The Early Morning Run

I am an early morning person. I try to be in bed by 9:30 pm at the latest because my alarm goes off at around 5:07 am. I say "around" because I set my Sleep Cycle app for 5:20 am, but it goes off somewhere between 5:00 am and 5:20 am, most often at 5:07 am. I'm like the kid who takes a while to wake up. I have to lie in bed for at least 20-minutes with my eyes closed before my mind can start to function. Somewhere between 5:20-5:30 am I drag myself out of bed and stumble into the kitchen to make some breakfast, which is either a toasted bagel, oatmeal (pre-made) or a bowl of cereal. Once breakfast is made, I go back to bed and eat my breakfast there (still trying to wake up).

I pull up laptop and do a quick scan of email, the news (to make sure the world didn't end), Facebook/Twitter/Google Reader, etc. Then I check Farmville (guilty pleasure confession) before dragging myself out of bed again to get ready for my workout.

All summer I did my morning runs at the high school track, but now that the mornings are dark I am too lazy. I went 2 whole weeks refusing to accept the darkness and delayed my run until a time that was so ridiculously late, by the time I finished, it was better to just work from home (so bad, I know).

Last week I finally pulled out my headlamp and have been using it every since. I don't know what it is but there's something about running with a headlamp that makes me feel badass - enough to motivate me to get out the door without hesitation. I have actually started to enjoy running when it's dark. With the exception of the possible face-to-face meeting with a raccoon, I'm not scared to run outside on dark mornings. I mean, most bad people aren't up at 6 am anyway. I love that moment in the morning when the daylight breaks and the sun shines on the horizon.

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This is what I've been seeing on my run lately. Makes for a great workout!

But this morning's run was an exception.

Last night it rained and this morning was humid (dislike) and a little misty (like). The ground was wet, but the path I run on is mostly asphalt; i.e., not slippery. I was excited to try a brand new pair of running shoes I had gotten last week.

No less than a quarter mile into my run I made a sharp turn. Everything suddenly went into slow motion. I stepped on a metal slab on the sidewalk and felt my feet slip from under me. I could feel myself falling and thought, "Oh no, not on my hip!" I stuck my arm out to brace my fall and ended up smashing my elbow and hip into the metal slab. My elbow hit one of those handle things that stick out of it.

I lay on the ground for a moment, with the mist falling on me thinking, "Did that really just happen?" My feet were in the street and luckily a car didn't come zooming around the corner. I picked myself up off the ground and thanks to my headlamp; I could see that my elbow was scraped up. For a split second I thought about walking home and calling it a day but I thought to myself, "If I don't do this run, it's going to bother me all day long." I assessed the rest of the body and my legs. They felt okay so I continued on, albeit cautiously.

The workout was a mile warm-up, pick-ups interspersed with recoveries, then a mile cool down. The path is quite windy and some of it is on wooden decks so ran conservatively till I got to the mile long cul-de-sac that is all road. By now the dawn was breaking.

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I was warmed up and feeling pretty good until a dog walker pointed out to me that blood was running down my arm. I thought it was sweat and rain, but when I looked down, sure enough I realized how bloody my arm was; my elbow was quite bruised too.

I finished up the run without incident then came home, cleaned it up and iced it. It hurt so badly. For a while there I was scared that maybe I cracked something. But it got better throughout the day, enough so that I went to lunchtime Yin Yoga class. We did only 4 poses during the hour-long class, and I had to modify 3 of them to compensate for the elbow. Blah.

Despite the klutziness of the morning, it was a good way to start the day. The days that I run in the mornings always seem to be a little bit brighter and go a whole lot smoother!

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