Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reinventing myself as a morning runner

One day last week, I thought to myself, "Think I'll run tomorrow morning." So I put myself to bed soon after 10, rolled out of bed early, and stumbled out the door into the predawn darkness. I love the idea of running before work, but rarely do it because I'm such a weenie about getting up early. I'm also a little leery of running around alone in the dark along deserted streets. It's nice not to have to dodge cars, but those same cars help keep me safe: countless witnesses to anything that might happen.

When I run in the morning, I opt either for the treadmill (gag) or to run loops of a two-mile route around my neighborhood. My road is lined with apartment communities, which means plenty of 24-hour lighting and few isolated spots, so I generally feel safe to run there even though it does get a little monotonous. I decided on an outdoor run, despite 12-degree temps and some sidewalks still covered with snow/ice. It was clear and I could see the stars and I just couldn't go inside. So I put on a bunch of layers and headed out to trundle through the snow. And it was a great run. I went for just under an hour, and was able to watch the stars and just the slightest crescent of the moon fade gradually as the first hints of light appeared in the east. And then of course there's the great feeling of actually being awake and alert in the morning while doing such essential tasks as choosing that day's outfit and, um, driving to work. And the feeling that I've accomplished something already as I start work for the day. And the fact that I can come home and have an entire free evening to spend relaxing (a rare commodity).

It was so nice that I vowed to myself to make it a true habit. That was Wednesday. It is now Wednesday again and I have gotten up early every day since then (except for Sunday) to run or at least do something. I'm starting to introduce more doubles into my training, and of course I still have group run twice a week in the evening, so evening running is not going anywhere. But still, it makes it seem like I have so much more time than usual--we even finally cleaned our apartment! And this with mileage ramping up, a time when I usually feel completely scrapped for time.

This morning I even ran with fellow runner and INRunCo group member Rachel, who lives nearby, so we were able to range out quite a bit further. One week does not a habit make, but it's a start. Hope to stick with it!
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