Because I set my own work schedule, I generally choose to start working around mid-morning. This fits in well with my need for a slow and gradual waking up process; running only happens after I've had a bit of breakfast, a cup of tea, and a perusal of The Mail Online. There's nothing like a bit of caffeine and outrage to set me up for the day.
When I'm working in Shetland, though, I'm stuck with traditional 9 to 5 hours and - the horror! - actually have to stay at work the entire time. Sheesh. In the summer, going for a run either before or after work isn't a problem (weather permitting, of course) because it's light all the time. Around the time of the Summer Solstice, it's light until almost midnight. However, it is now winter. There's daylight of sorts between 9am and 4pm but the rest of the time, it's very very dark. And, frequently, very very cold, windy, and rainy as well. Not exactly conducive to going for a run with a spring in my step and a song in my heart but tonight, I didn't even give myself a chance to waver.
I got back to the flat after work, changed immediately into my running clothes (all four layers of them, and a hat and gloves and a buff to keep my neck warm), and headed back out into the freezing night. Except, once I got moving, it wasn't freezing at all. The wind from earlier today had died down and the air was cold and crisp. Once I got away from the main road to my usual route around Clickimin Loch, where there are only intermittent and quite dim lights on the path, I realised that I was enjoying myself. A lot.
I wasn't going very fast but I was running so lightly that I couldn't hear my footsteps. My breathing was slow and relaxed, and my legs were happier than they've been in a while. I felt connected to the night. I wasn't fighting the terrain or the wind or even myself. Everything flowed and everywhere I looked, there were stars stars and more stars. And some horses. It made me smile to see the horses standing in their field, watching the stars too.