Daybreak

I sneak out in the dark this morning.  It is not pitch-black dark, but at 5:55 a.m., the sun is still thinking about coming up.  The streets are quiet.   The air hangs groggy and damp, thick with salt.  Streetlights hum their florescent tune, audible even through my ear buds.   I have forgotten how much I love the early morning.  Everything is mine— the sky, the road, the pace I set.

Legs and lungs cooperate with each other so well that I barely know I am running today.  I meet my friend Michelle coming up South Street.   She is a consistently early runner.  I have not seen her since before Christmas, and we stop short and hug each other.  We catch up as best we can for a couple of minutes and continue on our separate ways; she is already headed home but I am barely a third through and cannot wait to return to my run.  I am fast this morning.  I am way ahead of the music, by almost half a song as I turn at the fork toward the beach.  Light begins to glow in the sky; a thousand seabirds float in the gentle tide along the beach road. The sky is pink and orange and rose and gold at the horizon, the rich midnight blue cover hovers and fades.  The sun peeks up as I leap over puddles and ice on Eden Road.  I look out to the Twin Lights to see their long, lean, stone bodies glow in the new morning light.  It is too early for my little owl today.  His hollow sits empty.  I imagine the tree waiting for his warm little body to nestle into its cool shadow place.

I check the time and choose the longer loop of Marmion Way to run home.  At the turn by Straitsmouth Cove, I see another runner out with her dog.  As I begin to close the gap between us, I see it is a woman with whom I used to cross paths last summer.  She is younger than I.  In her dark blue sweatpants, she is  slight, fast, fair-haired.  Last summer,  I had watched her run and wished I had her speed.  This morning she is moving right along;  I find that today I am continuing to close the gap.   On the steep hill approaching Old Garden Road, I gain even more.  We both make the turn.  I wonder if I should announce myself, what the right etiquette might be, but forget because I am caught in the crazed actions of her dog.  He is running intervals.  He stops and sniffs for a moment, then darts ahead.  She isn’t watching him, and I can sense her assumption that he will continue to follow her at his own pace.  She carries an extension leash in on hand, perhaps to rein him in on the busier streets.  He sidetracks to the beach, sprints ahead to pass his owner, then stops at the side of the road to sniff again.  I am close enough to know I will pass her.  I’m about to call out a warning when the woman turns.   She gasps when she sees me.

I apologize for startling her, but she just grins at me.  I pass her, and her dog catches up with me.  I can hear her calling him back from me as I attack the last hill.   I give it all I have in me.  I stop at the stop sign at the top, panting and smiling to myself.  I look at my Nike + and see that I have finished my run in 48 minutes.  6 miles.   I practically skip to my front door.   I am floating with pleasure.  It is a rich, enviable pleasure— of the early morning, the sunrise, the solid pace and speed of today’s run.

This run inspired me with another fitness rule to share.  Find your time. For me, that means exercising in the morning.  It may not always be as early as today, but I have my best energy and motivation right when I wake up.  I like to drink my coffee, do what I have to do for my family, and then move my body.  Exercising at the same time every day lends itself more to habit.  If you are not a morning person, listen to your body and find the time that works best for you.  Maybe it’s during a lunch break and you like to hit the gym or go for a walk after you eat.    Maybe it’s after work, before dinner.  Perhaps a long walk after dinner is what your body likes. How about eating a light supper and doing core and yoga training half an hour later?   Your body likes to move.   So listen to it.  Find your time.

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One Comment on “Daybreak”

  1. Craig Says:

    I love your description of the early morning time and how it differs from your usual running time. Thanks for the new fitness rule.


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