Saturday, October 30, 2010


"Trying to sneak a fastball past Hank Aaron is like trying to sneak the sunrise past a rooster.
Joe Adcock

Had to get a World Series quote in there before another baseball season sadly comes to an end. To me, football is just a bridge between baseball seasons. Not the general accepted contention here in the Southeast, but neither is my feeling that the real futbol is the round one the rest of the world calls soccer. Boy, I'll bet I woke up a lot of folks with that one!

For as long as I can remember, I have been a morning runner. Well, let me rephrase that...for as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed morning running much more than any other time of day. When I began running in the late 70's, I worked in a hospital that had showers and so I developed the habit of running at noon. Didn't matter if it was January with the temperature hovering around the freezing mark, March with thunderstorms looming on the horizon, July with it's oppressive Alabama heat, or October with it's chilly fall winds. Noontime would come and out the door I would go. All during this time though, I had always cherished my early morning weekend runs. Now, my current job dictates that my weekday runs must mostly be done before work, which means a 4:40 alarm in order to give me enough time to run, shower, dress, and get to work before my patients show up. It really has come as a blessing because the early morning has a unique aire about it that most other times of day have no opportunity to match. It's a feeling from deep down that each day should start with a run that begins before the day's birth at sunrise and ends around the time the sun begins rising and marks another of the earth's revolution. Now, don't get me wrong - this doesn't mean that I happily spring out of bed like a male Mary Poppins, rarin' to go, but once I'm out there, it's like being surrounded by an old friend. Besides the obvious of no traffic, cooler temperatures, and muffled sounds, I have been blessed with memories that now I know will last a lifetime.

One morning while vacationing in Seattle, I got up before the sun to run along the Puget Sound. When I got to the Sound, I decided to turn right (East). After running a few miles, the sky was beginning to lighten in front of me , so I stopped like Forrest Gump and felt it was time to turn around. When I turned, there in front of me was the most unforgettable, majestic sight - Mt. Ranier (which, even at 60 miles away is a VERY formidable site) was golden with the morning sun rays shining on it's upper half. I had to stop dead in my tracks, because to continue running was to do this view a severe injustice.

Another vacation early morning run had me in Paris, France. One dark, Sunday morning, I ran from my hotel to the Louvre Museum - nobody was in the plaza at the time. It was all mine. I then ran through the Louvre Gardens, still probably much the same that Louis XVI would see had he been a morning runner. From Louis' garden, I headed up the middle of the Champs-Elysees...I mean slap dead middle of the road!! Even Lance Armstrong didn't have it more to himself when he won the Tour de France! This led to the Arc-de-Triumph. As I circumvented the Arc, dawn began to accompany me and I took a spoke off the rotary that sent me on direct line to the Eiffel Tower. Parisians are famously late sleepers, and because of that, I was ALONE at the Tower. It was surreal to be next to (and under) one of the most famous landmarks in the world, and not to have to share it with anyone or anything except the first rays of this glorious Sunday morning. I ran back to the hotel on a path along the Seine River, passing Notre Dame, picturing all the spirits of past starving artists that have tried in vane to capture this same sight I was embracing. When I got back, my wife said "let's go to Mass at Notre Dame" (the Cathedral, not the school). As I sat in the French spoken Mass, I looked at my watch and it was 9 o'clock. I thought about all I had done and seen on this morning - so unbelievable!

I've seen lunar eclipses, blood red moons, full moons so bright you didn't need any other light to see the road or trail , shooting stars, at least 6 of the other planets in our solar system, and of course, the first rays of a giant red, summer sun. I've been the first to run down a forest trail on a morning filled with dew, spiderwebs, and countless noises of critters unseen. I've run with friends and I've run with strangers, but most of the time alone, and each time, sunrise was my constant companion.

When you run is sometimes chosen out of necessity, sometimes out of choice. For me, I'll run whenever I can, but given the choice, let me begin my run during the last gasps of night so that I may greet the sun and a brand new, glorious day.

And so tomorrow morning, our Mercedes trainees will greet the sunrise with a 13 miler for the full marathoners and 6 miles for the half marathoners. I can't seem to get in touch with Valerie at the Trak Shak, so for now, our run from the TS next week is a no go. Stay tuned for further news. Have a Happy Halloween and don't forget...wait...forget to put your front light on so you won't get any little gremlins and you get to keep all the candy. Yeah, good plan. Hey, we're runners. We need the extra calories!! I love rationalization. I'll see you on the roads - AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

lovely piece of writing. inspiring, Al. Thanks.