Rambling Roads: Autumn Runs

By George A. Hancock

Thursday, September 1 begins our meteorological autumn season. This seasonal time frame runs from September 1 through November 30. All autumn weather information is noted and recorded during this time.

The past several years witnessed warm September runs. September 3 last year was a 45 degree morning run. I wore gloves and a crew sweatshirt. The temperature rebounded the next day. Temperatures in the 40s stayed away until September’s final days. I ran in a dri-fit Tee and shorts most of last September.

Runners must remain weather-aware. Here in the Pennsylvania Laurel Highlands our weather can change drastically. Venturing outside for any running excursions without adequate weather knowledge is foolish. Plus, we can obtain weather information from so many sources. These days staying weather aware is easy. There’s no logical reason why individuals are weather clueless.

 September reinforces one of my running concerns. Our shrinking daylight hours hides “things” on my running routes. I do run with a hand-held rechargeable light. The light beam reveals these “things.” And, my light alerts motorists to my roadside presence.

Locally, I’m hearing proposals that could create havoc on our outdoor excursions. Cash-strapped municipalities are seeking ways to cut expenses. One idea floated is requesting street lights be turned off in some areas.   This act would reduce the municipality’s electric utility bill.

However, dark streets are unsafe streets. Unsafe in the sense that issues like potholes, road subsidence, water runoff, critters, even traffic pose potential problems for the road runner. There has to be a better way to navigate this issue.

September begins our colorful autumn runs. The foliage slowly begins to color. Some trees are sporting brilliant hues now. Each day adds more color to our roadside scene. My green ridges are showing their seasonal colors. These leaves in some spots are descending to our earthen floor.

Falling leaves are a common morning sight. Running in the quiet dark with these falling leaves is never sad. Some are saddened by this yearly occurrence. To them, these fallen leaves represent the end. The end of a rich vibrant green life. This road runner believes otherwise.

Autumn is another colorful season. These colorful leaves falling represent the end of one season as we move into the next season. It’s the circle of life. A seasonal cycle that promises hope, rebirth on down the road. Yes, there’s a cold season that we must endure. A cold season with its own unique beauty. Keep in mind that each season lasts only so long. Another season soon enters our picture.

September transitions us from summer’s warm weather to the cooler autumn season. We get a good taste of autumn’s scene by late September. Each season brings unique road characteristics to our routes. Thus, the daily runner never gets bored. The roadside scene changes every day.

Autumn gives runners delicious treats. Apples top my autumn list. The new crop is ready, presenting endless juicy post-run treats. Apples are a delicious fruit. Folks can eat them raw. Or, prepared in pies or other pastry treats. The baking possibilities are endless. My wife makes homemade applesauce. This is a delicious treat.

There are numerous other autumn vegetables harvested. Autumn is a great time for fruits and vegetables. The cooking and baking possibilities delight our taste buds.

Of course, there is that seasonal favorite pumpkin spice. Pumpkin spice appears in so many items these days. From cereal to coffee to baked goods to numerous other items. Pumpkin spice is a cool autumn reminder.

Autumn’s cooler weather enhances our daily runs and races. Lower temperatures and humidity enable the runner to pick up the pace. Longer races under these autumn conditions are more runner-friendly now. Runners wear a smile not a sweaty grimace.

Our year continues on. Autumn has arrived.  Enjoy! Run well, run smart!

Categories: Features

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