My wife doesn’t run. My local buddies don’t run. Thus, twitter and wordpress have been great for virtually connecting with others in the running community. Often times I find myself scrolling through my twitter feed, over coffee, admiring all of your drop dead gorgeous Instragram photos of mountains … sunrises … sunsets … forests … snow … you name it, I’ve seen it. It’s awesome, and has to be a hell of a motivation to your running.
My running photos look like this:
That’s honestly a real picture!!! – taken at 4:59am on 12/6. I believe Venus and Jupiter were supposed to be in there.
Or they look like this:
You see, as a #darkskyrunner – my instagram isn’t sexy. Sure, every once in awhile, I’ll get something like the snowmen, or if I’m running during the afternoon, on a weekend, I’ll get some shots to share, but in general, Instagram isn’t for us darkskyrunners.
That’s not to say my runs are void of awesomeness. I’ve seen full moons, new moons, no moons, super moons and lunar eclipses. I’ve seen meteors and beautiful starry skies – using my trusty iphone to learn new constellations along the way.
I’ve seen the first rays of light to kiss the Southwest Michigan horizon.
I’ve stashed my headlamp and experienced the serenity of running alone, in the dark, with no light at all – just the light of the moon and the stars.
I’ve seen countless sets of eyes glowing back at me and a bloody pile of entrails with a blood trail leading off into the woods … no – seriously, that was this morning and it somewhat freaked me out, especially with how rowdy the coyotes were this morning …
But it’s not just the visual experiences I enjoy during my early morning runs. I love to hear the owls and the coyotes (when they’re sufficiently far away). I absolutely love the stillness of a fresh snow, in the dark, on a calm morning.
Then there are the smells … this morning it was the scent of a wood burning furnace. I love the smell of burning wood; it brings back memories of camping.
For some reason there are areas that I run through that smell like cucumber. I don’t know why – it’s weird, but it just smells fresh, and not in a Fabreeze kinda way …
The best smell I’ve encountered while running occurred during my first trail run at night. I can tell you exactly where it was, clockwise around the loop at Kellogg Forest, just at what I call the ‘top’ or the ‘back’ part of the loop, where the rows of different conifers are planted, about 300 yards from where I proposed to my wife …
It was dark. I had a headlamp, and had a pretty good idea of where I was in the loop, but as soon as the scent of the conifers punched me straight in the nose, I knew exactly where I was. It was awesome. It instantly reminded me of my canoe trips to Quetico – where we’d drive for a day and get out of the car in the Canadian wilderness to be overwhelmed by the freshness of the trees. I had a big fat grin on my face that morning. To this date, it’s still one of my favorite runs. Oddly, I don’t seem to notice the scent as much during the day – it’s like when the eyes aren’t stimulated, the rest of the senses kick into a higher gear.
Of course there are things that don’t smell so great too – the port o johns, the intersection downtown Kalamazoo that seemingly always smells like sewage, and burning leaves come to mind on the other end of the spectrum. Yeah – I love the smell of burning wood, but I hate the smell of burning leaves …
I get to experience some cool shit as a #darkskyrunner. Unfortunately I just can’t share it with y’all. But try it sometime – go out there in the wee morning hours and see if you like it. I started running then out of necessity with the wife / kids / job, but I now love it. It’s just that my Instagram account isn’t sexy.
What’s the best/worst thing you’ve smelled on a run?
What’s the coolest thing you’ve heard on a run?
Ever tried running in the dark?