Vampire Runner

I have had a very good running summer. According to my training log on Runner’s World, I started the season in earnest in April. Easy slow 2 and 3 mile runs, exploring new routes in nearby neighborhoods. May was even better, marking 1 year since I started running, and June was the best month so far. My runs got longer and faster in June with a few 5 and 6 mile runs. I was pretty excited about the progress I was making.

Then we went away for the week of July 4 and the heat moved in. Between recovering from the trip to Colorado and the insane heat even at 5:30 am, my July and August runs got slower. They didn’t get shorter, but they also didn’t get longer. I felt like I struggled for every step in July and only really recovered the last week of August. My greatest defense against the heat was to run as early as I could so I was home before the sun was really out. I adjusted my schedule so that 3 days a week I was in bed a little earlier and then up at 5:30 and out of the house before 6 those 3 mornings. By September I got my mileage back up to 6.5 and 7 miles. On 9/11 I ran 7.8 miles – my longest run yet!

Enter October. The weather began to cool off a little bit and I got excited. I planned a nice run on a Saturday. This was a rare thing for us, we’ve had something going almost every weekend this year. But there were no plans until lunch Saturday so I mapped out a long route and thought about the joys of sleeping in a little bit, running in the sun, and having all day to replay the wonderful run.

It didn’t turn out quite like I expected. I either started too late or too early. I was dressed for the chill of about 30 minutes before I left, which meant that when the temperature rose 10 degrees during the hour of my run, I ended up way too hot and miserable. I struggled for the last mile and finally accepted that it wasn’t going to go as planned and headed home. I know that a 5.6 mile run is no sad thing, but I wasn’t happy with the run. On the upside, a neighbor stopped as he was driving by to say he’s seen me out there and thinks is great I’m doing so well running regularly.

Two days later, I was trying to figure out what 3 days of this week I would run. We are heading out again Fri and Saturday so no weekend run for this week, although maybe a Sunday morning run to start next week. I wanted to do a Monday run but didn’t want to get up early Monday morning (because that meant going to bed early Sunday night and other opportunities presented themselves Sunday night). Then I realized that it gets dark early enough that I could go for a run at night when the temperatures drop!

I planned it out and worked my eating schedule around it. Then 7pm rolled around and I realized I still felt lunch and was a little queasy and then realized it was going to get a fair bit cooler while I was running. I started second guessing myself.  I know I’ve made progress over the past year, because  I did what I always do now. I headed out the door figuring I’d see how far I could go and if I only made it 3 miles, that was ok.

I opted to do my Saturday route but a little bit backwards. It kept getting darker and chillier and I loved every minute of it. Night running is different from the early morning runs. Where in the morning my run gets brighter and ends with a wonderful sunrise, last night it just got darker and I now know a few places that could use another street light. But I run in neighborhoods so there was always a car and a porch light to guide me. As it got chillier, I got warmer so I was never uncomfortable (too hot or too cold) on the run. I just kept going. Then I realized the hubby may start worrying. When I run in the morning he isn’t awake when I leave so he doesn’t know how long I’ve been gone. The deal is I promise to be back before the workday starts. But this night it was getting late and he was well aware how long I’d been out.

I headed home, doing one circle through the neighborhood to add a little more mileage on. My goal was 8.5 miles, and I finished at 8.7! I can see more night running this month while trying to figure out the temperatures and the wardrobe issues as we approach winter.

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