Thursday, August 21, 2014

I run because I am a creature of the night..

Several years ago I read that you tend to see faster race times in the evening than you do in the morning. The article purported that it had something to do with your heart rate being elevated, being awake longer, and/or being warmed up for a longer period of time before running.

This idea immediately resonated for me as I always feel more comfortable running in the evening. I am decidedly not a morning person. Getting out of bed is a laborious process seemingly no matter what hour I rise.

I always feel sluggish, stiff, and old. I walk around like a tin man who needs his joints oiled for a few minutes and try to make some coffee. Given the length of time I've been addicted to caffeine, a cup or two does little more than make me feel vaguely human.

I am usually still asleep through the first few miles of any run that takes place in the morning. But, as the day wears on, I can feel my pulse quicken. The fog of morning burns off. Afternoon fades into early evening and the urge to run becomes pronounced. The night beckons to me.

While most are winding down and readying to turn in, I find my second wind and head out into the darkness. My vision may be compromised, but all other senses are heightened.

The dark may be an inherently scary place for most, but for me it feels like returning to the womb. It's where I am meant to be. My legs turn over more quickly. I breathe easier. I find myself running faster without thought or effort. Running feels more like gliding.

Fear accompanies me, but it keeps me sharp. It keeps me on my toes. The adrenaline that tags along with the fear of the unseen and the unknown isn't a bad thing either.

There's an urgency to running at night that is simply absent during the day. With the sun shining and the day young, running is casual and easy. At night, you don't have the luxury of time and if you're too casual in the dark, you may find yourself in trouble.

I'm not necessarily looking for trouble when I run at night, but trouble tends to happen in the dark. In most scary movies, things get troublesome after dark. Fortunately, I usually run fast enough to circumnavigate most trouble.

Maybe it is my affinity for scary movies or maybe I am in actuality nocturnal. Whatever the reason, the night is my time to run. I run because I am a creature of the night.

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