If you live in America, you'll have noticed that there was not a lot of action the other day. Regardless of the separation of Church and State, the nation pretty much came to a screeching halt while countless people celebrated a national past time of not working (that is true, of course, for everyone not in law enforcement, emergency services, the Jewish Starbucks, or currently living at the North Pole).
I, being an adult without children, get excited on Christmas morning just like everyone else under the age of 7, albeit for different reasons. I have something awesome to look forward to: my daily run.
Triathletes across the Northern Hemisphere experience a big lag in between races, forced upon us by waning sunlight, falling temperatures, and a propensity towards pansy-isms. (I lead the charge on that last one.) Winter time is commonly called the 'off season' in many circles of amateur, non-organized, summer sports. I think that calling winter the 'off season' is quite a poor application of the word. To me, the off season means, well, off. Not semi off. Not kinda off. Not off in the sense of "does this smell off to you?" Not off in the "his brain is a little off". (Oft heard as a response to reading my blog) (ha- that's the joke- no one often reads nor responds). But off as in doing nothing.
Christmas Day is the epitome of the off season for most. They take pretty much everything, except eating and watching TV, off. No work. No play. It's mostly just sitting, eating, drinking, and throwing paper wads at eat other made from the spoils of a recently unwrapped gift.
Not for me, though. I go for a run. (Okay, I do participate in all of the above. I admit it, it's pretty darn fun.)
I really look forward to this run. Sure, it was a bit chilly outside this year, with a runtime temperature of 16º F (or -9º C in case anyone with a good system of measurement is reading). There were a few clouds in the sky and there was a light breeze. I, sadly, being experienced with this sort weather, had ample amounts of clothing. This included 4 shirts, ear thingies, hand thingies, and my regular socks and shoes (unsure about the pants). With the rest of the country essentially doing nothing, I get the roads to myself.
My run was a short four and a third miler at an easy pace, I.E. nothing special. It was just a run. Except that it was real and it was spectacular. I was able to count the number of cars that passed me in either direction: n=13. I was out in the bliss for 35 minutes, making the automobile frequency of 1 car for every 2.8 minutes of running. Not once did I see 2 cars at the same time. I did see 9 deer, 3 other runners, 6 sledders, and 2 people taking a walk with their dogs. It was very much running utopia.
If you read the articles that are abundant this time of year, they will boast about the benefits of Christmas running. They'll cite metabolism, calories, endorphins, and a bunch of other sciency sounding words. I'm not going to tell you that they're wrong. I'm telling you that I think they miss out on the greatest point of all.
Rarely does a runner get to experience such an opportunity for relative solitude and peacefulness on the road. Rarely does a runner get to enjoy the open road without the imminent fear of certain demise. Rarely does a runner get to be in the majority of things without motors versus things requiring gasoline. Rarely does a non-running sloth get to call himself a runner.