Tag Archives: running at night

AM Runs

28 Dec

Just taking a mid-run nap.

I started my run this morning at 6:30. It was of course dark out when I began and it stayed dark for my entire run. On early morning runs like this one I’m always amused by the number of animals I see versus the number of humans. The ratio was especially lopsided this morning because most normal folk are staying home instead of racing to work for the “laziest work week of the year”. Today I decided to actually tally up the results.

  • Deer: 4
  • Dogs: 2 (more interested in their early morning escape than in chasing me.)
  • Racoon or maybe a skunk it’s hard to tell: 1
  • Humans: 2

Note, those humans were not outside-humans, they were warm-in-their-car humans.

So this morning it was me and a forest’s worth of glowing eyes.

It’s even better in the summer on Sunday mornings. I’m always alone with a herd of early birds/mammals/reptiles too sometimes and it’s bright enough at 5am to see them all. The only time I ever see humans that early on Sunday mornings is when they’re stumbling home from the bar. The look on such people’s faces as I run cheerfully run past is absolute bewilderment.

Maybe this will convince you late starters to try a run in the early AM. Trade in speeding traffic and surly commuters for some peace and quiet. And feral animals, if you’ve got them where you are.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has time off work and is spending it eating too much with friends and family! Happy holidays!

When to Run

25 Oct

So, maybe you’ve noticed, but I run pretty damn early in the morning. Early enough that if I were to be attacked by a mad dog and/or a herd of deer, no one would be around to hear my screams.

Shaking in my sneakers.

I should also note that even if I don’t plan on running, I still wake up at 5am. This is because I am a full-blown, 100%, chipper-without-coffee morning person. I wake up and do homework or laundry or whatever needs to be done because I’m most productive and efficient in the mornings. Plus, with that and a run out of the way, I don’t have to worry about getting anything done later. Although I do experience a strange boost in energy around 3 or 4pm, I am otherwise useless to the world past noon. Oh yeah, and I go to bed at 8. Clearly I’m the life of the party.

Wait, so not everyone feels like this in the morning?

But this is me. I am different. I am different than most people and that’s cool with me. However, I feel like I give off the impression that one has to run in the morning, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I just do it because I like getting it out of the way early… and because mornings are the only time I can manage to say my name with stumbling over the words. Mornings are my time. But they may not (and are probably not) your time.

When I first started running, it was mid-January and pitch-black til 8am. I also had to wake up at six anyway in order to get to school (long story short, my high-school commute was probably longer than your work commute). Running in the morning wasn’t a thing that even occurred to me. I ran when I got home from school, which was around 4:30. And it killed me. I was insane enough to want to finish the training program and the 10k race we were shooting for, so I kept at it. But after the race, I immediately stopped running. I just wasn’t enjoying it; I was already exhausted by the time I got home. Remembering that I still had a run to do nearly (and maybe did) drive me nuts.

Don't pretend you don't feel this sometimes. A thirst for human flesh I mean.

When I picked up running again last fall, I luckily had no obligations that required my leaving the house before 10am. So I did what felt natural, and ran first thing in the morning. And it didn’t suck balls, to my surprise. I loved it! I came home energized and with a feeling of achievement that stuck with me for the rest of the day. I’d finally found a way to enjoy running, which ended the feeling of having to go for that run. Now I wanted to.

The running-specific moral of this story is that in order to be a successful runner, and be more likely to stick to your training program and achieve your goals, you’ve got to work out a schedule that works for you. Running at 5 may be your thing, or maybe it’s something more reasonable like 8. Or you may want to do it in the afternoons or evenings when you’re home from school. You might be a total freak who goes to a 24-hr gym at 11pm to bust out a 10 miler. Whatever it is, you’ve got to fit your runs in in a way that works for you, no matter what time other people like to run.

This extends past what time of day to run. It’s also important to make sure your weekly schedule fits with your other obligations. This spring, when I began a half-marathon program, my long runs always landed on a Saturday. This was fine for about a month until I started working at 9 on Saturdays. I had to wake up at ridiculous hours (even for me) in order to fits the long run in before work, but for whatever idiotic reason I didn’t change my schedule. I had Tuesdays and Wednesdays off, why didn’t I do my runs then? Long story short, I was exhausted all weekend because I was stupid and didn’t adjust my schedule. Finally I got the hint this September, and now I do my long runs on Thursdays, when I don’t have to be at school til 1 o’clock. And it works a lot better.

So, in conclusion, don’t be stupid. If you want to be a runner, making running fit your life, not the other way around.

And because this post lacked any hilarious jokes about flesh wounds or habits of deer, here’s something for you:

Pictures of cats never fail.

Dear Deer

14 Oct

"No no don't worry about us. We're just here to steal your soul."

This is how I begin most of my mornings. Being stared down by a couple of deer.

I guess technically I don’t run at night… I just run so early in the morning that it’s too dark to see. At what time of the morning does it become not night and just early morning? Whoa okay guys I’ll try not to get too philosophical here.

The point is, often when I start my runs, it’s dark out. This can be anywhere from 5 – 7am. I wear a headlamp that looks similar to this one:

Headlamps: allowing kids to pretend to be as glamourous as miners since 1965.

Only it sticks out even further. I don’t think they even make the kind I have any more. Picture a unicorn that fell in a vat of industrial waste and now has the superpower of emitting a weak light through its horn. Which could have been accomplished with the unicorn’s inherent magic anyway. That’s what I look like. But you know what’s great about running at night/ so early that it’s dark? No human being is out and about to witness your shame!

But you know who do enjoy the early mornings? The deer. I live in a place where deer are very common. To point where they ain’t Bambi anymore, just unruly kids who eat up your tulips. The deer are simultaneously my comrades and my archenemies. Sometimes I give them a cool head nod like ‘hey bud, what’s up? We’re just two creatures hanging out at night, enjoying eating leaves and stuff’. Sometimes I even say hello if I’m feeling bold enough.

But you know how the deer respond, no matter what I say? They stare. They just stare at me, with those glowing eyes in the light of my headlamp. It’s unnerving. It forces one to recall that hey, wow, that deer is mighty big and remember that one video where a doe mauled a dog with her hooves?

So you start to back away, but they’re still watching you, stock still. They’ll continue watching you as you run off down the road. They won’t move until you’re out of sight. So don’t glance back, because those eyes… will be watching you.

Oh hiiiii. That's a nice headlamp you got there. I think I'd like to keep that headlamp.

Okay well that's just adorable.

This was supposed to be about the technicalities of running in the dark but I got side-tracked, by deer, as usual. Maybe tomorrow.