What a week! It's been non stop. I finally managed to get out for a reasonable length run. It was in the evening, after dark. Yes, it's autumn in Scotland!
Lots of folk love the autumn, the cooler days, the fresher air, the colours (I like the colours bit!). Whilst many runners positively welcome the drizzle, I like sunshine and warmth, but there's something that I really like about autumn and winter - running in the dark. I love night running, it's like having an invisibility cloak and it appeals to my inner lone wolf, the bit of me that runs alone.
It's usually when Ali's out that I get an evening run this time of year. I get in from work, sort Mum out, then nip home and get the insulated leggings, ear warmers, thick socks and layer up. I find all the reflective bits and pieces I have and head out onto the darkened streets. Okay, so I'm not invisible, that would be a bit risky, but I am anonymous, or so I like to think! In the dark I can just focus on running.
I've got a route that works any time of the day or night with a few extra loops if I want to extend it. North Berwick has plenty of hills and lots of quiet streets. I trot past the lighted windows, up the hill to the top car park and gaze down on the twinkling lights of my home town below. What goes on behind those rosy windows and closed doors? What sort of people live there? What's happening in their lives, what joys, what sorrows? I wonder as I look forward to the welcoming light and warmth of home (and some dinner). It's very different to what I think about when I run in daylight.
I'm not very brave, I don't go off the well lit streets. But running in circles and loops in the dark somehow distorts my sense of time. There are downsides of course - people smoking outside of pubs can make the High Street a bit of a no go area. Drunk golfers politely trying to move out of my way can slow me down.
Arriving home is even nicer after a night run. It's usually too late to eat much, especially if I want to get a good sleep, but I'm not that hungry anyway. What matters is I've been out, in the dark, after work, when most people are sitting in front of the tv and I've run. I get a snack, make a cuppa and watch tv til Ali gets home.
Running in the dark has a pace and space that I really like. At night there's something exciting about being outside after dark. I'm not often out after teatime these days. When I was younger I'd be out dark o'clock on a regular basis - not now!
I'm sure it's different to running very early in the morning (well anytime before about 9 am in the winter here!). I don't think that's my cup of tea. Yes it's dark and even more deserted, but folk are in bed asleep and I like it that in the evening there are still people about, up and doing things. I've also not tried running in the dark with a head torch. I sort of like the sound of that, but I'm not sure. There's nothing invisible and low key about a headlamp on your head and do I really want to nrun off the beaten track in the dark? Not really.
So, as we head towards the shortest day and the long dark days of winter beckon, I shall cherish my night time winter runs and get some good training in, ready for next year's marathon. I've my next night time run planned....
Whether you're out and about by moonlight, street light, day light or torchlight have a good one!