Journal entry 111011: In the dark

Monday night I hurried home from work so I could squeeze in a run before it got too dark. It was my first run after Time-Change Sunday, and I just made it, arriving back among the houses as the sun went down. My favorite dirt roads are not lighted at all, and I’ll soon have to abandon them until next spring.

However, I actually enjoy running in the dark. Cyndi says I would feel differently about running in the dark if I were a woman, and all I can do is take her word for that, but being who I am, I like it.

I may be the only person I know who actually enjoys - looks forward to - the fall time change. I like early sundown, in spite of the fact I’ll lose my dirt trails.

Running in the dark feels quieter, and more personal. The city noises are dampened; like when you run in the snow. Running in the dark is more private than running in the daylight. People can’t see you and can’t easily recognize you if they do see you. I think a lot of people who avoid running outside because they don’t want to be seen, either because they run too slow or because they think they are too large, should take advantage of earlier sundowns and run in the dark.

And another thing. When I get home in the evening in the summer and it doesn’t get dark until 9:30, I never really relax. It doesn’t feel like I am inside to stay when it is light out. As long as the sun is up I may have to go back outside and do chores is what I keep thinking.

But after the time change, when it gets dark by 6:00 (like Monday), when I get home, I’m home to stay. No chores; too dark. As soon as possible I change into my flannel pants and Crocs and I am inside and down for the evening. I can nestle in my big brown chair with a book or Sudoku, or type essays on my laptop at our library table. It makes me happy. It feels like home.

I also like the cooler weather that usually accompanies the time change. I enjoy running when it’s cold. Of course, the main reason I like cold weather running (and I’m talking about Texas cold, not Michigan cold) is I get sick of running in the summer heat by mid-July, but following a close second to that is the anonymity. Once I am bundled up in a fleece or rain jacket, knit hat, long pants, gloves, I am hidden to everyone but myself. It feels like a safe refuge, a cocoon.

Cyndi and I were I Denver last week for a Society of Petroleum Engineers Awards Banquet, and Wednesday morning we got to run in the snow.

I’ll admit, when we first got out of bed about 8:30 AM and we looked out our 12th-floor window, we saw the flags whipping in the wind and decided not to go run. (I think either of us might have gone anyway had we been alone, but we’re more cautious and deferential when together). So we dressed and went down to the l Starbucks on the first floor. Since we were staying in a fancy high-priced hotel, we had to pay for everything we usually get for free when staying at the Courtyard. Like breakfast.

While enjoying our coffee and tea and scones we noticed that it was still snowing outside, but the flakes were tumbling down and were not driven by the wind, so maybe the wind wasn’t as bad as we’d thought. We hurried back up to our room, changed into winter gear, and left for a 30-minute run, 15 minutes out-and-back. We’d burned up too much of the morning to stay out any longer.

Well, of course, it turned out to be glorious. Not too cold, but fun in the snow. We both got back to the hotel about the same time, both very glad we went. It was some of the best 30 minutes of the trip.


One thing I have to mention: The disadvantage to earlier sundowns and cooler weather concerns my recently rediscovered activity: cycling. I am not yet brave enough to bike in the dark, and don’t own enough gear to bike in the cold. Maybe that will come soon. I hope so.


“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32

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