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Don’t let the sun go down on me

Dear Sun,

I noticed you haven’t been hanging around as much as you used to. Back in June you’d be shining bright until after 9:00pm, but now you’re taking off before it’s even 8:00. What gives? I’ve heard rumors you’ve been spending more time with Australia, but I don’t want to believe that. I know what you’ll say, “It’s not you, it’s the tilt of the earth!” But I don’t want to hear your excuses. Stop distancing yourself. Come back to me!

Yours truly,

PastaQueen

I miss the sun. It’s getting harder and harder to fit in my walk at the end of the day. I didn’t realize how much earlier sunset had gotten until I was in the last quarter of my walk two days ago and thought to myself, “Hey, it’s getting kind of dark.” Then looking around I thought, “Hmmm, there aren’t that many people left on the trail.” While it was nice that my chances of being run over by a biker were reduced, it also left a significant lack of witnesses if anyone decided to up this summer’s crime rate.

I haven’t heard of anyone being assaulted on the trail, but I don’t want to be the one to break that trend either. When my younger brother joined a football camp in middle school my mother specifically asked if anyone had ever been hurt during training and they were happy to say “No, of course not!” Which is why it thus became predestined that while my brother was doing backwards running he would slip, breaking not only his arm but their injury-free record.

Ironically, I had just talked to my brother that weekend and told him that I would never be stupid enough to get stuck on the trail after dark. No, not me! Of course not. So, even though I had intended to give my knees a break and walk the entire path, I decided to jog the last half mile. Nothing like the fear of being raped or murdered to make you push your exercise routine further. Perhaps next time someone can let some lions loose from the zoo and make me outrun them. Fear, it really gets your heart rate up.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to do about my walks yet. In a month or two it’ll probably get cold enough that I’ll be sticking to the treadmill anyway. Until then I could start getting to work earlier so I don’t have to immediately jet out the door when I get home to beat the sunset. Or I can start getting up with the sunrise and walk before work. However, getting up early on purpose is anathema to me, so neither of these options sound that appealing. But I do prefer walking outdoors to walking on a machine in a room, so maybe I’ll have to make some sacrifices, and not of the goat on an altar variety.

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14 Comments

kalmia • September 14, 2006 at 12:12 pm

You’ve probably already thought about this option but how about a little of each? Is there anywhere around your work you could walk during your lunch break? (Assuming you take one, of course.) How about a quick 20-minute walk midday Monday to Friday, followed by treadmill in the evening? That would get you outside a little bit at least. Weekends you could still do your jogging trail.

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Hilly • September 14, 2006 at 1:43 pm

Please, take ours. It’s funny how those of us that live in perpetual sunlight really want some cloudy days and darkness to fall a bit earlier.

I actually only walk when it is dark, but then again I live in Pleasatville so I am lucky that way.

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Laura • September 14, 2006 at 1:43 pm

What about a walking buddy? Might make it less scary to be walking at night. Is there anyone in your complex that you could walk with? If you belong to a gym or the Y, they sometimes have walking tracks. Or maybe there’s a local school track where people might be? Or–gasp–a mall you could walk around?

One good thing about exercising in the morning is that it seriously will give you more energy during the day, even if you’re a confirmed night person–it’s just hard to maintain. Maybe you could walk in the mornings when the days are shorter and switch back to evenings next spring.

This may give you more motivation to become a better runner, too–takes less time!

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PastaQueen • September 14, 2006 at 3:15 pm

kalmia – Hmmm, the lunch walk might work. There is a canal walk not too far from my office, though by the time I walk there I might have to turn around.

Laura – The trail is only open from dawn to dusk, so even if I wasn’t worried about my safety it’s against the rules to be on it at night. I always assumed running in the morning would make me feel tired for the rest of the day, but if you say it gives you more energy maybe I’ll have to try it at least once.

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YP • September 14, 2006 at 3:49 pm

I know how you feel, I’ve been running at 6am for months, and now it’s dark when my alarm goes off. It makes it so much harder to get out of bed, and I feel a lot less comfortable out there on my own. And I can’t even switch to running after work either, because it’s getting dark then too. Gah.

I’ve already stopped listening to music as I run, just so I’m a bit more aware of what’s around me, and I think my next purchase will be a fluorescent vest, but it’s still not as nice as it was in daylight (even if I do get the bonus of a spectacular sunrise every now and then)

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Mymsie • September 14, 2006 at 4:06 pm

It’s always so much harder for me to get it in gear in the winter but the ‘walking with a buddy’ idea is good. Or you could drag along an inflatable man to trick people into thinking you’re not alone. That would fool any naughty criminals. ;)

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Amy • September 14, 2006 at 5:09 pm

Something you may want to consider is a self-defense course and possibly carrying a small can of pepper spray (they make them so they can fit on your keychain). You probably shouldn’t habitually walk alone on a near deserted trail at dusk, but self-defense is something that’s not just applicable to that, but at any time you get caught out in an unfamiliar place or empty place at night.

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crankybee • September 14, 2006 at 5:17 pm

I’m here to confirm that Australia’s love affair with the sun is true – he’s back, and we are so greatful that we’re asking no questions as to his previous whereabouts. This morning I got the bus and looking at the sun thought ‘crap I must be late – has to be 10am’ – AND IT WAS ONLY 8.50am! WOO HOO! You can have him back next year…tee hee! crankybee

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vimilla • September 14, 2006 at 6:52 pm

And PQ… don’t forget! We’ve got daylight savings time ending in a week or two. I believe we will be getting the hour back that was stolen from us earlier this spring. It’s gonna take us Hoosiers a few years to get use to DST.

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caroline • September 14, 2006 at 7:56 pm

Safety should always come first. Dang it. I dread the time change and not being able to walk my self or my pup in the afternoon. I recently purchased a small can of mace that slips over my palm and knuckles that is not at all uncomfortable to walk with. $12.99 at a local sporting goods store. Love your site!!!! You’re so inspiring and I look forward to your posts. You’re my hero. And I really mean it.

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Heather • September 14, 2006 at 8:30 pm

:( I hate winter. With a passion. And I hear some places have it worse than Georgia does… never, ever leaving the south.

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Katrina • September 14, 2006 at 11:02 pm

I miss it too.

Be careful!

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crumpet • September 15, 2006 at 9:21 am

I lived in boston for many years, and during one grim point I lived 50 miles away, meaning I got up in the dark, rode a train, arrived at work and then reversed the process – in the dark.

So – I would walk along the Charles. It was winter, it was FREEZING, and I felt so much better for being out in the sunshine. Sometimes it felt that like forty-five minutes of walking was all that was keeping me going….

Also, I became hardy and tough. Which is all gone now that I live n DC and my blood is totally thin now. I shiver at 70 degrees!

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Marla • September 15, 2006 at 2:34 pm

I’m voting for the lunchtime walk – that would also make work stress more tolerable. Hopefully you can actually EAT your lunch before or after…

I HATE IT when it gets dark. Hateithateithateithateit!!!! I don’t care about the morning, because it’s gonna be dark anyway unless you get up at 4:30 or whatnot, but I hate coming home in the dark and then it’s only 5:00 p.m. I can’t accomplish anything once it’s dark; I have to put my jammies on when the sun goes down.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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