Under the light of the moon and a blanket of clouds, I pressed start and set off.
I ran north. I ran toward a lovely neighborhood and away from my usual haunts. I ran to cross off just one more Monumental training run and away from the blistering pace that I’ve had to keep the past couple weeks. I ran to do something, to feel something.
I didn’t feel good when the alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. on a Saturday. I didn’t feel good when I stared down 5 solo miles before the break of day.
I didn’t feel good that morning when I looked at the weather app and saw that the temperature was in the high 30s. I didn’t have the excited anticipation of seeing my breath and the frosty blades of grass sparkle in the moonlight.
But when I stepped out of the house, I did feel better. The air was cool and crisp and the smell of leaves – yes, they do have a smell – was there as I took a deep inhale. In the fury of the day, it’s not always there but in the early morning, it filled every breath.
And even on that first stretch going north, a stretch that’s riddled with false flats, I did start to feel better. My mind found a space that wasn’t crammed with to-do lists and “oh shits,” and my heavy legs found a slow, comfortable pace that is conducive to shaking out the cobwebs.
With each step, I started to think about the places this run was taking me, the things it was showing me. I thought about the moments I wouldn’t get if I had hit the snooze button or tried to rush the miles later in the day.
I looked at the way the clouds looked blue and painted against the black sky. I looked at the way the moon managed to keep itself in view. I saw the turning leaves of the tree catch fire in the moon’s light and the bare branches hang ominously as I felt the crunch beneath my feet.
I listened to the horn of the train miles away pierce the silence.
I wondered why my neighbors are always awake at 5 a.m. on a Saturday, their front door open and the TV in the corner of the living room turned on.
I strode past goblins and ghosts, skeletons and tombstones. Not particularly as scenic as a night run during Christmas, I had to appreciate the Halloween spirit.
And then I realized one of the spirited houses wasn't decorated. It had been TP'd.
Such is the pace of life and marathon training. Revel in the space it gives you and find room to laugh when you can.