NightRunner’s Merry Christmas

Returning from a full day of family celebration to our home left me wanting to extend the joy in my heart for a while longer. It feels late. It’s been dark for hours and it’s freezing outside hovering around the high teens and low twenties but it’s only 8:30. Many of us think nothing of going for a run in June at 8:30pm, but when it’s cold and dark outside, you have the whole great outdoors to yourself and a few foxes, owls and mountain lions. Instead of watching a movie or some football the thrilling idea of heading out into the wilderness took hold of my focus. This was not a run about training or keeping holiday weight down but rather the simple pleasures of being human.

My body instantly began priming itself for the excursion. Part of the challenge of running in the cold is dressing appropriately, and I love getting it just right. To do this you need to be OK feeling a bit cold when you start out. I find the key is a supreme pair of mittens and having the ability to vent the arms. I’ve ran in single digits and had to pull up my arm sleeves to keep from sweating too much.

I step out of the warm house with my wife and daughter already fast asleep and become the NightRunner.

My breathing is deeper and fulfilling, the eyes adjust to the darkness, and my legs propel my 160 pound frame gracefully through the Christmas Lights of Harrison Boulevard with families hanging out in kitchens and living rooms enjoying the warmth of each other while my ears pick up the subtle sounds of near silence under a sky cloaked in star light.

Something deeply rewarding invigorates my soul and it’s really simple. Being healthy and moving while thriving in conditions that challenge one to enjoy their passion on another level animates the soul. My moon shadow streaks through the streets of the North End and after only a few minutes I enter the wilderness leaving almost all sights and sounds of man behind.

Yes, this is what I’m looking for. It’s a tremendous recharge. Maybe I’ll see a mountain lion? Errr, yikes, that might not end up to well for earthier of us nightprowlers.

I see no one. I run. I breathe. I love this. The natural night light resembles so many candles and Christmas lights that adorn the city houses and buildings. But out here, on a trail a few miles northeast of Boise I take in the view of the universe feeling utterly all alone yet surrounded by so much natural splendor that I feel more connected and plugged in. Yes, all this from a simple little evening jog as the NigthRunner.

I’m sorry when my run approaches its last few steps before entering my house. I take off my hat, mittens and thermal vest and the cool night air leaves my warm body with a wonderful sensation. Entering the house it feels hot and I take off my long sleeve shirt and notice that I nailed my attire choice for the evening. Almost no sweat on any of the outer layers while running comfortable with minimum protection means the run is almost perfect.

Breathing in the Christmas Spirit!

Boise Lunar Eclipse

It felt like the whole town was sleeping when I began running with absolute calm in the North End. The quiet refreshed my spirit. Mostly it was the lack of any car engines that are hard to escape. Running down the middle of the empty streets with glee in my feet and the moon yielding spectacular shadows of earth’s surface I appreciate my health. I hear a few people at Camel’s Back up early and enjoying the show and continue my journey into the wilderness cloaked in chilly darkness. For a full moon run the eclipse made things very dark. I run east into the single-track of the Boise foothills and keep turning backwards to make sure not to miss the show. Then, about 10 minutes in, the excitement of running alone, under the stars, with a creek trickling beautifully meditative sounds of running water under moon shadow like I’ve never experienced came a million dollar moment. Maybe a billion dollar moment (time will tell).

It swept over me suddenly. The power of it wrapped me with joy as the gratitude intensified. I laughed out loud almost feeling like a crazy person but it felt so good. I let it flow, my gratitude overwhelmed me like 1000 souls joining forces inside my spirit, all expressing thankfulness for a precious moment. A simple, beautiful, humbling moment of wonder and awe for this wonderful life; “Thank you, thank you, thank you” I spoke out loud. I wanted to let the universe know how fortunate I felt to be breathing and thriving in the twilight of a Pacific Northwest Lunar Eclipse.