Michael Selman's Column

Michael Selman
Runner's Web
Michael Selman is a corporate trainer and a curriculum developer who lives in Atlanta, GA. When he is not working, he is usually either running, or writing about running. He may be reached at TheRoadsScholar@aol.com. Please feel free to drop him a line, and ask him to add you to his monthly E-mail essay distribution list.

March 28, 2003

"The Dark Side of Daylight Savings Time"

Ah, the essence of spring. Its arms are long-reaching. Even in the northern stretches where the trees are still lifeless and bare, and the air is consumed with chill, the days are getting longer. Soon, most of us will be given an extra hour to do what we most love doing. The hour we lose in the morning as we spring forward, is gained on the other side of the day in added daylight. For many, it translates to more time to run, or to participate in other outdoor activities.

But this does not hold true for every runner. Some of us are slithering creatures of the pre-dawn darkness. The few. The proud. While the rest of the world sleeps, the pre-dawn runner is out there like clockwork, running on traffic free streets, with moonlight, lamplight and nocturnal wildlife for company. The thrill of seeing a deer or fox crossing a metropolitan road is a sight reserved for the pre-dawn runner.

Those of us who run prior to daybreak tend to be able to rationalize just about anything. Most people, I dare say even other runners, may think we are crazy for rising at times when infomercials and test patterns reign supreme. But we have our reasons. If 5 AM brings rain, it is only another element to overcome, and that's really what running is all about. Later in the day, when the clouds dissipate and yield to the sun, I smile in the knowledge that I didn't let the weather stop me this day. On the other hand, when clear mornings give way to stormy afternoons, I get similar satisfaction in knowing that this day, I stayed ahead of the weather. My run is already behind me, and I can reflect on a job well done, while others are pondering the wisdom of dodging lightning bolts.

For the last couple of weeks, the weather has been getting a little milder here in Atlanta. Although it is still tights weather in the early hours of the day, there is, in the air, a slight hint of things to come. Mornings in the 30's give way to afternoons in the 70's. In close parallel, something else has been happening which has taken away some of my darkness. By the end of my run, the first hints of daylight are starting to appear behind the eastern border of the universe. Those who share my feelings feel a shade of sadness upon realizing that our obscurity is becoming a little less protected each passing day by a sun that is rising earlier and earlier. But all is not lost, as on the first Sunday of April, we will be losing this recently gained glimmer of light just as it is starting to remove the shroud of secrecy and the veil of mystery of those known as pre-dawn runners.

There is so much to be gained from running. That's a truism of all runners, regardless of speed, endurance, frequency, or time of day we run. But as with anything that has a bright side, there is also a dark side lurking. On the first Sunday of April, we will again gain our hour of darkness, and our comfort level, as well as our anonymity, will return. While we will lose an hour of sleep, we gain back our hour of darkness where we most enjoy it.

Running once again under a blanket of stars, we are sitting on the dark side of Daylight Savings Time.


Michael Selman lives, runs, and writes in Atlanta, GA. He has been nationally published in both Runner's World and Marathon & Beyond magazines. He would love to keep in touch with other runners, and may be contacted at TheRoadsScholar@aol.com

Last month, I inadvertently posted an incorrect Internet address for those who want to continue receiving my monthly essays. As a result, I think that many people were not able to register and sign up to the new mailing list. Due to my error, I am sending this column manually one more time. This will be the last column you receive unless you join the Yahoo Group "Thoughts of a Roads Scholar."

I am making the change to help facilitate the distribution of the newsletter. The way I do it now, I have to cut and paste hundreds of e-mail addresses to e-mails, send them out, and then modify the list when discontinued e-mail address bounce. It has become a very time consuming process.

The e-mail group allows you the flexibility to join or leave any time you want, and all I have to do is send out one e-mail which will go to everyone who has signed up. In addition, all the essays I send out are archived on the site, so any time you might need a little additional inspiration, you can go right to the site and read any essay you want.

The correct URL is:


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