Hints Of Spring

AJWs TaproomI have always been impacted by the rhythms of the seasons. Be it the crispness of fall, the darkness of winter, or the heat of summer, seasonal changes and the sensory phenomena accompanying those changes have long affected my well-being in general and my running in particular. Spring, most of all, has the most significant impact on me.

As the calendar flips to February and thoughts of pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training flit into my head, the slowly increasing lightness in the sky brings inspiration and hope. First, it’s just one minute or so per day that the sky stays a bit lighter a bit longer but gradually the days get longer and my runs follow suit. Something about emerging from the darkness puts an added spring in my step.

Then, there are the smells. The distinct yet subtle smell of thawing earth underfoot is almost irresistible to me. Each year there seems to be one day that the flip is switched and the spring smells converge. They are at once alluring and familiar and they have the effect of stretching me and pushing me into places, internally and externally, that had been dormant for months.

As the dormant earth gives way to the softening, thawing soil, flowers, grasses, and buds emerge. Beginning slowly but quickly accelerating, these spring plants behave much like a 10k runner hitting his stride on lap eight. In the part of the country where I live, the crocuses and bluebells are particularly inspiring and in places around the world the universality of exploding spring colors alter the landscape and inspire hope both inside and out.

Finally, there is the warmth! The glorious power of the sun sets in and limbers my muscles and loosens my mind. After a winter of clenching tightness, the warming of the sky brings my temperature up. The miles flow by more smoothly, the air becomes a supporter rather than an obstruction, and the gradually heating land seems somehow easier to traverse.

Amidst all that the world throws at us these days, hints of spring provide a respite. A place that cannot help but be optimistic. A place that maintains equilibrium and represents growth. A place that fills my heart and mind with the promise of the future. And, indeed, this spring place, filled with sensory inspiration, is a place where we are simply meant to run.

Bottoms up!

Maine Beer Company LunchAJW’s Beer of the Week

This week’s Beer of the Week comes from the Maine Beer Company in Freeport, Maine. I had been trying to get my hands on a bottle of Lunch IPA for a while and finally, earlier this week, on the same day as the Bell’s Hopslam release, my local watering hole had Lunch on tap. Needless to say, it did not disappoint. A creamy IPA with a nice, flowery finish, Lunch is an excellently balanced IPA in the Heady Topper tradition. Touted by the brewery as an “East Coast take on a West Coast IPA”, it is a great blend of east and west. In fact, it made me think that New England, perhaps, may be perfecting its own IPA variety along the lines of the Lunch.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Is spring hinting in your neck of the woods yet? What signs of spring do you feel, hear, and see?
  • Does your running change with the onset of spring? Do you change your running intentionally or do your body and mind make subconscious changes?
  • If it’s not yet spring where you are, are you looking forward to the change of seasons? Why?