Sunday, December 12, 2010

Running Into Darkness

Sunday December 12, 2010

Boomer Moose Hill run
Should I stumble, should I fall
Old man age behind

Not feeling up to going out for my birthday last night, Nancy and I spent a quiet evening at home watching Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson in “Last Chance Harvey.” Probably not the best film fare for one prone to critical self-examination and observing a late-fifties birthday. (One of my favorite quotes is from (I think) George Plimpton: “One going on a journey of self-examination should go well-armed.”)

I woke up this morning feeling generally crummy. Knowing one of my problems was a major lack of exercise this week, I did what I often do when feeling down: I headed for Moose Hill. Weather radar showed a gap in the big, cold rain storm blanketing New England so I donned hat and gloves, put the cell phone in a bag, and headed out the door.

By linking the Hobbs Hill Loop, the Kettle Trail and the Summit Trail I was able to run for over an hour almost entirely on trails. Feeling out of shape, my plan was to run slowly and steadily, gently bathing my cells in cleansing oxygen and endorphins. Planning to run slowly and long (for me) has the advantage of allowing for a gradual warm-up. Not only does this loosen the joints, but it allows time for thinking and, perhaps, working on a little haiku, counting syllables with wool-clad digits. There was a moment as I began the steep ascent up to the summit of Moose Hill that I thought about channeling my inner Rocky, but the Acela from Philly was late and The Rock was nowhere to be found, so I walked. At times when I'm feeling weak, I think about this video (Caution, strong language!) and push harder, but not today.

The longer I ran, the better I felt. The light, fresh air and cold raindrops helped lift the fog in my head. I think part of my problem is this damn disappearing December daylight. I always find myself in a funk at this time of the year and figure I suffer from SAD - seasonal affective disorder. But there's nothing better than a little exercise to lift the spirits. By the time I got home, the rain was falling harder, but a good run was behind me, and I knew soon the season would be turning and we would start climbing back to the light.

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