Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Beauteous Pre-Christmas Run

I am enjoying being in "marathon" shape.

Runs like today's help with that.

I woke up before my alarm, a little worried because I hear that interrupted sleep is a sign of overtraining and yesterday during the day I was super tired. But awake is awake. I got out of the house and was on the road for a nine-miler by 5:30 a.m.

For some reason, nine miles is a nice distance for me. Maybe it's because if you're running super easy (like I was supposed to do today), it comes out to an even half-hour for each three mile chunk. I named the three three-mile chunks in honor some characters in my favorite Christmas book: the Ghost of Runs Past, the Ghost of Runs Present and the Ghost of Runs Yet-to-Come.

The Ghost of Runs Past (the first three miles): This part of the run featured a port-o-john stop (I might have eaten some French fries at a brew pub last night), but it also featured gorgeous stars, a waning crescent moon, cold still air and glowing Christmas lights. I was the most "in my head" during this part of the run, fretting about work, my friend whose situation last week was so worrisome, when I was going to get Santa gifts for my kids. That all blew away like smoke as I got further into it.

And soon I was cruising along with the Ghost of Runs Present: This was the most in-the-moment time of the run for me. Some barefoot prints on the snowy sidewalk caught my eye. Yes, barefoot! I followed them for about two miles. I figure they must belong to an owner of a pair of Vibrams. I certainly hope so. Running barefoot in the snow.....it would be either hard-core or....stupid. I wondered about other footprints I saw too. Who, I wondered, was up walking or running earlier than I? Or had they been out the night before and the windless night preserved their tracks? The other thing I noticed was a train whistle. I love this long mournful sound. I never saw the train, though. By the time I circled back to the tracks, it had come and passed on, headed for Wyoming.

Before I knew it, an hour had passed and it was time for the Ghost of Runs Yet-to-Come: I wasn't running out of gas, but I was definitely thinking about breakfast. The sun was turning the eastern sky pink, and the mountains to the west were glowing in their white mantles, as if they were ghosts themselves. I came to a downhill stretch before turning up again closer to home. The snow ahead of me sparkled in the pale streetlights. It was as if my path were heralded by fairies and elves. My instructions were to pick up the pace for the last 10 minutes of the run, so I did. I felt like I was flying through that cold morning. And in the spirit of "yet-to-come," I prayed for a similar feeling during my marathon next month.

I arrived at home right as my hour and 30 minutes ended. The spirits of the run have stayed with me all day. I smile whenever I think of it. Especially that sparkling white carpet of snow.