RUR/Team Slug runner Derek Hills doing one of the only things that makes sense in summer distance running. Photo courtesy of Team Slug.
5:30 a.m. departures qualify as late starts by Rise Up Runner standards. At this point in the year, it's already light out and you don't even need a reflective vest or head-lamp. That's when I left my house on Sunday morning, turned up Rails-to-Trails and emerged on Idlewild to meet Dominic at "da corner" of Idlewild and Aurora.
Just over a week removed from the Booty Rumble 50K, I figured to get in about 12 miles and Dominic hopped aboard for 8. We started up Oxford Road a bit before 6:00 a.m. As we passed Cookes Hope and Oaklands, I saw a familiar face and stylin' socks coming towards us, so we switched sides of the road to say good morning to our RUR pal Derek, who I correctly guessed was returning from a 20+ mile run to Oxford. I figured, man, Derek must have gotten up in "the 3's" a time of day/night that Joel reserves for nefarious activities/motivations, such as crack.
Later Sunday, with a little e-mail banter, I was chastising some of our later-sleeping friends and lamenting the heat/humidity, when Derek revealed the true nature of his "morning" ramble:
"Early? Shoot folks, I was out the door at 1:15, headed out to Oxford. Does that rank? Moist, yeah, especially when the rain started falling 6 miles in. Made it out to the strand for a quick dip, took a turn at Almshouse and meandered a ways down Island Creek (I was actually feeling well at the time), then back out to Oxford Road. . .past y'all, and home by 6:30 ish..."
(pause for double-take/dramatic effect)
Uuummm....holy crap. And here I thought Landy and I were kings of the early morning run in these parts with our 3:30 a.m. roll-outs! Though I am not sure I could pull it off, I love it. I dig the whole attitude--get to Oxford, jump in at the Strand; allow the route to take some new twists. A night-time epic adventure on the solo tip. I've read semi-celebrity ultra runner Dean Karnazes write about this same idea as one he calls "Runabout."
Like many of our RUR crew, Derek has young kids, and it's a real motivation to be able to be finished running and have the day with your family. Early mornings are the path to making that happen.
But on the technical side of things, I'm not sure if Derek's run counts as an EARLY run or a LATE run. Sure, he left in the a.m. hours, but did he go to sleep first? :) Or is a 1:15 a.m. run one that you just stay up for and then hit the road. And then, doesn't that make it a late run? I think the qualifier for an early run is that you have to peel yourself out of bed after some attempt at sleep!
Whether early or late, that's a pretty damn impressive accomplishment. Not at all sane, mind you, but impressive. I have three ultra distance races under my belt, but I am far from considering myself an ultra runner. Why? Because I'm not ready for the "1's" yet. I'm not sure what Joel would say about that hour ;)