My students have been learning how to write “small moments” – taking an ordinary event in your day and making it interesting by zooming in on the small details. After sharing with them that I might choose to write about a morning run, I had to go ahead and give it a shot. Here are the results:
My alarm goes off at the ungodly hour of 4:15 am. I should be used to this by now, but it’s always a brutal reality check. I stumble down the hall to the bathroom, brush my teeth, put in my contacts, and don my running clothes. A headlamp and a reflective vest round out my outfit. I tiptoe downstairs, take a few sips of water, slip on my running shoes, and step out the front door.
The air is warm and humid, much more reminiscent of summer than the October morning that it actually is. I wait for my GPS watch to register, watching the clouds drift across the partial moon. Two cars pass on the main road ahead, and I’m surprised that anyone else is up at this ridiculous hour.
My watch beeps to signal it’s ready, and I head off down the street in a relaxed walk. At the corner, I turn downhill and break into an easy pace. I steal quietly through the early morning, the crunching leaves under my feet the only signal that I am there. As I pass the nearby cemetery that I love to run through, I register how eerie it feels in the dark. I temporarily silence my iPod, enjoying the quiet around me.
I turn onto another road and make my way toward the steep hill that is my goal. I’m always nervous sitting at the stoplight at the top of it, which means that it should be perfect for the hill repeats I have planned for this morning. I reach the bottom of the hill, click my iPod back on to an upbeat tune, and start chugging my way up, focusing on quick footfalls and strong arms. At the top, I turn and walk back down, breaking into a gentle jog at the halfway point. I head back up the hill four more times, focusing on maintaining a strong pace each time. After the fifth and final trip I turn around and head back for home.
I take a shorter route this time, noticing that more cars have started the early morning commute. I arrive back at my front step in no time at all. Four miles, not a bad start to the day. The humid air and the hard effort have left me surprisingly sweaty. I open my front door, greet the wagging white fluffball before me, and return to the world of responsibility.