Dreams of fall 8/13/12

I will admit that this morning I had a hard time getting out of bed to run when the alarm went off at 5:15 am.  It didn’t seem like it was time for it to be morning yet.  On these mornings I have to get right out of bed and go get my running clothes on.  If I lay in bed for a few minutes I may either change my mind or fall back asleep. 

 Why do I wake up early to run?  There are many reasons.  The first and most important on a day when I’m running longer than 5 miles is simply that I have more time.  Sometimes I’ll squeeze in a 4 or 5 mile run on my lunch break at work, but going 6 or longer and then having to shower and dress and somehow eat a lunch after that is too time crunched.  I could run after work, but I’ve found that often after a long day at work (and my long drive home) I am tired and hungry and just don’t seem to feel as good on a run as I do first thing in the morning. 

 That’s brings me to reason number 1 I like to run in the morning.  I seem to feel the best.  I don’t know why, maybe its because I haven’t eaten or had anything to drink in 8+ hours and my belly feels better running on empty than it does during the day.  Sure, I’ve read all the advice, to wake up 30 minutes before and eat something light before heading out on a run, but honestly, when you’re getting up at 5:15 or earlier, who has time for another 30 minutes?  Since I became pregnant however, I have been eating a handful of teddy grahams.  That seems to settle my queasy stomach enough to run without much trouble. 

 This morning I got in 7 miles.  I felt good through most of it.  I was in the low 60’s, there was a slight breeze and it was dark and damp and the streets were very quiet.  I don’t bring my headphones mainly because I want to be aware of my surroundings when its dark out so I only listen to my thoughts and my feet hitting the pavement rhythmically. 

 Usually on a Monday morning, I would be doing a workout with Tim.  He got up with me and was out doing just that.  There was a part of me that was envious.  Going on “easy” runs day in and day out can be kind of hard for me, but I’m really trying to just enjoy them and take pleasure in the fact that I am able to run. 

 Today’s run was a good run.  I felt pretty good most of the way.  Around mile 4.5 I did start to feel the teddy grahams moving through my stomach and it was slightly uncomfortable, but during marathon training I had encountered much worse and knew that if I just focused on my form and breathing the feeling would eventually pass and sure enough it did.  Just like that my longest run of the week (except for Saturday’s long run) was complete, before the sun even came up on this Monday morning.  That too, is another reason I love to get my runs in early.  Before the day is even beginning, while most people are still sleeping, I’ve already accomplished so much.  It kind of makes going into work on Monday morning not seem as bad.  On Monday mornings whenever we did hard workouts, I went into the office feeling ready to take on the world.  There was nothing they could throw at me that would be as hard as that workout I had just defeated. 

 As the temperatures start to cool off I naturally start thinking about fall and all the things about it that make it my favorite season of all.  I know, there are still a few weeks of what I consider “summer” left and Tim and I will certainly enjoy them as we head off on vacation in St. Ignace in a couple weeks.  But every year around the middle of August we sometimes get our first “taste” of fall and it makes me so happy. 

 My obsession with fall probably goes way back to high school and all the fun things that happened in the fall.  I actually liked going back to school, especially since it meant the start of cross-country season.  The air starts to get a little cooler, you get to wear your new fall clothes, and we would be running through the grass and trails as the leaves began to turn.  There were bonfires and school parades and dances.  My love of the changing season continued through college as we traveled across the country running on different cross-country courses, sometimes following up a Saturday long run with a stop at the cider mill for some cider and doughnuts.  I met my husband in the summer, but some of my favorite memories from when we were dating are from the fall.  I met his whole family for the first time at his brother’s fall wedding.  He and I would cook chili and cornbread together and drink some wine after a long day at work.  We’d heat up squash in the oven and eat it with cottage cheese after a chilly run together.  And we did our first half marathon together that fall in October.  We even had a fall wedding since it seems to be a favorite season for both of us. 

 Now that we’re going to have a baby (not until Spring) I am finding myself even more sentimental than normal in remembering all these great fall memories.  There are so many things I want to do and am looking forward to.  I plan on running the Bridge run in GR in mid September.  It will be much different this year (last year I won it).  I’ll just go my regular jogging pace and try to look around me and enjoy the sights.  Tim and I also plan to travel with my friend Darla and run the Indianapolis half marathon the first week in November.  Ideally, I would like to pace Darla, but I will be 5.5 months pregnant by then and just don’t know how the running will be going.  I’m also looking forward to watching my best friend Val as she coaches her own cross-country teams for the first time. 

 Besides just running stuff, I am also looking forward to all the warm comfort foods of fall.  I love hot cider, but know that I’m not supposed to drink it because its unpasteurized.  So that is something I’ll miss.  I can’t drink the seasonal beers either, oh well.  Tim and I usually go to at least one MSU football game.  And more on the running, its so nice to get up on a Saturday and drive somewhere different and go on a long run, get done and be freezing cold, get a warm drink (used to be a hot coffee, now it will probably be hot cocoa, get home and take a hot shower and go walk around a pumpkin patch and just take in all the wonderful sites and sounds and smells of the season.  Oh fall…hurry up and get here!

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