Night RunWinter has taken its last breath, the cool, fresh spring breeze blowing a certain optimism that lingers in the air. It seemed as though the city that never sleeps was awakened today, joggers dogging pedestrians on their way to and from Central Park runs.

Just as the season takes its metamorphosis, I too have been on the trails of transformation. Although I have been running on and off for year now, I have begun to take my running very seriously in the past two months. No longer do I run just to maintain or lose weight (depending the season), but I now view running as a lifestyle. For me, it is a certain state a mind, a certain state of being.

I am currently training for my first half-marathon (that is nine days away!), but slight knee pain after my 11 mile run on Saturday caused me to make the decision to take a few days off.  Today I felt ready to run again, not wanting to miss out on my first run of the spring season.

By the time I got home from work, a crisp breeze replaced the warmth of the now set sun.  I love running during the night, a time where I let go of the day and get lost in my thoughts. Although my knee felt a bit off at first, I soon realized I just needed to warm up and my first mile flew by. Somewhere during mile two, my legs took on sole awareness so that my mind can rest as it drifted away.

Ground glaze15 minutes or so later, my body and mind were both free from restraints from the day. I looked down at one point and saw the black concrete glistening. The small glass diamonds in the asphalt lay out at my feet, winking to me as if they new a secret. It was as if their crystallized energy was fuel to my soles and my soul. I looked up to the black velvet night, stars twinkling, mirroring images of what lie beneath me.

 

StarsI picked up pace on the incline, running down or up on my favorite road. It didn’t matter the direction, I had found home. The four days since my last run, just then felt like an entirety. I guess it does for any runner. I felt my muscles strengthen mighty like a stallion. On the next stride, my eyes rose back up to the sky. As I gazed at the Big Dipper, shinning in all its glory to be everything against the nothingness, making its presence known among the other luminaries, I began to think how many other people where doing exactly what I was, feeling the same feelings in this exact moment? Recently, I have begun to feel the sense of community amongst runners. Although we are all competitive, we all support each other. People we don’t even know. But we are connected because we know the love and joy running brings, we know the struggle, we know what it means to fight, we know what it means to win—even if winning means your PR for that day, or just getting out to run at all.

My thoughts then ran.

Dark horseMy muscles began to feel strong and alive. I imagined my thigh muscles and saw right past flesh into the meaty tendons. I imagined blue and red veins, rubber in elasticity stretching out to attach to earth, connecting me to nature. I felt isolated, but paradoxically felt connected to the world around me. This is one of the greatest feelings of running. Being a single part, and being whole. Nature was breathing with me every breath I took. The air hugging my lungs and releasing as the wind gently stroked my face. Running in the darkness of the night, sometimes the only light was the one that burns the fires within me. And as I wrapped up my first run of the spring season tonight, I felt the like I reached the highest point on my personal equator. A solstice.

Tonight’s run-> Distance: 4.30 mi. Time: 50:54. Pace: 11:51 min/mi.

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