Fall is here, and my running body knows it.
The sun is not rising until nearly 7 AM, and it is setting nearly 12 hours later; daylight hours are getting shorter and shorter. Now the mornings call for sweaters and scarfs, and hot coffee (or pumpkin spice latte) is the obvious choice for the morning’s pick me up.
As my body adapts to the weather by swapping out shorts for pants and light blouses for blazers, so too is my body adapting to the cooler temperatures through my running.
Waking up this past week since the fall equinox, my alarm has coincided with pitch black darkness. Sunrise remains at least twenty minutes away when I begin my morning runs, which means running through streets still lit by the street lights and birds still not alert enough to realize that morning is upon them.
Yet even as I run down shaded roadways, I’m reminded why this time of year is the perfect time to be a runner. My skin feels a slight tingle when I walk out the door and realize that the humidity has finally left the city and been replaced by a refreshing chill. As my feet hit the pavement, the hard crunch of leaves breaks up the silence on my path.
My pace picks up, too, No longer pushing myself through swampy feel-like temperatures or sunshine burning down on my bare shoulders, my body settles into a comfortable pace that is remarkably speedy, yet comfortable; it’s not as challenging as it felt previously to run sub eight, even sub 7:45, min/miles. It seems I have hit my groove.
Maybe that groove can be attributed to the last three months of effort. Leading up to October, I have spent the majority of my marathon training running in temperatures over 80 degrees and relentless humidity, with the awkward tan lines to prove it. Now with fall’s arrival and the big race less than a month away, my optimism is beaming.
As I hope to stay strong and healthy, October will be a month of self-care and dedication. I have worked so hard up to this point. The hardest thing between now and race won’t be my 20-miler on Saturday, but rather ensuring that nothing gets in the way of me crossing the finish line on October 26. I can’t control the weather that day, but I can control how my body performs.
Sure, something could go wrong, but I can’t let myself focus on those “ifs.” Earlier this year a situation had me spending too much time doubting myself and whether I should have taken certain actions to avoid what led to an unfortunate result. But rather than letting myself do that through this process, I am staying optimistic; I know I have worked hard and when it comes time for race day, I don’t want to have any doubts about whether I am ready. Because I will be.