by George A. Hancock
November begins a thirty-day run on Friday, November 1. This is day 305 in our steadily waning year. Once November crosses the finish line we see a mere 31 days left in year 2019. Hopefully, everyone has acted on or pursued their goals.
Time is a fickle force. Squandering precious moments is a waste. Time steadily flows on. And, as of this writing, time cannot be slowed, halted, or paused. Time maintains a steady pace. Blink and time has steadily moved on.
We run in the present. We plan for the future. Living in the past is a timely mistake. Nostalgia is nice. Recalling those past days with wondrous memories is pleasant. However, continually reliving the past whether the good or bad days serves no useful purpose. We need to move on.
Running in regions experiencing the four seasons greatly helps this life process. The Greater Johnstown region has four distinct seasons. Although many decry some of the seasons, especially winter, these varied seasons are a flavored spice in our lives.
November for so many is a dark bleak month. The colorful foliage is gone. The weather is colder. The winds more fierce. Daylight is a disappearing factor. So many commute to work in the morning dark only to drive home in the evening darkness. Yet, November offers great opportunities.
Once upon a time year-round road racing did not exist in most regions. The late autumn and winter season was used for base building. Base building was the simple act of running every day. Perhaps the runner was recovering from injuries. Or, steadily building the weekly mileage for some spring running event.
Intervals, hill work, fartlek runs were cut back or eliminated while the runner toured the local roads. The cold winter season was prime recovery time. Recovery was not only physical. Road racing, especially for swift times was mentally challenging.
November through February was the perfect time frame for physical and mental recovery. The cold blowing snow never hampered any upcoming race. There were no road races scheduled until the spring months.
There were a few road races in the nation’s warmer regions. These races offered runners willing to travel an early challenge. Yet, most runners were in recharge-run mode. These runners were happy just getting outside and running.
Today, so many runners race year-round. One has to wonder about the long-term mental and physical drain. Perhaps this is one reason why so many younger runners burn out. And, year-round racing is very expensive. Entry fees for many races are steep. Sure, many road races are held to support a worthy cause. But, the old wallet or purse only holds so much money. There is no money tree available for runners. Or at least, I have never run by any money trees.
Darkness is no doubt a primary reason most folks loathe November’s days. Darkness is a runner’s companion. Unless that runner is a mid-day running person. Sunday, November 3 finds most falling back in time. We resume Eastern Standard Time. Many individuals drive to work in the dark and return home in the dark. This darkness troubles many people.
A cure is getting outside. A mid-day outside excursion is great. The late autumn sun, although somewhat weak, is still great to see and feel.
Outside excursions beneath the shimmering streetlights also provide cabin-fever relief. One can check the November sights. One perfect late November sight is the decorated homes. Many people begin decorating their homes around Thanksgiving. Running through neighborhoods with festive twinkling Christmas lights is very soothing. Plus, these lights illuminate our way.
Sure, those cold November winds may tug at our sleeves. Darkness may seem to cover the entire day. November’s daily temps may feel chilly even in the sunlight. And autumn’s brilliant colors have disappeared. But, our daily road excursions remind us that late autumn is a rebuilding recovery season.
Every season lasts just so long. Mother Nature does create unique seasonal beauty. We simply need to get up, go out, and explore the local roads. Running the November roads in seasonal running gear is fun. The roadside view changes every day.
Hibernation is not suitable for the human population. Our year is moving on. Enjoy the November view. Run well, Run Smart!