lynne said...

I'm proud of you Deb! Maybe I'll be inspired one day...

BEAUTIFULLY written by the way.

Deb said...

Cindy- I took a short break when I hurt my foot on Election Day. I was too happy when I brought Mr. Attitude upstairs, and I missed a step and sprained something on the side of my right foot. It still hurts, but not when I run.

Pablo- I was waxing poetic there, wasn't I? I think I'll do more with the "testimony of grasses" thing.

MojoMan- Greg Brown has a song called "Cold and Dark and Wet". It totally describes November here.

I think my sheer enthusiasm for running will see me through. I did a 3+ mile run this morning.

RuthieJ- Go for it! I need to start bringing a dog along with me.

FC- Don't that cold air feel good!

Lynne- Thank you.