Darkness is an obstacle to my running. The thought of stepping onto the pavement with nothing shining on me but moonlight and headlights keeps me from some of the best running weather all day. It isn’t the darkness as much as a fear of…of…of MONSTERS. I imagine too well a murderous stranger hiding in the preserve waiting… Or a villainous fisherman crouched beside the creek… not that I’ve ever experienced anything like it.. just, ya know?
I love living on the eastern side of a time zone. Daylight savings shifts daylight on the eastern side of the zone back into the early hours. In the prime of daylight savings, I can go running at 5:30 am after a full sunrise. Apparently, the monsters in my imagination don’t exist in daylight.
This year I started running into town instead of along the prairie preserve. Every morning when I drag myself out of bed and pour myself into my VFFs, I’ve find freedom and some safety. Our neighbor happens to be a policeman who works 3rd shift. I see his car patrolling through town (sometimes twice) every time I’m out for a run. I didn’t realize that he covered so much area in the morning. This knowledge has allowed me to develop a sense of security that someone is keeping an eye on me when I run.
So, the other morning when I discovered that I’d lost daylight I steeled my resolve because I wasn’t ready to resort to running in place. Clinging to that resolve, I gazed out the window at the pre-dawn light. For a moment, the imaginary boogie men leered at me. I didn’t want to face them but I wanted even less to run on the treadmill. I donned my Livestrong T-shirt of bright yellow, black runner’s shorts, and VFFs. I opened the sliding glass door and broke the seal on my pre-dawn run.
Not only did I complete a 3 mile VFF run, I saw the neighbor twice, AND, for the first time ever, came across two groups of fellow runners. I could really get used to this.