Tuesday, July 24, 2007

There have been times in my life when I haven't even gone to bed by 4:00 a.m.

My run this morning was forced. Not the steps, but rather the time. Because I insist on starting work early (or at least showing up) I'm not a morning runner on weekdays. I figure I'm up at 5:00 a.m. as it is, getting up earlier just seems a little... wrong.

But today was different. Today is already planned, taken up by incoming flights and driving. By early meetings at work followed by rushing out of the office saying "sorry, I have to go." One look at Tuesday on this week's calendar, and you'd see- there's just no room for running.

So I decided it would have to happen early or not at all. Pre-dawn, or not at all. I got myself to bed at a decent hour (requiring a plan in itself), set the alarm for 3:50 a.m. (I know!) and set out my running clothes. To be honest, I gave myself a 50/50 chance of actually getting out of bed.

Somehow, though, I did it. The alarm went off, and I sat up. Wide awake; the kind of awake you are when you know you could lie back down, but you wouldn't sleep. So I got up. I changed my clothes, glanced at myself in the mirror, grabbed my Garmin and was out the door. I pushed 'Start' at 4:01 a.m. It's a little frightening to even think about that. It feels very unreal, even if there are people that do it every day.

It took me about a mile to settle in, to get over the feeling that someone was going to "get" me. I have a fairly constant, sometimes irrational fear of being gotten. Once that feeling passed, and I realized I was probably able to at least out run (if not pepper spray) anyone else out at 4:00 in the morning, I started to enjoy it.

The air was cool and almost crisp. It was lovely to feel more heat generated by me than by the environment around me, as has been the case with every other run this Summer. It was quiet, so peacefully quiet. The only souls I passed were a cat lying in the middle of the street, basking under the light of the streetlamp, and two paper delivery folks. All three stared at me like I was the crazy one. They're probably right.

I didn't feel crazy, though. I felt great. And as I kept track of the time, I kept telling myself it wasn't "wake up time" yet. It was as if I was running before I was actually up. Ironically, once the clock neared 5:00 and I was near home, I did feel more awake. I watched a few minutes of the news, and then went about the morning as if I hadn't just covered more than five miles.

It feels good to have done more before 5:00 a.m. than many people will do all day. I might just have to get into this pre-dawn thing.

22 comments:

Danielle said...

Ah the pre-dawn or dawn breaking runs...I was so on that last year during the spring marathon training, 2 or 3 days a week I was up and doing it (maybe more often even). This morning that was my plan too, but unfortunately I just wouldn't get out of bed. I woke up early enough, just opted to reset the alarm...sigh...it can be interesting. One thing I did find though is I got tired mid-morning, and sometimes the dark and/or early morning light coming up got me a bit and threw off equilibrium...I'm feeling inspired though. Maybe tomorrow!

Sizzle said...

Ok, see, I was slightly impressed with myself for finally getting up at 6:30 to walk and here you are slamming out 5 miles before 5am.

I am totally impressed. :)

GirlGoyle said...

Ha! I do it every day of the week (get up before 3.50 - not for a run though) and it catches up to you. Feels good when you do it occasionally but when sundown rolls around and you start to feel like you've just traveled 6 time zones...well the novelty is quick to expire. But good for you for beating your 50% odds.

justrun said...

Danielle- Yeah, it takes some motivation, that's for sure.

Sizzle- I think it's a comfort thing. I can't say I'd be comfortable with it every day.

GG- I think it'd be tough if I hadn't gone to bed early. You have to balance that stuff out.

Backofpack said...

I love early morning running. I'm usually up and out the door by 5:30 - even on Pilates mornings. Sleeping till 6:30 on Saturday and Sunday feels like sleeping in.

I know it's not your norm - so double congrats on doing it!

e.b. said...

can i be the first to say you are crazy!!! pretty much the only place i am going at 3:50 is the bathroom.

The Exception said...

It is nice to do something different now and again. I used to love running first thing in the morning (yes, I used to run) and loved feeling completely awake and alive as I started the mental part of my day. There was something about that quiet, body time that I loved.

Now, I don't know that I could get up for anything that early except a flight or a sick kid!

justacoolcat said...

You are insane.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That actually sounds like a lovely time to run. I wonder how late you are going to be up tonight though!

I always find when I have to get up earlier than normal, I keep waking up during the night to check the time - infuriating!

brandy said...

Good for you!! I find doing anything outside (building a campfire, running) really early in the morning is a completely different experience than doing it at any other time of the day. It just feels different. With that said, I join the masses in saying that I impressed with myself if I'm up at 7am. Good for you!

afuntanilla said...

good for you! sounds lovely. did you were any reflective gear? we gotta keep each other safe! :)

sue said...

I'm up about 5 every morning because my pups demand to go outside then (silly things, think the day has started!)... but to run? Oh, I do admire you. Wish I were still fit enough to have those aspirations.

Bre said...

I'm hugely impressed! Here I pat myself on the back for a weeks worth of morning yoga! :)

brookem said...

good for you! there is something so serene about running at a time of day when things just haven't started yet. that being said, i have never done a 4am run! impressive!

i like a night run now and then too. ever tried that, like a real late one?

Dawn said...

I'm deathly afraid of getting gotten! I usually go the dreaded treadmill route at that early hour.

Good for you for being an adventurer.

OC said...

Good for you!!! I'm impressed. My thoughts echoed e.b. with the only place I'm going at 3:50 a.m. is to the bathroom! I've tried the morning runs and they've felt great... for a day or so. I'm definitely more of a night runner (is that a song?)

Sempre Libera said...

Admirable, but also a little nuts. I like my bed just fine at that hour!

appletini said...

WOW! I am sooo impressed! I am having my best dreams, as I cuddle with my honey, at that hour!

I admire that type of discipline :)

craig said...

If I was going to run at 3:50 I'd just have to stay up to get it done. Sometimes the best runs happen when the circumstances don't sound appealing. I admire your commitment

Cravey said...

This is when I started running. Pre-Dawn. A group of us online runner friends used to call each other the "pre-dawn patrol".. I never worried about being gotten though. I worried more about finding roadkill with my running shoes.
blech.

good on ya'.
JC

Nicole said...

Better you than me - I had a harry potter hang over this morning.

adam said...

That penultimate line "It feels good to have done more before 5:00 a.m. than many people will do all day." is a variation on what I tell myself every time I do a morning run. It always seems to make me feel good about the run but I can't say that it convinces me to do more morning runs. 4:00 sounds a bit crazy but the quiet, the cool and the solitude which you mentioned are pretty enticing. Maybe when my leg heals I will try an AM run again. Thanks for reminding me of some great times.