Wednesday, June 20, 2012

No Longer a Choice

In the fall, winter and spring - running in the morning before work is a treat. First thing in the morning is my favourite time to run. The world is quiet, the streets have more rabbits on them than people and it's just a really wonderful way to start the day.

In the fall, winter and spring, I only run before work when I'm not feeling overly tired. I already get up three mornings a week at 5:30am to swim so doing it an extra time or two can get to be a little much. But, if I eat well, go to bed at a good time and sleep soundly - my treat is an early morning run.

We have now entered the time of the year when early morning runs are no longer a luxury. They are a necessity.

Southern Ontario summers are hot and humid. Breathing through cotton, sweat running down your legs and dripping off the end of your ponytail humid. At the moment, we are in the middle of an official heat wave and the temperature as I write this is 30 degrees Celsius and it feels like 38. The humidity is 62% making it a very dangerous temperature for running.

Some people love to run in the heat. Some people love to lounge in the sun. Some people wait all year for this kind of temperature. I am NOT one of these people (although I do live with one). I was made for East Coast weather. Irish weather. Cold, foggy, windy, wild, changing weather. So, during the Canadian summer, if I want to run, I run before work.

It doesn't matter if I'm exhausted. It doesn't matter if I was up all night with crazy blood sugars or bad dreams. It doesn't matter if I have 13k to run and need to be out the door by 5am. The only thing that matters is that, no matter how bad I feel at 5:30am, I will feel 100 times worse if I wait until after work to run.

Yesterday morning, I set my alarm for 5:30am. I only had 30 minutes to run so it wasn't too ridiculous of a time to get up. We woke up to a temperature that was already 23 degrees and very humid. On top of that there was a really strong wind that sucked whatever breath you did have left as you tried to breathe through the humidity.

I hit the road before 6 and noticed something different almost immediately.

I was not the only one out there. Not by a long shot. And it wasn't rabbits that were keeping me company.

Humans were everywhere. And they were running.

As I ran through the neighbourhoods I counted twenty runners. All were weaving up and down the streets. North south, east west.

Any aliens passing overhead must have looked down and wondered what everyone was doing. Back and forth, up and down, in a weird and wonderfully arbitrary pattern.

I ran into (well not literally) my friend Barb on the way back. We stopped to chat for a moment, both of us dripping wet and gasping. And grateful that we ran as early as we did.

I was home and on the deck stretching by 6:30am. I was overheated but felt great. Not only great but grateful that I knew enough to get up early.

During the fall, winter and spring - running in the morning is glorious.
During the summer - running in the morning is all about getting'er done.


  1. I hear you about the heat. I moved up my long run by a day since the hot weather you've been having finally reached us today, and there's no way I'm going for a 10-mile run when it's 36C outside. Tonight's after-work bike ride--which I swapped for yesterday's run--is going to be hot, hot, hot!

    Stay cool out there.

  2. Thank you for reminding me of the famous eastern heat wave. I complain a lot about gray, cold, sunless, rainy Vancouver.

    I am now thinking, it is not that bad after all, Je me souviens those heat waves.

    Stay cool! :-)