When I started my training journey to the NYC Marathon, I knew that in order to get in the mid-distance runs during the weeks, my morning’s were going to have to be early. Like 5:30 a.m. early.
I know for some people, this isn’t early… but for me? I don’t think I’ve ever regularly gotten up before 6 a.m. on a weekday.
I’m not going to lie: At first, I dreaded these runs.
Waking up was rough, those first few times. I spent the time getting ready cursing myself for having the bright idea to get up and run, the bright idea to even train for a marathon.
For the first mile, I’d cut myself a break. “It’s okay, you can go a little slower… after all, you should be sleeping,” I’d reason with myself.
But slowly, over the past few weeks, I’ve begun to appreciate these early mornings.
It’s a slice of Austin that I only get to appreciate and experience in the morning. Despite being a huge fitness city, there aren’t many runners or cyclists out on the trails before the sun rises. Among those who are out, it seems like most people have the same thought as me — to truly enjoy it for what it’s like instead of adding the electronics and lights to the mix.
Yes, I run along these trails in the dark early morning without a headlamp. There are lights along the way that help me to see what might be in front of my path, like a baby possum or a small family of raccoons.
What I love most about these early morning runs is the true feeling of zen. Something that I think always comes about when we go for our runs, but in this case, there are no distractions. The only focus I have is the next step I’ll be taking… and how that will influence the step after that. And how that will impact the bigger goal: that elusive sub-3:30.
I have a chance to think and analyze all the thoughts running through my head, before the crazy day actually begins and I don’t have a moment for myself. From the Michael Brown shooting to Robin Williams’ death, I finally get a chance to process my thoughts and truly think about my position on these topics… actually fueling some anger, which only means a quickening of the pace, which I’ll never mind.
Perhaps my favorite part of the run… when the sun starts to rise. There is a moment when the sky takes on the subtle colors of a rainbow, for just a few minutes. I think to myself that it would be great to bring a camera, but for what. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it in the same way, a moment that’s between me and nature.
So yes, while the 5:30 a.m. run used to tear at my heart, it is now what soothes my soul week after week.
When’s the earliest that you’ve gotten up to run or exercise?
What do you think about during your workouts? <— I always tend to analyze and think about our finances. Apparently numbers are fun while on the run!?
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