Friday, March 9, 2012

Springing forward

Sunday marks the beginning of daylight saving time – that dreaded weekend of the lost hour of sleep.  For me, I dread less the reduction in shut-eye and more the extension of mornings running in the dark.  It is particularly difficult to get motivated out of the door when I come down every morning to variations of the above picture—the dogs not just sleeping, but involuntarily sinking into the sofa cushions with what must be pure exhaustion from the previous day of two consecutive 8-hour naps.  They lead a tough life.

In many ways though I love my dark morning runs.  Recently, I’ve witnessed the incredible full moon surrounded by at least 3 planets (Venus, Jupiter and Mars), which in the early morning is slowly descending below the horizon creating that larger-than-life glowing orb in the sky.  I listen out for the first bird song, usually making its appearance a good 15 minutes before the others catch up.  I sometimes wonder what motivates that first bird—maybe a hungry belly; maybe anticipating its babies’ early cries; maybe just an early riser like me.  Regardless of the reason (probably none of the above), I always silently thank it for entertaining me as the black sky turns to navy blue and the nocturnal deer finish their houseplant supper and make their way home for the night.

The darkness allows me to feel peacefully alone.  I pass several groups of people during my runs, all comfortably familiar but completely anonymous.  In the black morning, I know them only by silhouette and similar schedules—we are all morning exerciser creatures of habit but could never pick each other out in a crowd.  This dark, early time is our gift to our bodies and minds.  We all know the silent code to say “good morning!” and move on.

At the end of this month I run the first race of the season and soon after that begins the spring/summer running months (sun, heat, Gatorade), which I love for different reasons.  But until then, you can find me wearing my reflective vest and various running clothes as erratic as March’s weather patterns and enjoying these last mornings of incognito exercise.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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