Rambling Roads: October’s Turn

BY GEORGE A. HANCOCK
runnergah@comcast.net

October arrives early on a Monday morning. We begin a new week in the tenth month on this day. October 1 is the 274 day in year 2018. We now have 91 days left in this year. Please plan accordingly.

Autumn’s powerful colors quickly spread across our green ridges. Frequently, depending on weather conditions this majestic natural show is over in days. This year may be a quick seasonal show due to our extreme late summer temperatures. Many leaves were falling in early September.

This year the foliage was tricked into an earlier change. Days with thick cloudy skies plus the natural shrinking daylight created this early foliage change. A few are unnerved by the quick change. Yet, the running crowd notice the change on their daily excursions. Runners are seldom surprised by natural change.

We have two significant October holidays. Columbus Day falls on Monday October 8. Some individuals are opposed to this holiday. Recent research revealed that Christopher Columbus was a questionable historical figure. Columbus Day is one of those legislated federal, state, and bank holidays.

October’s last day is Halloween. Halloween is a great way to end this autumn month. Of course, a bag of delicious collected treats is also appreciated. Even Halloween has its detractors these days. Some are opposed to the evil connotations associated with this spooky day. Others are opposed to youngsters begging for candy treats in the neighborhood.

Of course, the running crowd merrily runs along on these days enjoying the autumn atmosphere. Why create a mountain over a slight hilly upgrade?

There is one point everyone agrees upon during October’s autumn days. Our daylight is steadily shrinking. We lose daylight from both morning and evening.

Daylight in Greater Johnstown on October 1 occurs at 7:11am. Our sunset happens at 6:13pm. This means we have eleven hours and forty five minutes of October daylight.

But on October 31, sunrise happens at 7:43am. Our sunset is at 6:03pm. We have ten hours and twenty nine minutes of daylight on Halloween. So, many individuals working longer work shifts do commute to work and back home in the dark. This dark scenario remains in place until one future spring day.

“Hello darkness my old friend.” Some fear you others loathe you. Well, the daily runners embrace you as another phase in our changing seasons. The daily runner notes the change and runs accordingly.

We have great reflective vests. There is a huge array of high-visibility clothing available for runners. We also have hand-held rechargeable lights. I’m using the Nathan Zephyr Fire 100 light. It casts a great light beam upon those darker roads. And, it alerts motorists to the runner moving along the roadside.

It’s probably a good time to review our cool-weather road gear. The weather changes quickly during our autumn days. Indian summer can evolve into cold fall rain in hours. Those autumn winds can create a chill on a longer road run. Of course, a daily run in T-shirts and shorts in now a rarity in Western Pennsylvania. Our seasonal weather is changing. Smart runners are aware and run accordingly.

My shoes with ice and snow spikes are ready in October. I really don’t enjoy putting these special shoes into service. However, knowing the shoes are ready for that first icy snow is a comforting thought. Likewise, the tossel caps, the gloves, and cold weather jackets are within reach.

Once all the gear is ready and close at hand we can fully enjoy the colorful October season. This runner continues to monitor the weather trends. Weather surprises are never fun on a road run. Weather awareness insures trouble-free miles. Plus, it permits time to stop and smell those roses or in autumn’s case view the spectacular scenery.

Once we reach that delicious Halloween evening November’s stark gray scene awaits the road crowd. Enjoy the color show and autumn’s myriad treats. Run smart!