Despite the fact that the windows were open and a cool breeze rustled through, it was a restless sleep. I tossed and turned. And then found myself wide awake and sighing heavily at 4am. Normally, I knew I could easily have another 2 hours of rest. But not this morning. Somehow, I managed to doze off again.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP
My alarm. 4:50 am.
I rolled out of bed. Fumbled for my glasses and then shuffled to the bathroom. Leaving the bathroom light on, I put in my contacts, brushed my hair into a ponytail and then snatched the pile of clothes at my bedside. Black pants. Sport bra. Socks. Stopwatch.
Still yawning and stretching, I quietly peeked into the boyz' rooms before gently shutting their doors. I made my way downstairs, carrying my sneakers. 4:56 am.
I turned on the kitchen light and waited a second for my eyes to adjust to the brightness. I unlocked the back door, turned on the garage light and hit the button to open the garage door.
Her van was already out there.
Turning back into the house, I quickly put on my sneakers.
The back door opened and my friend Kristy popped in. Usually it's me who is raring to go (because she's usually late), but this morning, it was the opposite. She showed up early, and I was the one moaning and groaning while she giddily chatted.
We stepped outside into the PITCH DARK.
The stars were still shining brightly in the clear black sky. It could have been midnight. It could have been 2 in the morning.
I felt like I had a black cloud over my head. All I really wanted to do was to throw off my sneakers and curl up in the fetal position and GO BACK TO SLEEP.
I adjusted the reflector belt around my waist (safety first!) and we started out.
The temperature was a cool 58 degrees. Perfect running weather.
We contemplated just staying within my neighborhood because it was sososo dark out, but then decided to do our normal route, which takes us along a quiet country road as far out as we want to go, and then we turn around and head back.
I felt my mood lifting with each step. My head clearing. My pace steadying. Automatic.
My friends and I joke that it's not just running, that it's also therapy. The back-and-forth, give-and-take of conversation. The friendship. The knowledge that we are there for each other. Encouraging each other. Pushing each other. Not just with running, but in our daily lives as well.
We turned the corner in my neighborhood. The final stretch.
Both of us increased our pace. Kicked it up a notch. And raced to the finish. Together.
Black cloud? What black cloud?
This is why I run.
"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." --John Bingham