Sometimes, just sometimes, I like to talk and write about running. My friends, family and colleagues may say different and describe it as more of a lecture or the simple art of blathering on. However, the act of running, the impact of it and the trials, trails and tribulations that it offers me is significant. It makes a difference and most importantly, as leaders, teachers and those involved in education at this time, carving a small, if not meagre and miniscule, slither of the evening to take time for yourself is immensely important. As referenced from my previous post about self-care, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Anyway, as I said, this is just about running. Nothing else, just running.
It’s gloomy out there. An obvious statement to make during these winter months but it’s pitch black. Running in the the dark is fun. Not for some, I understand that, but for me, I couldn’t think of anything better.
Evening running is a joy when illuminated by the orangey haze of the towering street lights above, however, when you confidently step away from the glare of city streets, head in to the rural areas that surround suburbia, night time running brings a wealth of different feelings and emotions in to play. It’s more than just running. It transcends the act of one foot in front of the other to become something about our primal and basic instinct. Just us. Alone. Disappearing into the silhouettes of nightfall.
With my head torch charged and a good soundtrack to run along with, I challenged myself to some cross country evening running. I know, I know, I did say that the fields were too wet before I left but, really, who cares.
A mile took me out of the boundaries to where I live and soon the dark country roads became available. Punctuated only briefly by the passing headlights of a car, the dark sky was still and I was alone. Enveloped in the dying embers of the sun, the turn of day was commencing and I, soon, would become invisible.
There was nothing. Time stood still. Just me.
A steady run through the two sweeping fields triggered images in the shadows.
As the sense of sight disappeared, the imagination took hold.
Shadows twisted and contorted to create shapes on the horizon. The head torch tracking their every move.
Starless and secret.
My steps unhurried as I traced the outline of a path a head.
I realised that only my steps forward would be lit and the miles I had ran previously had been incarcerated and consigned to history by the heavy, gloomy nightfall.
Only forward mattered.
The past wasn’t there to be seen; it to becoming invisible with every step and I was truly running in the present.
Each step born and then gone as soon as the next one was taken.
Each stride home, consigned to memory as soon as it had be completed.
The world around me didn’t exist; only I stood.
Stories, memories, metaphors appear in my head and more words, spoken and whispered come and go as the dark removes all the visual cues of being.
No shops, no people, no hours, no minutes, no past or present. Just the now. The moment.
As I reached the comforting glow of the streets lights that cast warmth upon the fragile edges of the village, I am back. Visible and present in the now.
Noticeable and obvious.
As soon as my watch indicates 10k, I stop, breathe and walk.
Another run completed, more miles and more imagination.
I turn to my street, stop, and then, as nature would have planned it, I tripped on the kerb.
Sometimes life’s better in the dark.