Last night was the first evening run for which I wore my reflective running vest (affectionately called the highlighter vest). Gone are my evening runs along Burlington’s bike path, overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. That route will have to be reserved for weekends. Gone are the simplistic evenings that require nothing more than shorts, a top, sneakers, and the Garmin for a run. Instead, I take to the streets of Burlington with my highlighter vest and another layer or two.
Over the past few summer months, I had forgotten how charming fall can be. The city streets bustle with college students back at school and tourists visiting for fall foliage season. The transitional weather means style will do, as long as you’ve brought along a few layers. Church Street remains busy, but not too crowded for a runner trying to squeeze in between the shoppers and restaurant-goers.
And the streets. I had forgotten how much I love running through the neighborhoods. The bike path might be my favorite place to run, but the dense streets always have a story. The sidewalks are less crowded and the setting is quieter. Now is the time to re-learn the hills, the good and troublesome sidewalks. With the evening setting in earlier, all of the houses glow with a warm, cozy aura. (It is also easiest to note which houses needed lighting overhauls. Lighting makes all the difference.)
Running in the dark is when I reacquaint myself with my favorite routes, favorite houses, and the idiosyncrasies of each street. It’s how I get to know and love Burlington so well. The crisp air is always refreshing and takes me back to cross-country memories, which I hold close to my heart.
Fortunately, fall provides a buffer between humid summer running and bitter cold winter running. While it feels like an end, it also feels like another beginning. New projects, new focus, new goals, new adventures. Bring it on, fall. You are the best running season, even when all of my weekday runs are in the dark.
What do you love about fall? Are you a runner?