To a runner, seasons are not dictated by a calendar. I understand that in the truest definition, seasons result from the annual orbit of the Earth around the Sun and the tilt of the Earth's rotational axis relative to the plane of the orbit. An even firmer definition explains the equinox as that moment at which the sun crosses the celestial equator, when day and night are of equal length. So there is an exact moment in time when each season begins, and the previous one ends. By that standard, the fall equinox occurred last night at 10:29 PM. I say hogwash to that.
Despite what the calendar and science say, my seasons can change almost daily, depending on what’s happening on the other side of my window. In the last two weeks, I have experienced all four seasons, and I refuse to call it summer when external indicators say something completely the opposite. When I flew to Calgary on September 9th, I was snapping photos of snow-covered landscape only several hours after leaving behind a balmy Atlanta. And just this weekend, local temperatures climbed into the upper 80’s.
|Flying into Calgary on Sept 9, 2014. Officially still summer!|
In between, there has been a wide range of temperatures, from highs in the mid 80’s to lows in the upper 50’s. Even within a single day, different temperatures mean different things to different runners. I don’t particularly and personally care about daily highs, especially during the week, when I’m usually locked in a room during the sunniest and warmest hours of the day. All I care about is the bottom line, the daily low, as that is when I will be out there, reflective vest and headlamp on, running my miles.
We had spotty samples of Autumn weather even in July and August this year, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Each month, there were a couple of days when overnight lows dipped into the upper 50’s, a rarity, but after a day, it was back to the summer heat and humidity we have grown to despise. It’s frustrating to still be sweating 20 minutes after a post-run shower, but that was what most of early September was like for me. I had to sit around waiting to stop sweating before I could get dressed for work.
But now, it is late September, and there is more of a temporary permanency associated with a real change of seasons. The last couple of mornings have hovered in the lower 60’s, and this morning, a clear star-filled sky and cooler drier air, with temperatures in the upper 50’s greeted me at the door. The toll of the seemingly endless heat and humidity is lifting, and being replaced with a Canadian influence of more arid, more comfortable air. How much nicer it is to wonder halfway through a run when the next one is going to be, instead of when this one is going to end.
This is the front door to my favorite time of year, possibly magnified because it leaves behind my least favorite season. Soon, the air will get even crisper and the wind will have additional bite to it. The leaves will start turning, that first run in long sleeves will take place, and full-fledged autumn will engulf us. The memories of past wonderful autumn runs will flood my mind, dreams of future autumn runs will fill my imagination, and I will love every moment of it. If I could box any season and make it last all year, this would be the one.
|Last Autumn at The Biltmore Estate-Asheville, NC|
If you’ve been on the fence and looking for motivation to start running or even more importantly, to return to it, let this be your call to action. Get, up, met moving, get out.