Daylight Savings Time has returned in my neck of the woods and with it the return of darkness for my morning training.
You can hide a lot in the darkness. Like my slow stride. Like my stilted gait.
Today is a recovery run. 12 kilometres nice and easy after yesterday’s 38 kilometres. My first kilometre is agonizingly slow. My movements awkward and clumsy. But I am in actual fact, moving.
Fitfully I amble up the slight incline. I am like a toddler shakily learning how to place one foot in front of the other in a valiant effort of locomotion. And like a toddler I find myself tempted to crawl.
My pace is a full minute per kilometre slower than yesterday’s long slow run. One day’s easy pace becomes the next day’s Herculean effort. A bitter irony every runner has tasted.
Yet I soldier forward. Random thoughts bouncing in my head. What time is it? When are we meeting our friends for breakfast? The most random of all being strands of Jackson Browne’s Somebody’s Baby setting up camp within my cerebral cortex.
The latter induces smiles for nary an apparent reason. But the run gets easier the more Jackson sings. The run gets easier the more I smile — despite my tortured quads.
Eventually I forget about the pain altogether and I just run. The random thoughts and oddly endearing 80’s soft rock lyrics fade as I dial into my stride. 12k after 38k begins to feel easy.
And this realization coaxes yet another smile from me. A smile not because of Jackson Browne. A smile because I know that as race day nears I am getting stronger.