Last Friday was another stepping stone on my road to staying fit. By the time I came back home and was ready to run, it was getting dark, and it was getting cold. I never ran when the temperature was below freezing, so I didn’t know what to expect. After getting used to the Texas heat, I knew it was going to be frosty here. I just didn’t realize it was going to be freezing. When I stepped outside in my running gear, I felt like I just opened the doors to a fridge. After I changed, and got back with a warmer sweater and some gloves, I still felt the same way. This time, I just wasn’t going to let myself freeze.
I didn’t freeze, and I am really happy that I ran that day. The Neuse River trail never looked so remarkably beautiful. While I was running, I took the time to look around, listen, and marvel at the stunning scenery. There is no painting, photograph, or work of art that could possibly capture the pure enjoyment of something so breathtaking. As I kept going forward, I couldn’t help noticing how the tree branches glistened from the ice while the sun was slowly setting over the forest of pine trees softly whispering in the wind. In spite of the light breeze, the Neuse River had a very calm, soothing flow to it, as the silver-colored water sparkled in the twilight.
The legendary runner Gordon Pirie wrote, “The champion runners, who all have to run correctly, do not make much noise when their foot lands. When the fastest runner runs, he is very quiet on his feet.” I took his advice to heart, and I tried my best to land as lightly as possible on my feet during that run. My goal at that moment was to decrease the noise that my feet were making as they were hitting the ground with each step that I made. Instead, I wanted to focus on hearing the sounds of nature.
To some extent I succeeded. For the first time since I’ve started running on the trail, I didn’t hear a single bicycle bell. I didn’t even see another runner. It looked like it was just too cold. Occasionally, I would hear the leaves rustling as the rabbits and squirrels scurried away at the sound of my feet approaching. The cold that I was dreading so much disappeared as quickly as I picked up my pace. While my feet were still making a sound, I felt like that sound was gradually becoming in sync with the sounds of the leaves, the flow of the river, and the whispering pines. It was like a new musical instrument joining an orchestra that finally became harmonious. The sound wasn’t too loud, but it wasn’t too soft either. It was just perfect. The rhythm was there, and I didn’t want it to stop.
Before I knew it, the sky was almost pitch black. I was at the point where I could no longer see any scenery. Even though it was dark, and the temperature was 30 degrees, I felt like running further, so I could keep the rhythm going. Reluctantly, I turned around and started going back. At the end, my reason overcame my rhythm, and I safely found my way home. Looking back, I now realize that there is nowhere that I’d rather be that evening than running along the Neuse River Trail in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Miles From Last Week
Monday: 3.5 miles
Tuesday: 7.5 miles
Friday: 6.5 miles
Total: 17.5 miles
Miles Ran in December: 72.7
Ideas For Future Posts
Remembering Gordon Pirie
Nuts and Bolts: Running Techniques
Running Injuries and How to Avoid Them
Stretching Done Right
My Routine: How I Really Do It
How I Started Running
Old School vs. New School Runners
Time for New Shoes
Best Races to Run Around the World
Running the World’s Best 10K
Music for Runners
Gear up for Running
Let’s go Grocery Shopping!
Physics of Running