November’s Outlook

By George A. Hancock

November’s 30-day run begins on a Tuesday this year. We have reached autumn’s last month. A month where daylight is disappearing. Our daylight hours are shrinking. We welcome any and all daylight. Yet, we’re aware the sun’s angle reduces the sun’s warmth. For me, it’s just another dark running month. My morning runs were dark since August.

Despite the feeble daylight our November’s road sights are interesting. I run in suburban to rural areas. Most of my routes are tree lined. Many have some decent sized wooded regions near those morning routes. Remove the leaf foliage and interesting objects are found nestled in those roadside woods.

So, that’s where the neighbor’s garbage cans or flower pots went. Occasionally, a deck table umbrella is seen hiding in the woods. Sometimes those folding event chairs are spotted against a tree.

There’s always lots of paper especially newspapers lying in the now leafless woods. Sadly, sometimes there’s mail laying there too. I once found a whole pile of mail and notified the local police. This was far from anyone’s home. Actually, the mail belonged a good 10 miles away. The local police found the beat-up mailbox and the club used to “kill” it. I don’t believe the culprits were ever caught.

The November’s weather pattern is never a good indicator for the next season. November’s weather is known to bounce around.  Reviewing my November running log from last year was interesting. I ran in shorts until mid-November. A wet snowfall on the 15th covered our grassy areas. The roads remained bare. I ran on.

I didn’t need my warmer dri-fit jacket until around Thanksgiving. I did run in my ice and snow spikes on November’s next to last day. A decent snowfall covered my route. The township crews were out clearing the roads.

These days I’m a fitness runner. I run every day outside in every weather pattern. Since I’m no longer training for the next race I adapt my pace according to the current weather.

Our weather here in the Laurel Highlands changes on a whim. Runners must remain weather- aware and plan accordingly. One can safely run the roads in every weather system. The right mindset and running gear insure a safe run.

November’s 30 days may seem drab and dull. Yet, I maintain a vigilant watch on my morning run. There’s always a chance a runner may see a fantastic seasonal sight. Or, critters moving about in their natural habitat.

November brings deer season to Pennsylvania. These days I see or run past very few hunters on my running routes. The reasons for this are many. I do recall a morning sight several years ago. 

I was running along the Berwick Road in the November dark with my handy rechargeable road light during deer season. My light caught a hunter preparing to enter the woods during buck season. We chatted for a while and I wished him Good Luck. Now, on my return trip my light caught a huge 10-point or so huge buck eating behind that hunter’s parked truck. I smiled as I continued on my run home. I saw that buck several more times, too.

Turkeys are another fascinating creature. I hear them all the time during my morning runs. Yet, in those same locations folks sit listening for the turkey’s calling to no avail. Many people ask me what happened to all the turkeys. I never know how to respond.

The missing bird sounds are a November staple. The wooded areas are quiet. Most mornings the only noise is my running shoes crunching through withered leaves. Of course, the highway and traffic noises are present. Early morning commuters are making their way to work passing this running guy.

Some folks believe November’s weather is a good outlook for December and the winter season. I disagree with that point. Our weather these days is influenced more by weather systems and patterns generated a good distance from us. The weather systems and snowfalls that happened in the past are ancient history. Our weather has changed.

I’m ending my 49th road running year. That time span gives one a great perspective and history of local running weather. We do see seasonal storms but our winter seasons are mild. Storms are frequently short and intense. Many times these forecasted storms veer away striking another region. And, as an everyday outside runner, I’m fine with that point.

Time steadily moves along. Each season lasts just so long. Enjoy your November runs. Stay alert, run well, run smart!

Categories: Features

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