I have one of these runs every year at about this time when summer is transitioning to fall. I normally run before work and try to be out running by 5:30 am.
During the summer this is great at it is usually the perfect temperature, the sun is rising or already up, the birds are chirping and yeah it's just sickening how lovely it all is.
And then we hit that magic point of the year when it is dark at 5:30 and I realize I've lost the running in the dark skills I had acquired over the previous winter. The birds don't chirp and there are creatures (real and imaginary) out there.
Today was that adjustment run. I went and ran what's called "Campus Loop" which takes me strangely enough through the UW Campus and along the Burke-Gilman trail. Right away I notice that along Ravenna Blvd. that the sidewalks seem particularly dangerous as it is dark and they are cracked. I have a flashlight with me but I still have to be careful. This goes on for a mile or so and I'm getting annoyed at sidewalk maintenance programs in Seattle. Hint: there are no programs.
The campus is well lit at night so that's not a problem but I'm jumpy about trash cans which seem to be lurking in the corners. And that electrical box, that could be somebody waiting to jump out. This is when having a very active imagination is not so useful! The next time I do this run in the dark, I'll have a better sense of where these gremlins are hiding and I won't be so nervous.
One of the last miles is an uphill mile which goes through Cowan Park on a tree covered trail alongside Ravenna Creek. It's always very peaceful in this little treed oasis in the city. As I came along side an area along the creek, there is a huge rustling noise in the creek. I turn off my flashlight and speed up! what the heck was that? I'm calling it a raccoon at this point. At the time, I pictured boogey men, gremlins and bears. Oh my!
Soon it'll be cold again. Soon it'll be raining again. I'll have adjusted and running in the dark, wet and cold won't be such a big deal. Now, it's a very sad good-bye to summer.