Summer is now in full force, which means getting up in the predawn hours, throwing on my running clothes, and heading out before it gets too hot. Some mornings I feel as if I’m more sleepwalking than running.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a morning person. I’ve always enjoyed staying up late, writing or reading in the quiet hours when everyone else is asleep. There’s something very peaceful to me about nighttime.
Mornings are busy. Mornings mean getting ready for work, the monotony of another schedule to follow, another shower, more time spent putting on make up and blow drying my hair. Mornings are noisy, with cars driving too fast down my street and too many voices on the radio.
Mornings are only peaceful when I’m camping, and if I’m quiet and still enough I can see a deer, or elk, or bison, depending on where I am.
This summer, though, I’ve embraced getting up at 4:30 or 5:00am and meeting someone for a run. Part of it is my stubborn commitment to the training plan. Part of it is not wanting to run alone in the evenings. Mostly, I’m enjoying the way an early morning run makes me feel, even in the city.
The mornings can be beautiful at the lake, even if they’re warm and humid. While the rest of the city rushes and swirls around me, I run along the edge of a lake and forget everything but moving.
The Sunday trail runs get me out of bed even earlier. Setting the alarm clock on Saturday night, when I’ve stayed up way too late for tomorrow’s run, I inwardly groan when I set the alarm to go off at 3:50am. No one should ever have to hear an alarm at 3:50am.
But nothing is sweeter than hitting the snooze button at 3:50am either–except maybe hitting it a second time.
Early morning trail runs come with their own set of problems. Snakes, armadillos, spider webs, tripping over roots in the dim light, and fuzzy thinking. My friend Susan and I have yet to make our way from East Dallas to the trails in Grapevine without getting lost. It doesn’t matter who’s driving or who’s navigating. We have no problem getting back home.
I blame it on a lack of sleep.
Some people love getting up early for a run just so they can nap later in the day. I wish I was one of those people. I try and try, but napping is rare for me. If I sleep, I might miss something.
This week is the first time in seven weeks of training where I’ve felt less than enthusiastic about getting up so early. An 18 miler can do that to a person.
Staying up late, not napping, and getting up early = not getting enough sleep. Even on my rest days, when I can sleep late, my internal alarm clock goes off no later than 5:00am. My internal snooze button seems to be broken.
Next week I’ll be in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, camping and then watching my daughter marry the man she met there. Even though it will probably be cool enough to run later in the day, I know I’ll still get up early to run.
And I’ll know I’m not sleepwalking because I could never dream anything as beautiful as those mountains and the cool Wyoming morning air.