Wednesday night’s six mile run was one of those magically great runs you always hope for when you step out the door. The kind of run that’s a perfect storm of everything good: good weather, good temperature, good legs, good mood, good health, and good friends. The kind of run that feels effortless, as if you could pull a Dean Karnazes and run all night long.
The kind of run that reminds us why we love running so much.
After last summer’s record breaking temperatures, I swore I would never again complain about running in the cold. Every day was a marathon of complaining about the heat, and no one complained more vociferously than I did. I was in a seriously bad mood for about six months. I was starting to think I was becoming a permanently negative person.
Now that it’s finally, finally colder, I’ve found myself some mornings procrastinating and trying to find excuses not to run. I see the trees moving, that means it’s a little windy, and that wind must be pretty cold. I quickly shake it off, though, and remember how any run below 100 degrees used to be something to celebrate.
Time to quit whining and enjoy our few short months of winter.
After wearing the bare minimum of clothing all summer, it’s sometimes hard to figure out exactly how much to wear when the temperatures start to drop. We all usually start out the first few cold runs by overdressing. Somehow, on this perfect night, I manage to wear just enough to stay both warm and cool at the same time.
There’s something special about nighttime running in the winter, especially on a clear night around Christmas. The run down to the lake is especially dark through the trees, and the cold air keeps the pace brisk. On this particular run there’s electricity in the air since so many people have recently completed marathons. There are enough PR’s and I’m-a-badass endorphins to go around to light up the night. A street lamp goes off as we turn the corner, confirmation that we don’t need the artificial light.
It just feels so good to run.
Once we get down to the lake, everyone converges at the water fountain, even though they’ve all been shut off. The stars are shining overhead, the lake is smooth as glass, and everyone seems to have forgotten that we’re in the middle of a run and not a party. Someone finally sends out a shout to get going, and we take off running again, along the edge of the lake. How many times have we run along this exact same path? Hundreds of times, if not more, but tonight it’s like a route I’ve never taken before, fresh and smooth and inviting.
Two miles farther and another water stop with no water. No worries. Cold beer is waiting just ahead. All we have to do is run up Meadowlake and Sperry, two old friends we know only too well. Even though I usually dread running up these two hills, especially Sperry, tonight I’m looking forward to it. My legs feel fresh and strong, and I’m in love with hills again.
Everyone’s quiet as we run up the hill, and houses glow with Christmas lights and trees in the windows. Running up Sperry brings back memories of training for Boston, when I was in the best shape of my life, and I wonder if I’ll ever be fast enough to go back. Almost immediately I have the thought, I have this, tonight, and that’s enough for now.
Finally, we’re back at Hillside, and into the warmth of Fuzzy’s, good friends, and an ice cold mug of beer. All is right in the world, and nothing could ever be better than this perfect storm of everything good on a cold December night’s run.