Magic Hour

Having a day off means I’m less motivated to wake up early to run in the summer. Regardless of the benefit of running early, sometimes before the sun rises, some days my body simply craves sleep. And so I listen. 

But on days that I do awaken to that pre-dawn alarm because I need to run before work or with my training team, I find that even though the temperatures are cooler, the humidity can be brutal in the summer. Something happens in the Virginia air at night to hold on to moisture; it can be so thick, every breath seems to knit a new stitch of a sweater lining your lungs. As if the air were a sponge, so saturated that you could wring out the water. The atmosphere is simply stagnant, and the only appreciable breeze is the one you create yourself.

Pausing for a selfie while running one of my favorite little trails!

Occasionally, like the other morning, I set out for a run in what seems to be the magic hour of summer. Sometime in the mid-morning, like 9:00ish, something happens. As the sun warms the air, it stirs the atmosphere, and winds finally begin to move. With temperatures still not blazing hot, the winds cut the humidity, and the cool and warm air masses start to have a conversation. 

As I seek the shade of the trails on my run, entering the woods seems to drop the temperature by at least 10 degrees. And as the conversation of the parts of the opposing air masses continue, I can feel the dance of the cold and the warm as they embrace each other, my skin being the beneficiary of this performance. It’s actually glorious. 

Despite my lack of discipline in forcing myself to wake up in the pre-dawn hours to complete my training runs, I can find the benefit of allowing a bit more sleep, finding peace in a later morning run before the heat really turns up for the day. 

If you are training for fall races, I hope it’s going well! Seeking the solace and relative cool in the shade of the trails is a great way to find a break from the heat. Happy running, friends!


Have you ever experienced this phenomenon? It’s most noticeable to me when I’m running on trails and in the woods. It’s such an amazing thing to take in!

With Keira D’Amato earlier this year.

I just watched the American women finish the marathon in the World Championships! Goose bumps, for sure. So excited for their 5th, 7th, and 8th place finishes! This includes Richond’s own Keira D’Amato! I had the pleasure of meeting her at our Richmond Road Runners Club banquet in May!

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy. 

Lead artwork for this piece is my own.

Published by annecreates

I am a physical therapist, wife, mom, runner, artist, and vegan. I'm passionate about helping others find wellness, speaking about the human experience, and in fighting for social justice. Assistant Coach for the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team. Current ambassador for: Boco Gear, SaltStick, SPIbelt, Goodr, Noxgear, and Switch4Good.

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