The tree is decorated, the stockings are hung, the gifts are wrapped, but for many runners, whether they know it or not, today is the most wonderful day of the year.
Today, in the Northern Hemisphere, we celebrate the Winter Solstice, the date on which we experience the least amount of daylight. The days get longer and brighter from here.
The Winter Solstice arrives here in Pennsylvania at 11:48 p.m. so, technically, today and tomorrow will stand as the shortest days of the year. Only 8 hours and 16 minutes of daylight will bathe us today and tomorrow, but on Wednesday we will gain another minute of precious light.
Statistically, January will be our coldest month; while February will be the snowiest. El Nino has spared us frigid weather thus far, but we will not permanently dodge the bullet.
Most of us enjoy training outdoors, and light is our ally. For the past few weeks, darkness has crept in shortly after 4:30 p.m., making it difficult for most folks to complete their training run in the light. Today's solstice brings us a ray of hope, as well as light.
And, isn't that what Christmas spirit, the Holiday season is all about. Whatever our faith, or even if you celebrate Festivus, beginning today, we anticipate renewal, hope, and promise. We will make note of resolutions, and we will hope that, as the calendar ushers in a new year, our lives, and the lives of our loved ones will experience a new light.
The Winter Solstice brings with it a season of cold, nasty conditions that we inevitably brave our way through, thanks to the promise of spring. The season mirrors life itself, with its brutal seasons, and the light at the end of each. It mimics our running life, with periods of darkness imposed by injury or illness, our rehabilitation, and the promise of brighter, spring-like days ahead.
So, on today's winter solstice, kiss goodbye to darkness, and welcome the light. The Holidays are ahead, better days are ahead.
Happy Solstice Day to all.