Thursday, November 08, 2012

going dark

run to the light...all are welcome!
wait, not that light...
it's not winter yet, but the dreaded drizzling darkness is descending rapidly. this time of year, nightfall comes early to seattle. 

at 3:30 in the afternoon you can look out the window and think, "are we having an eclipse? did i lose consciousness for several hours? is it time for dinner?" but no, it's just a weak-willed sun too low in the sky to make any headway through the clouds.

it's a tough time to be a runner here. during the week, you either get out 
at lunch, or you run in the dark. quite often in the rain. or you stay inside, on the treadmill. either way, your time and distance usually suffer, unless you discover the eternal secret to enduring the treadmill. which i have not.

this leaves the weekends to get out for some extended miles, if your responsibilities allow for such a thing.

i confess, i'm embittered by these short daylight hours. we had actual summer in 2012, for the first time in years, and i got used to long, tranquil runs after work, with plenty of light left over for the drive home. at 9:30 p.m. or so we'd say, "well, it's starting to get dark. maybe we should head in and get some dinner going."

i'm greedy now for the warmth, the light, the lack of horizontal precipitation. i want to be someplace where winter doesn't last seven months. where the vault door of dreary and damp and dark doesn't close with an ominous, remorseless, echoing booooom.

trouble is, places like those are very popular, and very expensive. with the kind of jobs that pay just enough for you to buy a bus ticket someplace else when you've exhausted your life savings.

that, or they're so inhospitable on the other end of the thermometer that even the gila monsters don't want to live there.

i know. no one ever said life was easy. running certainly is not easy for me. but i'm learning that "real runners" adapt to the environment and keep going. so that's what i'm trying to do. to that end, i've been accumulating gear. a couple LED headlamps. a breathable waterproof jacket. reflective gloves. a waterproof baseball cap. knee-length compression shorts. ankle-high smartwool socks. and some winterized trail running shoes with burly vibram soles.

fortunately i already owned the snorkle and scuba mask.

i can now run, as comfortably as possible, in the cold, dark and wet. people who do so report feeling exhilarated and vibrant and powerful and fully alive like never before. in such conditions i feel pretty good sitting bundled up indoors with a glass of wine, but admit to a twinge of...envy? admiration? when those people run by.

part of me thinks, "y'all are crazy." part of me says, "you need to gear up and
go find out. or one day you'll wish you had."

that last thing, the finding-out part? it's winning. in fact, it's already won.

i'm going.


there's a new running store in our neighborhood, called seven hills running
(there are seven hills surrounding seattle, see). each week they sponsor a
saturday morning group run ~ rain or shine. today they headed out in pouring
rain, the perfect chance for me to test my new gear, and my resolve.

instead, i headed to the airport, to new orleans, for a conference. weather dot
com predicted 66 and sunny for the short duration of the trip. i packed


the weather in nawlins was perfect. i put in eight miles one day, five miles another.

then i headed back to seattle, where the forecast called for rain. every day.
for the next several months.

it won't be getting lighter, or drier, any time soon. but, at least there won't
be any frankenstorms. theoretically.

time to dive in.

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