The following paragraph was a facebook post of mine this week. But it was only part of the story so I thought I’d continue it in a blog post.
This morning before daylight I ran 'by the light of the silvery moon' and tried to remember the words to that song. There was sometimes a little haze around the moon and there were bright stars and some planets visible. It was cold and I counted about a dozen pieces of clothing I was wearing for warmth. I ran along an old railroad bed and past some horse stables. One horse was covered with a bright orange blanket - the same color as my shirt. It was dark but I wore a headlamp and ran on a nature trail through the woods along a stream and up a hill overlooking town. And I ran back down the trail and then along famliar streets toward home. I thought about family members and friends and my relationship with God. I felt healthy and strong and sometimes I ran faster. It was almost full light when I finished more than an hour after starting. It was a nice way to start my day.
In the first mile of my run near the end of a street another runner ran past on the cross street just ahead of me. I wondered who he was, as if I should know everyone who would be running at that time. I guessed I would catch up soon, but he was faster and pulled away. At the end of that block, he stopped to walk and so I guessed he was a new runner and had been running too fast. But my route took me the other way. Maybe he was just finishing his run.
Soon I ran under a bridge where a railroad line passes overhead. I heard a different kind of sound from behind me – it seemed sort of like a jet plane kind of sound. It wasn’t alarming just unusual.
A small pickup had come through the underpass and the curved shape of the bridge funneled the noise ahead of it.
As I ran by the stables at the women’s college I waved to the driver of the security vehicle coming by in the other direction. I see this vehicle on about half of my early runs through campus and wondered if the driver remembers seeing me.
On my way toward the nature trail I thought about how it is a secluded place where someone could be ambushed. The next thought was what if I discover someone who has been killed there. Would I be tempted to just look in a voyeur kind of way. I had a cellphone with me and could call 911. Do you call 911 if the person is clearly dead? I prayed that God would keep me faithful in whatever situation I encounter anytime. There were no such discoveries on the trail.
As I followed the path uphill a small bird flew out from just in front of my feet. I wondered how well birds see in the dark and what kind of landing it would find. The frosty leaves were a little slippery and I hoped I wouldn’t fall. Near the top of the hill I could see the lights of a house that is normally hidden by the leaf cover. On the return trip I saw more lights of other properties and wondered if they would be close to our church which seems like it could be in that direction.
I chose some less busy streets for the first part of the way toward home. It just meant going a block out of the way. Some of this route was slightly uphill and my running quickened in a pleasing way. In a half mile I came to some more uphill, steeper this time, and it was nice running too. Near the top I had to wait for some traffic then I could cross the street about 2 miles from home. The next section is where the silvery moon thoughts came. I tried to remember the tune but could only get part of a line. It seems Dad would sing this when we were going somewhere in the car. Later I googled the lyrics and discovered a much different song than I imagined.
In about a mile I was going through a newer development and passed a contractor kind of vehicle along the roadside – a garage door company I think. In the next quarter mile this van came by twice apparently trying to find an address.
I remember seeing a car turning onto a street as I approached. Since they turned toward me, I veered between parked cars and onto the sidewalk to avoid alarming the driver or getting pinched against the cars. It felt good to be aware and ready to react immediately to things like that.
I again took a slightly longer route toward home, this time so I could pass a house at the end of our block where we had seen extra cars, including a police car the previous evening. Nothing interesting this time. I turned off my headlamp as I turned the corner for home.
It was a nice way to start my day.
The next morning before daylight I ran again. The moon was covered by clouds. It was colder and I dressed about the same as before. I ran on the grass around a nearby school. I chose this run to strengthen my lower legs for trail races I want to do next year. Each lap has a short and steep uphill section that challenges my commitment to run without walking.
Six laps, each about 3/4 mile. The heavy frost showed my footprints on each lap and I wondered if someone else would think several people ran there. Near the end of the first lap I saw a couple of silhouettes cross my path about 50 yards in front of me. I wondered where they were going as they were heading toward the school building. I couldn’t see where they went even with my headlamp.
One portion of these laps goes along some business properties. On one lap a single car was parked at one of the businesses. Later I noticed 3 cars, and eventually a fourth. For some reason I think there is some kind of phone support at that place.
On a later lap I saw a rabbit, and on another lap a dog barked at me. I heard it’s chain on the sidewalk and wondered if it would try to cross the street. It didn’t seem to try. Part of the lap is along a highway and I run facing the same way the traffic flows. I wonder how many drivers catch a glimpse of me and question whether they really saw someone running in the dark.
My legs and back felt sore and tight. My left leg was achey. The ground seemed to be freezing, getting harder and more lumpy during the run. I thought about yesterday's run and story. I gradually ran faster. I got home 5 minutes later than planned. Some runs are almost poetic, others are more work.
It was again a good way to start the day.
Mostly this is what my runs are like. I don’t prefer to run alone. I like to have company for the run. But even when running alone and in the dark I don’t get bored. There are lots of things to see, sometimes animals or people to observe, and always something going on in my head to think about.