It wasn't even like running with my body as it was with my mind. I got up and actually considered not going out this morning. The temperature was at 29F and more snow had fallen overnight. If I've learned one thing about early morning 4am runs is that I never, ever regret going. I went through my normal morning rituals: espresso, banana, Facebook, e-mails, blogs…then headed on out. Never once did my headlamp get turned on. I was wearing a lot of dark clothing and didn't want to see any cars so I headed out for the rolling countryside.
Step after step left the first print in the snow ahead of me on the snow-lit road ahead. Not a car, not an animal, not a person had been out yet. Something is so special about being the first after a snowfall. It was quiet, too, with hardly even a footfall heard beneath me. Nothing more than steady breathing and some crunchy snow with each step. I knew it was snowing, too, not because I could see it. I never did. I could feel it, though…each flake on my face as they fell. Awareness down and fully vulnerable to a bounding deer across the road, a chasing dog from a nearby farm, I slipped away mentally and ran absolutely effortlessly through the snow and across the farm-laden countryside. In the distance, I could see bright multi-colored Christmas lights along a fenceline marking the entrance to the biggest home on the street. They shined bright, far off in the distance against nothing but a backdrop of white all around. Soon, it was time…time to turn around and head home and face life straight on as the work week began. I traced my steps back, still not another track anywhere to be found. Breathing steady, pace steady, and running without even trying. I thought about everyone who'd miss out on this today as they jumped aboard the rubber mats with pulleys and belts to run in place, inside, with a TV or radio nearby. They won't miss this for they don't even know it exists. It's sad, you know, that such beauty exists right here in a small, rural, country town and most, probably 99.9% of the town sits inside and sees none of it. For me, it's yet another reason to lace up, head out, and breathe in the cold air and do what comes naturally and maintains its purity mile after mile after mile. Fresh snow, cool air, flakes upon my skin, and steady breathing with every footstrike surrounded by silence…to be fully immersed in a landscape that for me, on this first day of winter, was priceless beyond measure.