The alarm clock goes off... it's early... the sun has yet to make an appearance. You lay there in bed feeling the warmth of the blankets... the warmth from your sleeping husband. You don't want to move, and yet, you realize that the miles you need to put down won't run themselves. Reluctantly, you drag yourself out of bed. You stretch, head to the kitchen to make yourself some food- knowing that you must eat in order to be able to run the long distance that you have to do.
You eat in silence. No one else in the house is near waking up. Even the dog is out cold. And speaking of cold, you can feel the chill in the air... the lonely chill of fall is in the air.
You get dressed to run... not yet sure if you are excited about the exertion you are about to put forth. The warmth of your bed is still familiar against your skin and you long to crawl back into bed.
As you make your way outside, the silence from the neighborhood reminds you, once again, that you are alone on this chilly morning. You push off on the run, slowly at first because your muscles, like the dense fog in the air, are cold. No music to start... you know that since you are alone, your hearing must be keen to be sure that you really ARE alone.
One mile. Then five. Then twelve. You begin to see other runners on the trail... and though you wave at each other, you are aware that this journey is yours alone. You push harder... alone with your thoughts and alone with your heart. You allow yourself to explore those places inside of you that you keep so tightly bottled up when you're in the company of others. Twelve miles become eighteen and the sights on the trail give way to the familiarity of your neighborhood... your run coming to an end.
Twenty miles. Three and a half hours of solitude. It's lonely being a distance runner, even if you know there are thousands of other runners doing exactly what you're doing each and every day. And yet, you feel alive. Refreshed. Your mental cache is cleared and your heart is at peace. Life is good and you know you are lucky to be able to share that time with no one.