Scared of My Own Shadow

Me and My Shadow

Me and My Shadow

Miles run yesterday: 10

New pair of running shoes bought yesterday (post-run): 1

Time I wake up to run three times a week (Saturdays, we run later): 5:15

Two things I will tell you about running at 5:15 a.m.:

1. It’s cold.

2. It’s dark. After Daylight Savings Time started, super-dark.

Always a staunch supporter of Daylight Savings Time, I am now a hater. Well, a disliker.

Of course, I’ve done training before in the early morning. I trained for my very first half-marathon several years ago with 5:15 a.m. runs, back when my husband left early for work, and my kids were tiny. My husband ran after work, and I got the before-work slot.

That time around, it was a June-December training cycle, and early morning was definitely the way to go to avoid ghastly 98-degree heat.

But this time, did I mention that it’s dark and cold?

And sometimes, I’ll be running along, doo-de-doo-de-doo… minding my own business, and I pass under a pinky-white streetlight in my neighborhood… Psssst! Darkness!  No more light. Poof!

It’s unnerving.

Here are the people awake when I am:

1. Tired parents of middle and high school students who attend school far away. They sit in their cars with the headlights on and the engines running until the bus squeals to a stop along the main thoroughfare.

2. Tired but devoted dog-walkers.

3. People still in their pajama pants who have thrown on a fleece sweatshirt and just started sleep-walking down the street. They do not wave.

4. The occasional runner wearing a bobbing, laser-pointer light thingie.

5. Me.

Perks to running at 5:15 a.m.:

1. I never have a problem crossing a street. Never. Not once.

2. I don’t have to wear sunscreen.

3. I don’t have to breathe in car fumes, extending my lung life by .6 years.

4. I don’t have to worry that my shirt isn’t tucked in right or if my hair is sticking out.

5. Like so many people in America, I might have been sleeping way, way too much. There is no worry about that now. No sirree.

So anyway, one day in my first week of running in the middle of the night, I was rounding a corner near my favorite grocery store. The stoplights in the intersection behind me were flashing from red to green. I was on fire. Well… I was plodding along.

When BOOM! A large shadow loomed out of the towering bushes in front of me.

EEEEEEK!

Heart palpitations, sucking in of breath, fear.

Yeah. You may have guessed:

It was my own shadow, looming towards… myself.

Boy, did I feel stupid. And it brings to mind so many existential, high-brow questions…

Am I afraid of myself?

Do I have anything to fear but fear itself?

Why am I out running at 5:15 when most God-fearing people are tucked up in bed?

If I run a 9-minute mile from here to home, what time will I eat breakfast?

Coffee?

I have learned so many things about myself from my early morning runs. So many important, life-altering things.

Mostly: I like warm weather. And light.

And also: I still love and need to run.

What about you? When you’ve made a major life transition, what have you learned about  yourself?

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Did You Miss Me? Some Things Take Time

Fall leaves. They're a seasonal thing.

Fall leaves. They’re a seasonal thing.

Miles run today: 10

Days since I last posted: 11

Fish tacos eaten tonight for dinner: 2.5

First of all, just so you know, fall leaves are not easy to find in March.

Finding props for commercial shoots is part of my new job, and apparently, there is not a demand for fall leaves until at least August. So… if you go searching, I’m here to tell you that they will be mighty difficult to find.

Anywhoo….. I’ve missed all of you fellow bloggers tremendously! Apologies for not visiting and not commenting. I am trying to find my perfect work-life balance, and perhaps that’s not the easiest thing to achieve within the first one and a half weeks of a new job.

For my new job, sometimes I’ll get to blog! How fun.

So my new coworkers were wanting me to search through old photos to illustrate my first blog post… something about my time interning at CNN, or maybe my early jobs doing PR at hospitals. Here’s the thing: we didn’t used to have 24/7 access to cell phones with cameras. We didn’t chronicle our every breath. We didn’t have photos of us sitting at laptops… writing.

How very banal.

But it took me back to when I was in my early twenties, when my best friend and I used to frequent a wonderful bookstore (with real, non-e-books!) in Buckhead, right near the heart of Atlanta. In the summertime, the evenings would be humid and wonderful, and we had all the time in the world. We had no real responsibilities, no real pressures.

We would go out for big slabs of carrot cake and cups of Sumatra coffee at The Dessert Place, one of the coffee shops that preceded the rise of Starbucks, a place where the coffee bean roastery thingie was all exposed and beautiful in its steely-ness. We would peruse the (paper!) listing of goings-on downtown in Casual Loafing, circle some of them with red pen, talk about boys, and stroll through the streets to our favorite bookstore.

The bookstore was huge.

The whole thing was wooden, and there were two stories. Stories!

The shelves were wood, the floors were wood, and wherever there wasn’t wood, there were books. It smelled of coffee and wood and old, leafy pages.

We liked to hang out in the numerology and astrology section.

I’m not sure what we thought we would find there. Perhaps a boy? But boys didn’t go there. Too girly.

We combed the pages for hints as to how we would meet our soulmates. But mostly, we talked and laughed. Maybe our quest wasn’t for a boy after all; we were having way, way too much fun.

When we roamed the fiction section, one of the books I remember flipping back through was The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Oh, how I loved that book!

A few days ago, my kids and I had run out of good books to read after trying a few boring samples on the Kindle. I started reading Sherlock Holmes to them.

“I don’t get it. Nothing’s happening,” my son said, lolling around the bed, the boredom rolling off of him in waves.

“Watson is explaining the sort of person Holmes is,” I told him. “Be patient.”

“Something needs to happen,” he said. “What’s the problem? The words are so… hard to understand.”

“Not everyone says ‘dude,'” I told him. “Holmes is a master of disguise. And he’s kind of quirky. I think you’re going to like him.”

“Where’s Bohemia?” my daughter asked. “Why are they lighting the lights? They didn’t have electricity?”

We got at least three-quarters of the way through the first story, and they both stopped wiggling. “There’s a photograph? And the king guy can’t get married because she’s blackmailing him?”

I’m here to tell you that Instagram and Snapchat aren’t so far removed from Holmes and his investigations. My kids started listening. And good.

Sometimes, adapting to new information takes time.

And sometimes, as I watch my kids adapt to new stuff, it makes me realize that I need time to adjust, too.

My whole early twenties were a time of adjustment. Combing through the photos made me remember that.

Good books didn’t used to jump right into the action. You had to warm up to it.

And new jobs, new phases of life, take a little adjustment, too.

What about you? Are you good at adapting? Or do you need a little warm-up?