…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
…now there’s a first.
We’ve had rough weather for a couple of weeks – rain every day pretty much and 50mph winds for the duration. The heavy wind makes my sleep unsettled – the ceiling of my bedroom is the roof of my house and the skylights rattle with each gust. I’ve taped them shut which has reduced my worry about them being sucked away into the night, but the sounds still disturb me somewhat.
This morning was one of the strange ones for me where I wake up before it’s light in my room – my work life is so relaxed that I can often schedule my first client for a sociable hour in mid-morning on a week day, so I’m not used to waking up in the dark, and there’s generally no need for it on a Sunday.
With the windows rattling, bits of roof banging and clattering, and the metal grate I fitted to my chimney to keep the birds out making unhelpful noises too, after an hour or so of being awake in the dark of my room I decided to give in and turn my lamp on and see what time it actually was. “7am. Great.” I hadn’t gone to bed until gone 1am either, and I like 8+ hours sleep, but I felt awake enough.
With that I decided I was either going to read in bed like I had done the morning before when this happened (after which I curled back under the covers until the postman woke me a couple of hours later), or “oh my god are you serious?” I was going to go for a run “but it’s still dark outside.”
I stepped out of bed, pulled on some clothes, a fleece, and located my high-visibility waistcoat I sometimes wear when cycling in the dark, slipped on my running shoes, (switched my boiler on ready for my return shower) and disappeared off into the dark street.
Once beyond the scope of the few street lights, I could barely see the road surface – I could see where I was going but my eye pupils must have extended to their maximum so I had a better chance of spotting the rough patches and the pot holes that lay lurking ahead of me. I could see the white forms of sheep in the gloom of fields beside me – my running steps as gentle as I can make them so as no to startle – I like to keep the world calm around me, and to not startle sheep or cattle as I pass close by, this makes me feel more at one with nature, accepted; my good intentions somehow read through my stride – no hint of threat perceived.
I was only doing my usual two mile route, but I like doing this – it’s not too far that I begin to get bored, start thinking about what else I could be doing with my day, or feeling overly exhausted. Instead I feel like I have the freedom to really get my knees up and the breath into my lungs – something I’ve been needing a lot recently – especially for the last stretch where like to give it some when in the mood. If I run further then I end up taking it easy and pace myself, just like my cycling where I seem to mostly potter along – running like this gives me the chance to get my heart rate up.
I always appreciate the progress I made with my running from when I started – just yesterday I was talking with a friend about how I would often hurt my feet when I first took up running. It took me a long time to ease myself into it – if I overdid it just slightly on one short run, placing my foot wrong on a slightly uneven patch of road, or hopping onto a grass verge with not enough care, to give a motorist the road, I’d hurt my foot and then it would take me weeks to get back to the same level (my fitness was always adequate due to my cycling, it was just my joints that were unaccustomed to the jolting.) Now I feel my joints have the strength they need and I can sprint whenever I have the urge, without fear of pain.
The wind was still blowing pretty good (gusts of up to 48mph according to the Met Office website), but other than only blowing my pony tail sideways during an exposed patch (no cap on today – that wouldn’t have stayed on long), it was fine for running in – more pleasant than cycling in such side-winds.
As I made it round the route I began to wonder if I’d actually make it round without encountering one motorist. As I was approaching the final junction one car pulled out some way ahead of me but went the other way, and then a second started approaching me ahead, but I picked up my pace and made my turning before it arrived – could I count this as having not encountered one car on my route?! It was a first. The route was my own.
I legged it for the final stretch, the sky and road now a little lighter already, and I stepped back inside my house where all felt immediately calm and quiet, and I enjoyed a shower from the hot water my boiler had prepared ready for my return. Whenever I can persuade myself to go for a run first thing in the morning it makes for a good start to any day – I’d just never done it in the dark before: there really are few excuses!