Last weekend the clocks “moved” forward. For some, it meant they were an hour late for most things or “lost” an hour of sleep. Despite feeling a bit more tired, the extra hour grants more daylight and the days seem longer. Most of the staff I work with were pleasantly surprised by the sun, which still shone into their office window by 5pm. When winter hits and darkness falls upon our neighborhoods, we tend to recluse and hibernate a little bit earlier each and every night. We may head home to watch hours upon hours of bad reality television or nurse a bottle of red wine that we are using to “cook” a comforting slow cooker chili.
The chairlifts close on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains by 4pm. Due to the extensive terrain, steep and lengthy runs there is no such thing as night skiing around here. Whistler lacks “light pollution”, which means when the sun goes down it is dark. The evening darkness affords us the opportunity to rest, recover and rejuvenate. For those with a bit more energy by nightfall, there is an extensive pub, restaurant and bar scene that provides the local, visitor and “night owl” a “pick your own adventure” of food, drinks and late night partying.
This past Monday night, my walk home from work was full of sunlight and brightness. My first thought was that I still had more energy at the end of the day than normal. Since I began running 6 years ago, I initially found that I loved running in the morning. Every runner (professional, competitive or amateur) has a “formula” that works for them. I have met people who have run the Boston Marathon and did not eat a single thing for breakfast. Some runners have a morning homemade energy smoothie in their glass mason jar down to a science and label themselves as a strictly morning, after work or late night runner.
My “formula” had always been a light breakfast of cereal (no coffee) and an early run in the morning. I enjoyed running when I had the most energy and on a fairly empty stomach. By the time I woke up, I craved the endorphines of a run and the extended energy it gave me in my day.
Once I had my son, a morning run was no longer part of my “formula” nor something I craved. I began to run again when my son turned 6 months old. He was sleeping better (which meant we were all sleeping better) and it was also the middle of summer. I realized that if I wanted to run, I had to abandon my old formula and make a new one. This was pretty scary for a Type A, exercise-aholic, control freak. However, I managed and my new formula was an evening run after I put my son to bed.
At the beginning of August, this meant I could run after 7pm. Much to my surprise I loved it! I had just gone back to work and the stressors of being a parent and my job seemed to abandon me as I set out for my evening run. In my own mind, I would be racing the “darkness” and would head home as the sun set over the mountain range behind our condo community. My “formula” changed again as winter began and I incorporated morning running back into my routine.
This past week, I set out on my first evening run since early October. I left at 6:22pm and wanted to see how long I could run before the sun set. By 7:00pm I had comfortably finished 5 kms and it was still lit! I continued to “race the darkness” and added some extra time and kms to my run and felt completely refreshed as I arrived home to dinner with my family. Spring is a time of renewal, new beginnings and/or the start of better things. For some it is getting rid of the old, cleansing their homes and their bodies and making resolutions for big and better things. Wherever this season takes you I wish you happy trails, extra sunshine and some added “spring” to your step.