Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nighttime Running

I didn't fit my 7-mile mid-week run in before sunset yesterday. Depression ensued as hopes for a "perfect week" were dashed. The stony silence that accompanied me must have made for terrible dinner company. Poor Alec and Brent. Then, a brilliant idea flashed through my head. Why not run after dark? I live in a safe neighborhood. I have a headlamp. Of course! Brent hated the idea but I would hear none of his objections. After reading to Alec at bedtime, I headed out the door.

I selected main roads to run along since they were lined by sidewalks dimly lit with lampposts. Oddly enough, I had never run there before, maybe because the route seemed dull. By starlight, however, it was an exciting adventure. The cool, moist night air felt refreshing against my skin. I couldn't see my feet hitting the pavement below. I only felt the soft bobbing of each footfall; I felt strangely disembodied. The rhythm was soothing, and although my pace was faster than normal, it felt effortless. My thoughts drifted, my mind quieted and went still. "So this is what I'm supposed to do during the meditation phase at the end of Yoga....but it's always so much work in Yoga," I thought to myself.

My normal mindset is a blind rush of madness as thought after useless repetitive thought races through, exhausting the essence of my being. However, the effort I must take to quiet my mind and relieve my stress is so inordinate; it seems like so much work. I just exhaust myself. Nighttime running quieted my mind, body and soul so completely, it was like a gift had been bestowed upon me. Running soothes my mind normally anyway but at night, the effect was ten-fold. It was magical. Instead of thinking, analyzing, examining, I just observed. I became aware of my surroundings, how wonderful my body felt; I became fully present. The miles flew by at a breakneck speed as I lolled off in my reverie. I could have stayed there forever. I felt fully recharged when I returned home, infused with a mystical energy. Odd that to slow down my mind, I have to speed up my legs.

11 comments:

bunnygirl said...

I like nighttime running and before-sunup running for just the reasons you mentioned. Since I moved two years ago, it's a bit of a drive to a safe place for it, but I never regret it when I make the effort.

Kelli said...

Hubby bought me runner's mase because I tend to head out when it dark (and youre right, its the most peaceful time to run). Its got a hand strap so its convenient to hold but i'm still weary about getting it close to my face in fears i'll spray myself. Either way safe neighborhood or not carry MASE.

Grey Beard said...

Ahhhh, you've let me re-live such wonderful memories with this post. I used to run in college, at the end of my work and study day. Midnight to 3:00 AM usually. The streets are peaceful, cool and quiet. You have the whole city to yourself. It always felt a bit transcendent to me - like I owned the city.

The best I can do now is walk at night, but have an LED flashlight on a lanyard around my neck, with the weight of the keys tied in front to keep the cord from chaffing my neck.

My college professor used to carry a hickory axe handle for protection from dogs and perps. 2-3 ft of 1-2" bamboo is very light and fast in the hand. Hold it like a baton if you like. I just ran bare-chested in running shorts, shoes and socks, and trusted in my fellow man. YMMV, of course. Less is more for me. Thanks for a wonderful post. Night is the new morning! :D

don said...

Sometimes you just have to put in a little Ninja late night training. It breaks up the routine and enables you to keep up with all of your other commitments.

untpawgal02 said...

Running in the dark is such a fun adventure. When I was down in Texas... that was my favorite thing to do... but being in DC it's just a little scary!

Leah said...

I like running at night too. Somehow the darkness removes certain barriers that you perceive when it's light out. Little terrain undulations that seems like 'hills' in the daytime actually feel relatively flat when you can't actually see them!

Caroline said...

"So this is what I'm supposed to do during the meditation phase at the end of Yoga....but it's always so much work in Yoga," I thought to myself.It's funny, I find the same thing ...

Wes said...

I spent a lot of time running at night during my first year, out of necessity. Very.cool :-)

Benson said...

Wow, that run sounds great.

Ordinarylife said...

I also love running in the dark.

RoadBunner said...

I also love running in the dark. I spent a quarter up in Syracuse and did most of my running in the dark, in the snow after clinic. Some of my best runs :)

It is hard living in a city to find suitable places for night time running.