I got out the door just after 6 a.m. I am usually getting back home from running about this time. As a self-inflicted penance, I started my run at the quicker pace at which I generally finish--once everything is firing, cadence feels great, legs have woken up after the first few miles.
This morning there were only a few miles to begin with (around 5, maybe slightly less...have to measure), so out the door quick. It's still dark at 6 a.m., but other than that similarities end. There are people out. There is traffic, thick for Easton in several spots, and through town, you're better off running on the sidewalk, so as not to end up as a reflective-vest-wearing hood ornament.
Another peculiarity: running up Aurora Street there are lights on in the generally dark Cook and Callahan houses. People aren't supposed to be up during RUR runs!
I cruise by "Da Corner" of Aurora and Idlewild and turn right running by the tennis courts. Still too dark to make out anyone on the track. I should haven been there about an hour and 20 minutes ago, but got home past midnight from the office and to bed at 1 a.m., and only vaguely recall drifting back to sleep after the 4:15 a.m. alarm.
After three weeks of one-run-per week efforts while trying to kick a lingering cold, I told myself this was a three run week. So I stuck with the plan: get up, have coffee, run. Robin is home today with Ava, who cracked a fever at daycare yesterday, so I have some waggle room.
Turning down Washington Street and running by the hospital, traffic is intermittent. Further along, walkers who also wear the dork-badge reflective vests of pre-dawndom. I know it's an off-kilter morning when I run by an open-for-business Coffee East and there are a few customers coming and going. 7-11, generally empty or sporting an errant car has no parking and a delivery truck unloading.
There's a flashing light on the back of a bike ahead of me, on which I am steady closing the gap, with a smooth, even, though be-labored pace. As I turn right on Chapel Road, the target is within 10 yards, though he doesn't make for decent prey as he swerves and teeters back and forth in the bike path.
The sights are similar, albeit a bit more illuminated, but the difference at this point is seasonal, not time of day. The smell of wet leaves on the ground and of fireplaces having burned the evening before. A great smell, marking fall and early winter running.
I pick up the pace a bit more as I turn into our neighborhood, where there is another runner (one who runs 3 miles every single day of the year) up as well as a walker, both of whom I run right up behind as I come even with our yard, cool down, stretch, and go inside for breakfast.
That's life at 6 a.m.--a starting time, which is generally the finish time. A shorter run, where I was hoping to get in a longer jaunt. A missed 5 a.m. meeting time. But I am glad I stuck to the plan: get up, have coffee, run. And now, the rest of the day begins.