|Huntington Beach Path|
The funny thing with me and running at night is that as the days get shorter in the Fall, I try to do everything I can to get my runs in during daylight hours. But once the time change hits, I've got little choice but to run in the dark, and I quickly learn to love it.
With a little bit of planning, I can usually find the extra 20 minutes I need to hop into the car and drive back and forth to the beach. Theoretically, you can run 16 miles out and back from one end of Huntington Beach to the other, with all of it on motor vehicle free beach path and most of it well lit. Lately, I've been starting about a mile north of the pier, and then running south to the Newport Beach city line and back for a total of 8 miles.
I really enjoy this run. The crowds are long gone by now so I get lost in a feeling of solitary remoteness, though at any time I can see other runners and their safety lights somewhere up or down the path running with me.
The temperature, especially lately, has been cool. And the wind has been brisk. With the wind on my back, I feel like a running superstar for the first 4 miles only to be humbled by a stiff headwind on the way back. But for what the wind reduces in speed, I gain in mental toughness - two years ago I would have simply not attempted to run 4 miles anywhere, let alone into a stiff wind.
|Huntington Beach Pier|
The pier itself, though not in the middle of my run, still serves as the centerpiece. I've been trying not to look at my Garmin on these night runs, opting instead to just enjoy the dark and my movement. But when I pass under the pier, I know where I am in terms of distance. And that mental reset is still welcome, because in the end, I am a creature of math and measurement.
There are also a few beach-side restaraunts around the pier. As I run by and look at the patrons on the gas-lamp heated patio looking back at me, I think to myself "I am running. They are eating nachos. Nachos sound good, but so does running."
What will happen over the next few months is I will do this run many times. Then the days will get longer, and I'll start to lose the dark. Though this will be a little sad, I'll quickly rediscover the joys of running at sunset, at least for a few months. And the cycle will begin again.