Run the Day Before the Day Runs You

It’s zero dark thirty when my alarm goes off. I quickly tap my phone’s screen to shut off the alarm and swing my feet over the side of the bed. I reach my hands over my head and stretch out the sleepiness. There’s no hesitation or thoughts of crawling back under the covers. It’s my time. It’s time to run.

I quietly tip toe downstairs, avoiding the steps that creak so as not to wake anyone else. All of my running gear is waiting for me in the bathroom. I quickly dress and begin my dynamic warm up. I laugh silently to myself – I’m doing a dynamic warm up in the bathroom. Since becoming a mother, I seem to do a lot of things in the bathroom I never would have thought to do before!

Once I’m warmed up, it’s go time.

It’s still dark but not pitch black. The sky is clear. I know it’s the perfect morning for a beautiful run-rise. I know the exact route to take.

The first mile, my legs feel like bricks. With every step, it feels like my brain is bouncing around in my skull. Even after all these years, I still need to remind myself – never trust the first (or sometimes three) mile of a run.

At mile two, things perk up. I see two women running. We smile and do the courteous runner wave/good morning thing as we pass in opposite directions. The gleeful twitter of birds is all around me. The smell of spring – aka dirt/mud – is heavy in the air. The sky is beginning to glow up ahead.

Angela_Sunrise_Hawaii

Angela catches the sunrise over the water on a morning run in Hawaii

My legs feel a little lighter. My feet pick up the pace. My mindset shifts to “It’s all good” mode. I feel good. Actually, I feel really good.

At mile three, I attack a hill knowing what is on the other side. A sweet downhill AND the sunrise money shot I’d been hoping for. As I crest the hill, I’m greeted with the warmth of the rising sun on my face and all of its wonderful glory. I take a deep breath and let it all out in a sigh.

Angela_Sunrise_Gate

This is one of the many, many reasons why I run.

To some it may seem completely ridiculous to wake up at such an early time just to catch a glimpse of the sun coming up.  At one point in my life, I’m sure I had those exact same thoughts. Maybe it’s my older (wiser) age that I’ve come to appreciate the small things in life. Maybe because I’m a mother now and know my ME time is precious and sacred. Maybe it’s because I realize that seeing the dawning of a new day with my own two eyes really is a gift. Maybe it’s because I’m doing something that I love so much that makes me feel strong, healthy and alive.

Angela_Sunrise_Track

As I loop back to my house, the sun is now at my back. I envision that I have a rope tied around my waist and I’m pulling the sun higher and higher into the sky. How’s that for resistance training?

I come around the last corner before my house and pick up the pace for a fast finish. The sun is now peeking over the tree tops. Mile 6 beeps on my watch, and I slow to a walk.  I feel strong, euphoric, accomplished and ready to run the rest of the day.

Angela Bekkala

Angela is an ACSM Clinical Exercise Physiologist and RRCA Running Coach who has a passion for running, yoga and healthy living. She shares her love of being active, eating well and enjoying life to the fullest on her blog, Happy Fit Mama. Angela lives on the Seacoast of New Hampshire with her husband, boy/girl twins and Chocolate Lab.