I have learned this week that things don’t always go according to plan. I also learned that this is okay and sometimes we just have to enjoy life. I was not able to run on Monday, and Tuesday I was out sick, so I was dying to finally get out of work yesterday and enjoy the hot weather.

Since my next 5k race is on Saturday, this week I wanted to ease up on the running a bit and focus more on weights, since it is an (fun) obstacle race and my knee and hamstring had been acting up a bit. Luckily, my body feels good, but life had gotten in the way of hitting the gym this week, so no strength training for me. However, I was able to dance the night away Monday night, seeing my favorite band perform, and even got to hang with most of the band after the show. (Hey, dancing counts as a workout no? Plus, my night was totally worth two days of not working out! I will write about the awesome music soon!)

With that said, I could not wait to get back running yesterday. It was a hot 89 degrees early evening by the time I got home and as much as I wanted to feel a bit of sun on me, I am happy that I waited a bit later to start my run. I planned on running at Clove Lake’s Park to enjoy some hills, but we decided on driving to Gateway National Park, about 2 miles from my house. My mom took our dog Toby to walk so he could get his exercise and I ran the strip.

The heat was a killer and I am starting to remember how summer running feels now that I am thawed out from the NYC winter. I am happy that I pushed myself to work hard, even if the heat was a bit much. As the sun was setting, the light strawberry pink sky reflected over the water as sailboats bobbed along with the waves. The golden sun made its decline, the water glistening as if it was made of diamonds. A tiny bunny scrunched his nose up, chestnut brown fur shinny like silk. He did not even flinch to run away. (My mom told me she saw a deer behind one of the park’s fences, beady eyes just checking her and the dog out.)

By the time I was on my way back, I had to stop to help my mom with the dog, before sprinting the last 2 1/2 miles. I was mad at first that I had to stop to walk, but after I picked my speed back up, I realized that I could still have a good run and it only motivated me to pick up the speed a but more. By this time, the sun had gone to sleep, darkness surrounding the thick-leaved trees that draped along the path like curtains. Somewhere along this time, I got lost in the run, not even realizing I was nearing the end. I unclogged my mind and just let my legs carry me amongst the gravel. I thought about my past couple of days, let go off of the stress and filled myself with positive energy.

Average pace 11:32 min/mi
Average pace 11:32 min/mi

Most people had cleared out of the park and the night was still. I began to stretch, knowing my mom and pup were probably 15 minutes behind me. And then they attacked.

Mosquitoes began to repeatedly make contact with my flesh, there being just enough light for my to see their round bodies and needle-thin limbs attempting to taste me. I kept squatting them away, but not without them getting just a drop. I immediately began to itch al over and felt like I was bitten 100 times while waiting there. I tried to keep moving to get them away, but the more I went into the darkness, the more wooded the area became and it seemed like a trap.

Finally, my mom arrived and I never jumped in the car faster. I am happy that I was able to run during sunset, witnessing the changing time right in front me, almost being a part of it—moving with time. However, bug spray is a MUST. Overall, I happy to have finally gotten back at it after taking 3 days off, which for any runner seems like an eternity. Although I have some bug bites, these summer war wounds will not hold me back from running again tonight!

When do you go from a run in the summer? What is your favorite/least favorite park of night running?

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