So, it appears that another fall is upon us.
Fall, if I may be blunt, ROCKS. Straight up Kicks Tail and Takes Names, as far as running is concerned. Summer gets all the glory, winter gets all the tough cred, and spring gets all the beauty and joy, but for me, fall is the time to run.
It hit me this morning as I finally stepped out of the house for a pre-day run. Today was the first day this year that I’d gone down the street a bit and thought “Hey, long sleeves might have been nice.” Not quite cold enough for sweatpants, but chilly enought that I still had goosebumps on the forearms after a mile.
But fall is the time of year that separates runners from joggers. In a lot of ways, fall represents an end to the running season—it’s the time of marathons and the end of training programs. The days are shorter, meaning that we’re squeezing running into a tinier amount of hours, being relegated to the dreadmill, or trying hard to make ourselves seen in the darkness.
Fall’s when we tend to fall off the wagon, so to speak. It’s harvest time, meanining that the markets and stores are chock full of tasty goodness—pies, fruits, etc. It’s the beginning of a series of holidays dedicated to porking out—Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving for those of us in the states. Football season is here—Saturday afternoons spent cheering for the Longhorns (or whomever) with suds, nachos, and wings. And the kids are back in school—little disease vectors bringing back the bugs that their friends gathered over the summer.
So, actually taking the couple of minutes for ourselves each day becomes a greater and greater challenge, faced with tasty and socially acceptable diversions.
My history with fall is kind of dubious, too. My first marathon attempt got sidelined in the fall of 1999—days were short, long runs took up a signifigant fraction of the daylight hours, and the cold of late fall in Connecticut was a shock for this son of the South.
But, over the last few years, I’ve really come to enjoy the fall. The cool means that I can run farther without sweating like a hog. The shorter days are filled with more of the “golden” light that comes from the sun’s rays cutting shallowly through the atmosphere—go shoot pictures; they’ll come out incredible. And the transformation from the deep green of summer to the barren grey of winter is happening on an almost hourly basis. Taking some time each day to revel in the beauty of creation is good for the soul.
Now is the time to store up good vibes for the long days of winter. Gather ye rosebuds and all that crap—we’re about to enter the suck.
But, with the proper perspective, boys and girls, we’ll come out the other side thinner, faster, and ready for spring.