I've recently come to the realization that I love my pre-dawn long runs. There's something about being pretty much the only one out on the road between the hours of say 4am and 7am on a Sunday morning. I know it drives my wife absolutely crazy (she worries about my safety), but I actually feel safer running on the roads when I only see a grand total of four cars pass me in either direction (besides, I'm lit-up like a Christmas tree, literally). It's completely peaceful and uplifting to be alone with my thoughts where the sound of my feet plodding along is the only thing keeping me company. I do some of my best thinking (and dreaming) during these early morning runs. So long as I'm not pre-occupied with thoughts of fingers numbing and other appendages becoming frost-bitten or falling-off, and my water bottles freezing solid I'm good.
When I'm running (especially on these runs) I feel graceful, even though I'm a huge klutz. I picture myself as Josh Cox on a 30 mile tempo run, even though I'm more like John Bingham waddling on. I feel weightless and hear my feet gliding along the ground like a gazelle, even though I know I'm lumbering along like a Clydesdale. It's in these rare moments that I am something greater than myself, and I'm running for a higher purpose. I feel connected to God and nature while understanding my place in this life. I imagine myself changing the World through my running (or just one life). In these very instances, everything is "right" in my world and I'm connected with the infinite power of running as transformative action. I see myself living forever and doing great things. I realize that I have aspirations higher than the work-a-day grind. I'm running with a mission. Even if that mission is only to try to erase the damage that I've done to my body and soul with too many years of indulgence in food, alcohol and drugs.
When I'm wrapped-up in my running mind I realize how much I love my wife for all that she does and all that she puts-up with. After all, a wise man once said that "love is finding that one person you can annoy for the rest of your life!" And I'm absolutely sure I've found that person in Lex. I realize how lucky I am to have such a bright, creative and beautiful daughter. I thank the Lord that she is healthy and I often find myself praying that she stays that way. I imagine what her life is going to bring and how I can be a better parent, and foster her growth, independence and imagination to ensure that all of her dreams come true. I think of all of the World's problems and come-up with simple solutions for them like "Wow! Why hasn't anyone else thought of that?" I'm a genius when I run! I visualize my future and all of the things I would like to do to make everyone's lives better and more meaningful. But mostly, I think about my life's more mundane problems, like what to do with our house (we're remodeling), how we're going to manage daily life when the new baby arrives, how to pay the bills this month, or my "to do" list for the week ahead.
I am really not a runner, but running is good for me mentally, emotionally, spiritually AND physically.