I woke up one day to realize I was a morning person. Maybe it's my recent "find the beauty in everything, just fortunate to be running" attitude that's making me sappy and nostalgic, but I have decided that the morning hours are the best part of the day.
To understand how drastic of a transformation this is, some history is needed. Mom and dad are polar opposites when it comes to day parts. Mom hates the morning like Beaver hated brussel sprouts. 7am is sleeping in for dad. Mom is a night owl. Dad falls asleep in the recliner. For the bulk of my life, I have been mom.
Little kids are supposed to love the morning right? They wake up before the sun and go bounding into their parents room to energetically announce the start of a new day. Not this little kid. I remember being a groggy third grader when Mom woke me up for school, stumbling downstairs to eat my toast, then falling asleep on the couch to Garfield cartoons until the last possible second.
In college, I'd stay up until two or three in the morning, sometimes not even going for a run until midnight or later. In fact, I remember the one time over summer break when I told my dad I would go to the gym with him and meet up with his 5:45am running crew. The only way I could make it happen was to just stay up through the night. One semester, I signed up for a 9am astronomy class. It entailed going into the pitch black SUNY Oswego planetarium, first thing in the morning. Ask me a question about stars.
But, there are two big reasons to run early in Charlotte. One is the heat. Two is because that is when everyone else runs. I started by joining a group that ran on Thursdays from the Dowd YMCA. I could live with once a week. At first, I thought it was crazy. Then, I started to like the feeling of accomplishing something of that magnitude before the work day even started. Over the course of three years here, I have become a morning runner. One day a week became two or three days a week. That became five, six or even seven days a week. I used to be groggy, stiff and slow. Now, my body feels most comfortable logging the miles at 6am. If I try to run in the afternoon, I feel out of whack. I've done runs as early as 4:30am, just so I didn't have to do them at 4:30pm.
Sometimes I say I am going to sleep in, but my internal alarm goes off around six, and there's no going back to sleep. If I don't get out of bed, I feel like my day is wasting away. The mornings are so quiet, peaceful and crisp. Sleeping through it is like skipping the first chapter of a book or the opening scene of a movie. That must be how dad feels.
Running has become my coffee. If I don't start my day with it, the rest of the day is hard to get through. Don't get me wrong. I still need coffee.