Solstice Run (2017)

Shots in the Dark

December 20, 2017


So, while I’m writing ex post facto, it is actually because of these events (and the anticipatory anxiety leading up them) that I didn’t actually get a chance to write a proper post for December 20 and am going to pre-date this one to land on this day, detailing some events that started late in the evening and proceeded well through the night and into the wee hours of the next morning.

December 20

23:10 Wherein between (a) not quite realizing the net-positive change in time that I’ll gain traveling in the middle of the night as opposed to rush hour and (b) wanting a good parking spot, I leave the warmth of my house much too early and arrive at the Old Timers Cabin parking lot in about 12 minutes, a trip that would in daylight traffic take a solid twenty to twenty-five. I’m wearing my running kit, obviously.

23:40 Due the cold and the fact I’m wearing light running gear in sub-zero temperatures, I decide that standing beside Leon’s at-capacity two-seater truck for much longer is going to make me hypothermic, so I retreat to my own vehicle and its residual warmth to await the start.

23:52 I get bored sitting in my rapidly-cooling truck alone and decide that the hundred-and-fifty-so other runners, some adorned in holiday costumes and literal decorations, will probably provide enough group warmth to get me through the pre-run wait.

23:59 Announcements flutter through the midnight air, a verbal course map and some warnings about the ice on the route struggle to be heard above the din. We’re anxious and jumping up and down to keep warm.

December 21

00:03 We start running. Two hundred midnight loons start the long trudge up the ice-covered Scona hill walking path, headlamp beams bobbing in the frosty air. I’d describe more, but a run is a run, no matter when or where or how you do it. The details fog with the blur of that gentle accent to optimal performance state.

00:08 My body reminds me why I don’t run distance in the middle of the night and that it would rather be at home in bed.

00:18 In stark contrast to the rational inclinations of my daytime mind, I celebrate the darkest night of the year and the winter solstice by drinking a shot of something warm and tingly and spiced from a glass attached to a cross country ski with three other sweaty men in the dimly lit shadows of some trees (where for legal reasons I’m convinced was private property.)

00:19 We reach the turn-around point. The last time I was at roughly this point of the earth I was running the opposite direction on Canada Day and staring down the last 5 klicks of a very different sort of run.

00:41 After tackling the obstacle of running while descending an extremely icy hill in the dark after midnight (I think that was a rule in a horror movie of some kind) we stop our watches and tackle the obstacle of walking while descending an extremely icy hill in the dark after midnight towards the inviting glow of a bonfire and festive treats.

00:48 Much photos are taken, but not by me because my phone only has 18% battery left and the lens fogged up.

01:10 Still shivering, having waited a fair length of time and cold-shocked that single (hour old) ounce of alcohol from my system, and now with the heat full-up and heated seats cranked to max, I pull out of the Old Timers Cabin parking lot and start the drive towards home.