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If you can fill the unforgiving minute ... with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run ... Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.
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Monthly Archives: August 2010
I stepped out of the house and into the crisp, cool air. It was dark and the only sounds to greet my ears were the chirp of the crickets and the song of that scrawny male cardinal with a voice far superior than his diminutive size would otherwise suggest. That little cardinal bravely sits on the telephone wire across the street from my house and sings his heart out every morning about half an hour before dawn even begins to break – rain or shine.
I pressed the button on my headlamp and headed east, leaving the cardinal to his song and the crickets to their chirping. I could tell after yesterday’s extremely forgettable, heavy-legged run that this morning’s run was going to be a good one. I briefly tried to puzzle out why that might be. After all, I didn’t sleep particularly well last night and I didn’t eat particularly well yesterday and I may have even been a bit under hydrated. Then there’s the darned ragweed – it’s everywhere and I think it is what is causing the pressure in my “bad” eye (the one that fell victim to the mysterious pseudotumor back in February). I decided it must be the cool weather. As far as this summer has gone, this morning was a rarity – a morning with cool, crisp weather.
In fact the cool days have seemed like such a rarity that I wanted to see if reality showed that things were really as they seem. So a few days ago after wringing out my shirt after yet another hot and steamy morning run – a run so hot and steamy that from the deck of the bridge you could literally see the thick white fog rising in heavy white clouds above the bright green canopy of the river valley and hence mistake Cleveland for the Amazon river basin – I decided to total up the days where the low has been at or below each month’s average. If my math is right, we’ve been at or below average about 1 day out of 4. So it hasn’t just seemed like a hot summer, it has been a hot summer. This makes a cool and crisp morning a welcomed rarity, even if it appears to just be a fleeting one or two day respite from the weather I’ve taken to referring as double 70 plus -- 70 degree air temp with a 70 degree dew point to match.
Still, the runner who suffers and slogs through this sort of weather often finds a great reward when fall finally arrives – a sudden, effortless improvement in running speed. Although I don’t expect a string of these cooler mornings for a while, inevitably summer will eventually lose its grip and fade into autumn. And indeed, the first hairline cracks in summer’s strong front are beginning to appear – the days are shorter, the mornings darker. The fact I have to wear my headlamp to navigate the dark and winding paths is evidence of that.
As I continued to head east, the sun began to rise with a flourish. Because I run in the morning, I get to witness many sunrises. Being privileged enough to see the sunrise every morning I am something of a connoisseur of sunrises and honestly even though each is unique and many are beautiful few are memorable. Today was memorable. I guess this morning nature decided to pull out the stops and demonstrate her grandeur. And I was deeply moved and impressed by nature’s power to paint the dark canvas of the sky with such an amazing array of color. The sunrise began with a flush of dark red on the horizon. The red color slowly crept higher and higher into the dark sky until the entire eastern sky was awash in a fiery deep crimson. Then the darkness at the horizon began to fade into a deep pink and then into orange as the sun rose. It cast a strange pink glow on everything including me. As the sky faded into blue, the high clouds that must have caused the unique atmospherics of this splendid sunrise looked like mother of pearl.
The light show was made infinitely better because of running. I think running heightens the senses. I think it must be all that oxygenated blood running all over the body or something. Or I guess maybe it’s the runner’s high. Or maybe just everything is made better by the mesmerizing rhythm of footfalls, the whistle of the air past your ears, the steady progress through space and time. I don’t know what it is about running, but I feel like nature is appreciated best when clipping along almost silently through its grandeur and wonder.
Usually the weather and my body don’t align like this; I have those inexplicable good runs under all sorts of weather conditions. But when the stars and fate do align in their courses and you can enjoy a light show like this morning in a way only a runner can enjoy it, that’s definitely a splendidly good run. It was a run to slow down, savor, and enjoy.