Saturday, December 13, 2008

3:30am: Part III

Part I * * * * * * * * * * * Part II

Saturday morning, December thirteenth, two thousand and eight, four a.m. (for consistency, I think I'll keep the 3:30am title, but in all truth, the alarm went off at 4am)

"Should I still run this morning? My schedule says that today is a rest day. I ran 10 gorgeous miles on the trails yesterday because of my Navy duty this weekend, but if I don't run this morning, and I can't run on Sunday, then that's 2 days off in a row and that simply is unacceptable. Run." I stumble into the kitchen and peer out the back window. Surprise, surprise, that back yard is illuminated. A full moon is out yet once again and with the fresh, thin layer of snow on the ground, it is awfully bright out for 4am. "Hmmmm, which espresso today? I think I'll take the Lavazza Blu, my favorite...and a banana. Anything new on e-mail?" I check e-mail and Facebook and I'm reminded of Jim Chaney in Texas. He's running with the Clif Bar pace team this morning and racing the Dallas Marathon tomorrow. "Good luck, Jim!" I also see a total of 3 different groups meeting for a run this morning. Mayor of Trails, Kurt O., is heading up a group with Red and Red Rubble over where I ran yesterday at Virginia Kendall. A 6:30am group will be at Lock 29 then swinging by the Boston Store at 7:30am, and the VR group run takes off from Lock 29 at 7:30am. "Gee...it's clear, cool, crisp. Perfect morning for a trail run. However, I need to make the best of it and run on my own then put on the uniform and get to Cleveland for the Navy. Any wind out there? Nope. Old Glory is motionless on the front of the house. Temperature? Ooohhhhh....15 degrees. Time to bundle up and cover the skin." The espresso finishes brewing while filling the room with its aroma, and every sip is pure joy. I gear up, pull over my Sugoi hoody, New Balance vest, Brooks wear-test shoes, Smartwool hat, and just in case of a wild driver or animal, my headlamp, but I doubt I'll need it. It's 5am...time to go.

"Oh boy, it's cold this morning. It's perfect, though. 'Hi, Mr. Moon! We run together once again!' The salt they dropped last night and the lack of any more snowfall has left clear, dry roads. OK, just take it easy today. Remember, you're supposed to be recovering this week. You just ran 6 on Thursday, ran an "aggressive" pace for 10 miles on the trails yesterday and now you'd BETTER take it easy. Just mentally slip away and let the moon light the way and forget about anything on your Garmin. Deal." I head out towards my rollercoaster hills like my last 2 "Mr. Moon" runs. Running at 5am with such a brilliant light takes my mind off tripping over roadkill, stepping in a pothole, and dry roads remove fear of ice patches. "Slip away, mind, slip away." I start thinking about Christmas and family. Just a short 2 days ago, my dad got positive test results for prostate cancer. The same day, my brother's father-in-law was rushed to the ER for a possible stroke. My dad is doing well but doesn't yet know WHAT to think. He will see the doc on Monday for a plan of treatment. Luckily, my family is full of nurses so we all have people to call and lean on for help, explanations, and guidance. These thoughts of family bring forward other thoughts of Christmas and how it comes and goes and how so much is wrong with it. Not wrong with Christmas, but what it's become in our nation of consumerism. Why can't people just enjoy being with each other and celebrate health, happiness, and each other? Oh yea, here's an idea: how about celebrating Christ's birth? CHRISTmas. This competition for getting the latest must-have is terribly sad. Why do people literally run down people at a Wal-Mart and kill them for a few sale specials? Are we inherently vicious animals? I think not! It is a lifestyle flowing with the need for more and more and more. Excuse me, I meant to say the "want" for more and more. So very little is "need."

"Wow, I'm feeling really, really good this morning. I don't even feel like I'm moving. I wonder what pace this is...wait, don't look. It doesn't matter. The stars are so brilliant this morning, too. Constellations are so easy to pick out." My mind continues to wander.......

Casting Crowns has a song called "While You Were Sleeping" and it talks about how when Christ was born, Bethlehem had no room for Him. It transitions over time and ends up with the United States. While not talking specifically about consumerism or our relentless pursuit of wealth, it asks the fundamental question of will we (the U.S.) go down in history as a nation with no room for its King? Here are the lyrics if you want to read them. It's a great question. Whether you subscribe to a Christian faith, a different faith, or no faith at all, where do you fall on this? Are you celebrating the true meaning of Christmas or just another federal holiday that consists of a gift exchange and "holiday" parties? Think about it.

"The moon is super bright this morning. It is so quiet, too. I need to be careful not to run too far or I'll be late this morning. There's the Catholic church and the little bridge. The water is crackling this morning beneath the bridge and I can hear the sizzle of the frost on the power lines up above. There it is...time to turn around...my 3 mile mark beeping at me on my Garmin." I head on back over the bridge, past the church, and back towards my roller-coaster hills. WHOA! A semi-truck coming right at me! "What on earth is this truck doing here this morning!??!" I jump off the road because this truck is all over the road. I stop and stand still and wait for it to pass then get moving again. Did he really not see my bright red top and reflective piping all over my body? Typical for my neck of the woods. I head on over the hills and before I know it, 5 miles are done. Sadly, I'll be home soon and it'll be time to get a move on. But wait! Out of the side of my right eye, I see a shooting star! In the southern sky, a super-bright shooting star arched across the sky. It was a surreal moment. I stopped and turned around staring at the sky trying to "catch" another one. No luck...that was the one and only. That was great, though. I wonder if anyone else saw it. That reminds me: "I wonder who else is running with me under this moonlight this morning. The Hellgate 100K Trail Run is going on right now down near where Masochist was last month...and hopefully they have the same light I have. I doubt anyone else in my town is running or enjoying this moonlight...they sure are missing out. It's never too cold for a run."

Back home, I hear the 6 mile point alarming on my Garmin. 8:36 pace and just shy of 1000 calories burned. "Oh wait a minute...this cracks my 2000th mile for 2008! YES! A great milestone for a great year." Back inside, Marjie is up and making her rounds of the blogs she reads every day. All I could say was "I think I feel a blog post coming on..."

2 comments:

Kim said...

Nice.
As I was driving south, home from the URINEO FA, the cars were backed up on I-77 at the Belden Village Mall. Unreal.
Somehow, I know I had a better day running than those people!

Anonymous said...

Nick,
While You Were Sleeping has been one of my favorite songs since it came out. Awesome song.
-Bob