Running in the early morning hours are my favorite. Those hours between 5 am and 7 am are when I seem to run my best because I feel my best. Running in the dark or semi-dark going to light is also when I run my calmest. Not much in the way of distractions when you can only see to the next street light. It also heightens your awareness of your surroundings—that rustling in the bushes—could that be a cat, raccoon, or even a skunk??; the sound of water running into the sewer before even hearing the sprinklers spilling water into the streets; the rattling of a dog’s collar as it trots along with its walker; the distant sound of the bakery ovens which you don't hear when traffic starts, along with the aroma of fresh baked breads and other pastries. These are just some of the things I enjoy in those pre-dawn runs.
Then there are those shadowy figures that you see approaching, either walking or running, with or without pets. You see them cross the street under the street lights, but they have no faces at that hour. They are part of that anonymous world of the early morning darkness, and I’m surprised at how many of us there usually are.
Today seemed particularly dark. No stars were visible, and even with the moon in its almost full phase, the clouds obliterated any illumination it might have provided. Instead, just a hazy shadow could be seen in the still dark sky. Leaving from my driveway, I could already see someone a block or more away who turned just as I got closer and disappeared before I turned the corner. On I went another few blocks, only again to see someone walking a dog who, once passing under the street light, also disappeared into the night.
But today what I found unusually disturbing was the cyclist in completely dark clothing with no light or reflector that I nearly ran into before I heard the spinning of his gears and couldn’t believe how close a call that was. Its hard to imagine someone not making themselves seen in that kind of dimness. Fortunately I had my blinking light on.
And then a nice surprise. Less than a block later, along came two young boys out for a morning run. Never have I seen them or anyone that age at that time of day. Made me wonder what their goal was and whether they would keep up the early morning runs.
At one point, I thought I heard footsteps behind me, but it was only my own. And all too soon, the run was over and it was time to head off to the corporate world.