I know a lot of people who don't like winter. They don't like the cold. They don't like the long days. They just want to hibernate until it starts to warm up again.
That's a little like I feel in summer. The heat just sucks my energy away and ideally I'd just like to lie somewhere cool with an icy drink until it passes.
But life doesn't let you just hide away for three or four months. There are things that just have to get done. Workouts that need to be ticked off. And so every year in about October I put on my big girl pants, harden up and resign myself to getting sweaty and smelly.
The world keeps turning and by April the weather starts to become a little kinder and all those sweaty hours start to pay off.
But I don't mind it being dark. I quite like getting up when no one else in the house is awake, except Toby and even he doesn't get off the couch to greet me before 5:00am.
It's not even light yet!
There are just so many benefits to running in the cooler months. (disclaimer: it never gets ridiculously cold here and it never snows)
It's just easier on your body not having to get rid of all that excess heat. Your heart rate will be lower and you don't have to sweat quite as much. All your energy can go into the workout rather than having to keep a little aside to stop your internal organs from cooking.
It's great to be able to see the sun come up. Nothing beats watching the sunrise over a river or from a mountain. Watching the first rays of light reflect golden off the high rises. Marvelling at the pinks, purples and oranges that are painted across the sky. Seeing the city buildings in silhouetted relief against a daily ever-changing masterpiece. It always fills my spirit and lifts me.
It's way easier to use bush toilets in suburban areas under the cover of darkness. That one's an important one for me. I feel so much less self-conscious bush diving when it's dark. I also feel more alone (on my non-squad runs) and that's important for me coming from a household filled with four males and fairly regular female visitors.
You will feel virtuous and superior to the majority of the population for having done the hard yards in conditions that most people use as an excuse not to work out. This allows you to brag gratuitously but subtly in conversations with strangers, friends and family. I find that people are totally impressed when you start a conversation with "When I was out running my 20ker this morning at 5:00am in four degree temperature and gale force winds ..." That glazed look in their eyes is just them processing your complete and utter awesomeness.
In fact I can only think of one down side to getting up in the dark to get in some kilometres. And that would be trying to get around the house without waking up the family. For me this usually involves using minimal lighting and having my running clothes laid out on the dining table. Because of the minimal lighting thing, I have a tendency to bump into or trip over stuff. The bumping into furniture part is probably inexcusable being that we have lived in this house for 26 years and haven't moved our furniture around for most of those 26 years. My theory is that I lose track of my actual dimensions in the dark and think my hips are smaller than they are. So to counteract the threat of bruising I walk around at shuffle pace with one arm out in front of me acting like an antenna.
The tripping over part I blame totally on Toby. Having a one year old golden retriever is like having an untidy toddler. Toby is a dog who loves toys but hasn't yet learnt to tidy them away.
Ted is his favourite. Ted is usually carried around and shown to any person who comes through our gate. Ted is also the result of grand larceny - stolen off Josh's bed and re-stolen any time that Josh has tried to retrieve it. Josh has now surrendered Ted into Toby's loving care, knowing he will be well cared for.
But Ted also gets left in places where you wouldn't expect him. And the other morning while I was shuffling/stumbling my way around the dark kitchen I found him. With my foot. And he felt remarkably like a dead rat.
It's amazing just how well you run after you've had a near-rat experience.
So even the only negative of getting up in the dark to run has a silver lining.
What season do you most like to run in?