This morning I ran. It was 5:00am and about 18 degrees. The sun was not yet up.
On the out run, which is westward, I allowed the cobwebs to clear from my sleepy mind. I adjusted to the breeze which slowly fills my eyes with tears and I found the spot where my breath and my steps synchronize. That is good. Periodically during the run I play with their syncopation.
I stay alert to skunks when it is not yet light. Not infrequently our chance encounters, sometimes too sudden too close, send all my systems into high alert. The adrenaline spike is helpful though the anxiety which tightens my chest is not.
Today I am present on the run out. I notice my right foot touching down with a bit of a scuff; I make some minor adjustments. The tighteness in my left shoulder is noticed, explored and urged to relax. My breathing escalates on the incline and I attend to the transition from exhale to inhale, pushing the fresh air as deep into my lungs as my exertion allows.
I run further than I have before.
As I approach the spot where I make my turnaround, my attention shifts. I begin thinking about my early attempts at running. I clearly recall those first times, when I was only weeks into kicking a 31 year smoking habit and was carrying around 50 extra pounds, give or take.
At that time, when I was ready to shift from walking only to run-walk intervals I used the space between electrical standards as my marker. Begin: run one, walk three. Every step was challenging. Progress: run one, walk one. Every step was a personal victory. Progress: run three, walk one. So today, in memory of those early, incredibly difficult effort, I counted electrical standards on my return run.
My return run is eastward. The best part for me. As I run into the lightening of the eastern horizon, the reds shooting gloriously higher into the sky, the sun rises. Magnificence is a place and I am there. Combined with the slight decline of the last kilometre, the energy of the sun draws me forward. Homeward.
Progress: run one hundred and twelve, walk none.