Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Reach Up for the Sunrise

A funny thing happened on my run this morning.

I had a hill workout on the docket: a 25-minute warmup followed by six to eight hills of 90-second duration followed by a 15 minute cool-down. As usual for me during the week, I started in the dark. The streetlamps were illuminated, and I had to watch carefully for black ice on the sidewalks and streets. Early commuters swooshed past me with headlights on. In other words, pretty par for the course for my runs in the winter.

My hill of choice for this sort of thing is on the west side of a big slope. It's on a quiet street called Longs Peak Avenue (while steep, it's not as steep as its 14,259-foot namesake). I dutifully slogged myself up and down it eight times, trying to run as fast as I can, repeating "Light and fast" to the rhythm of my steps, mostly feeling good, but very much "in the run" and oblivious to the sky brightening to the east, especially since the east was hidden by the hill.

When I finished the hard part of the workout, I crested the hill and turned toward home by a winding route. I hoped to finish the cooldown just before my house with a block or so left to walk. I rounded a corner....and found myself bathed in full sunlight. Warm sunlight. Bright sunlight. Wish-I'd-worn-sunglasses sunlight.

Sunlight that said, "Spring is coming."

I haven't run in full sun on one of my morning treks in a long time. The most light I could hope for, even at the end, were the pink and gold streaks of imminent sunrise. That's always pretty, but very much a part of winter.

Now, I like cold-weather running. I like it better than hot-weather running. But what human being doesn't thrill to that first sign that a long darkness is ending?

If you live in a wintry spot, have you had your first sign of spring, however subtle it might have been?