In the Darkness of the morning
The chiming faint alarm goes off to my right. It’s 3:45am, the first alarm of the morning. I quickly tap snooze and rest my eyes till the next one goes off. 3:50am, the light little bells repeat the same melody as before, this time I get up. Heading carefully through the darkened room, straight to my closet where I have so carefully organized two bins to grab my workout clothes. Flipping the switch on just one closet light. Reaching into the first container I grab two sports bras, one extra to help support my nursing mama self. Then into the second container for a pair of track shorts. Cautiously I had to the sink to brush my teeth, carefully and quietly as I can as not to disturb anyone else still sleeping. By anyone else I mean my husband and or son who may or may not have curled into our bed during the night. Also the dog that will eagerly be waiting for me to take him outside. Finishing up, I turn off the light switch and head back throughout the darkness to the hallway, checking on my sleeping daughter and continue downstairs. Walking directly to our coffee pot, I start her up with a touch of a button. One single cup of Joe to take on the road. Next, I grab my running socks and slip on my sneakers. With coffee cup in hand, I grab my keys and phone as I step out the door.
Driving down the street in my car, a smile comes to my lips. “I made it”, I think to myself, the hard part is over. Now all I have to do is run.
I have friends that I try to meet at least twice a week. I run alone on the other days. I am a part of a very early morning running group. We meet downtown at 4:30am and get anywhere from six to eight miles in all before 6am. Stepping on to the street the smells of downtown hit me. Lingering garbage barrels that have been taken to the road for pick up, bus odors and the occasional scents of stale beer fill the air. The corner in which we meet holds a YMCA and parking garage on the left with an Irish Pub on the right. When everyone has parked and assembled we begin our journey. My running friends are mostly all older than I, by a few years. So I love listening to them talk. They are all so full of knowledge and everyone has such different dynamics and backgrounds.
We travel down the streets with the giant buildings towering all around us. Crossing a few major streets with our unofficial team leader, who so kindly announces when it is safe to cross. He is frequently the only male with us a he never forgets the gestures that only a true gentleman offers. An honorable man who tells stories of his kind hearted wife and his occasional past military days of jumping out of planes and such. We have a marketing business woman, a top banker turned homemaker, a computer tech wizard, a school teacher and we even cross paths with a Federal Judge. After running through the tunnel we arrive to our point of choice in route for the day. Carved out almost in stone our path for the day depends on the day of the week. Staying straight we will continue along the longest non bridge, no interruptions, sidewalk in the country, Bayshore. While veering right will lead us to the winding roads of Davis Island.
Today we proceed straight ahead. Very few runners are out at this hour. Actually very few walkers, cars or people in general are out or even up at this hour. There is a stillness in the air only intermittent light breezes hit our increasingly sweating bodies as we run. Soon we are greeted with a friendly follower. A bird takes into joining us along the white columned wall lining the bay. The bird perches herself at a comfortable distance before flying off further ahead. Each time we get closer she waits, until we hit the point of her comfort and she races ahead yet again. This cycle continues throughout most of our run.
At last we reach our half way point in which we stop for a sip of water. We have to go a smidgen further these days, as our old turning point has become a place of construction for new high end condos. Luckily there is a water fountain just beyond that we can take advantage of before taking our final descent back towards downtown.
The buildings look so far away from here. It’s amazing what just a couple miles can do to the perspective you have. Looking back at the city light up with the sky still colored black a feeling of intimidation comes over me. This city so big and powerful, twinkling high rises and home to so many businesses. Soon the streets will be bustling with workers, business women and men in suits with leather brief cases. Stocks to follow, trials to attend, land to buy and sell, yet in this moment it feels as if this big powerful city is all mine. Drawing closer to the one way streets, the rules don’t apply to us runners, not at least at this hour. Our little running crew has all this glory just to ourselves. This is our city, we run these streets.
Coming in with a little pick up in speed, we soon hit the final stretch to the corner in which we started. Crossing the pedestrian white lined walkway we are finished. Breathing heavily we turn to each other and offer our congratulatory phrases. “Good job everyone, it was beautiful today”. “Yes, thanks guys, till the next time” I say. As I walk back to my in dire need of a car wash SUV. The feeling is incredible, so much work done and so many still haven’t even gotten out of bed. The clock in my car reads 5:55am. I head home to shower and start my day. No matter what happens today, I know I will have this to moment to hold on to, a moment of complication, a feeling of success.