Seems like no matter when I run these days, it is in the dark....today was no exception. I ran when I got home from work and at 5:15-ish it was already dark. Amazing. I even turned the Christmas lights on before I went on my run. The good news is that the weather was great and I got to wear shorts. Yippee. I ran 3 miles in 8:28 pace, which is great for me. Really felt good overall, except for a slight twinge in my lower back at about the 1.5 mile mark...it subsided after about 1/2 a mile. I intentionally went a little faster than normal, to try to get my body used to running at a slightly faster pace. The Jingle Bell run in in 4 days, and it is a four miler. If I could keep this pace up for 4 miles, I would be ecstatic. Lately I've been listening to the Phedippidations podcast during my runs and they are pretty entertaining. The guy records his podcasts during long distance runs, which is pretty amazing. On today's episode (an old one actually, as I'm working my way through the archive) he talked about the mental aspects of running, and I couldn't agree more that there is a lot about running that involves the mind. When my mental state is there, it doesn't even matter how my body feels most of the time. Today my mental was good, as was my breathing and body. Those are the three things I try to pay attention to when running, and when they all three click, then it's a great run.