At 5:07 AM I told myself that I could drink as much coffee as I wanted if only I would go stand on the sidewalk in my running shoes. Never mind running, I thought, just go stand outside. The lie worked and after much internal grumbling I found myself, incredibly, standing on the sidewalk in my running shoes. Success! The trick, you see, with pre-work running is circumnavigating the part of you that would rather stay in bed. It’s kind of like tricking a small child. You cajole. You bargain. You sweet talk. You say anything to lure yourself outside and down the street.
Once my legs realized they’d been tricked (again!) they figured they might as well cooperate. (Thanks, legs, that was nice!) A small warm-up shuffle turned into a very quick 5 mile run at a 7:50/pace. Not bad for being sleepy! The sun came up over the Portland waterfront. The Made in Oregon sign blinked in the early dawn. Homeless people were friendly and I gave little hand waves and nods to other runners. Of all the things I like about early morning runs I most enjoy feeling like the city is all mine. There’s no traffic except for the garbage trucks. Usually busy businesses lie dormant and even the coffee shop on the corner is just beginning to wake up and ready itself for the morning rush.
During my early morning run, I remembered that it’s not all about the miles and the races. I geek out over statistics. I pour over my running journal. I latch onto new running gear. I get wrapped up in up-coming races and get down on myself for being slow. Sometimes I forget that running is also about the experience. This morning’s run was all about that. It was just a good run to experience. Does that make sense? It wasn’t record-breaking. It wasn’t long. It was simply and deeply satisfying.