The Morning Run
I wrote this in May 2005 to describe the morning run experience. Request permission to reprint through the contact page.
Today I went for a run at six o’clock in the morning. I never want to get out of bed until I absolutely have to – like I’m going to be late for work if I don’t. But if I manage to convince myself to get up and go for a run, I always marvel at how good it feels and how glad I am that I am doing it. As soon as I stepped out of the house, I began to feel that getting up early was worth the pay back – the pay back of inhaling the fresh morning air, feeling my body pulse generating energy, and witnessing the dusk turn to morning.
I walked down my driveway, and when I reached the street I began to jog east, up the hill. We live on small incline, and the route uphill is generally more desirable, so I head that way habitually. The main reason that I like this route is the lack of activity. Traffic is rare and human contact is minimal. When running, I am a recluse. I enjoy withdrawing inward for my own enjoyment – for its own sake.
I rounded the curve of our street and continued to the end. Then I turned left, still heading uphill. I fell into a steady rhythm and my mind darted from one thought to another. As I realized my thinking was skittish, I made an effort to focus my thoughts more productively. Thursday. Pizza day for the kids. No special errands to do this morning. Classes. I need to print and copy the handout for first period. Group presentations second period. No duty today. I’ll actually be able to use my prep period. We’re going to start reading Romeo and Juliet. No extracurricular after school. Yeah! I still need make calls to some parents. At some point today I need to go to the bank to get the money for the babysitter. Tonight? No plans. Maybe it was going to be an okay day after all. I woke up in a fairly foul mood, but the rhythmed pace of run and the sorting of my thoughts had a lightening effect on my negative feelings.
Every few minutes I check my watch and marvel at the fact that only a few minutes have gone by. As good as it makes me feel, I am torn between loving and hating the run. It makes me feel aware of my flexing muscles, my pulsating blood, and my heightened breathing, but it is hard work. Thinking makes the time go faster. What can I think about next? I make plans. I analyze past events and people. Family. Discipline issues. Personal improvement. Whatever comes to mind.
The first half of the run was moderately uphill all the way. When I reach the turn around, I feel some elation at the fact that I will now be running downhill the rest of the way. It’s all downhill from here.” The run back is always faster with the downhill advantage. There are few thoughts begging attention, and I slip into a relaxed, mellow feeling. I suddenly become aware of a fluttering warmth on my face and notice that the sun has just lifted above the house tops. The sky became lighter, and I was suddenly aware that this was day break. The lightness that seemed to be morning when I began my run was the lightening of dawn. Each flutter of warmth creates a flutter of happiness. Arriving home, I feel optimistic starting my day.