At 5:45 this morning, it was still dark out. I finished lacing up my shoes, turned on my iPod, and leashed up Beckett for our morning run.
I used to really enjoy running before work. Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays, Beckett and I would get up and head out for 3-5 miles and be back in time for me to shower, get dressed, and still be only my typical 10 minutes late to work. As long as I could drag myself out of bed, it was a great way to start the day.
But then I broke my finger, tripping in the pre-dawn darkness. And then I got pregnant and wasn't running anymore. And then I had Eleanor and REALLY wasn't running anymore. Or walking the dog, or sleeping regular, or anything else that defines the parameters of a normal, balanced life.
Slowly over the past year, I've been reclaiming some normal activities. Sleep came first, because our wonderful daughter is a great sleeper. Then occasionally walking the dog, working part-time, and even the rare occasion of hanging out with friends or going on a date with Keith. Finally, in the past few weeks, I've been making much more of an effort to run regularly.
To be honest, it hasn't been working that well. My long runs on the weekend get bumped because of going out of town, camping, etc. And it's still hard to fit in the weekday runs, even being home all day on Wednesdays and Fridays. The problem, I've decided this week, is that Eleanor is still too young to really enjoy the running stroller. When she's awake, she wants to be on the move. She doesn't want to be kicked back, taking in the scenery. And I can only take her when she's very awake, otherwise she'll fall asleep for 15 minutes during the run and then refuse to take her nap at home, which should actually be 1-2 hours. Not good.
I decided this last Friday when, for the 3rd time in a row, she got fussy after 20 minutes in the running stroller. The other two times I managed to placate her enough to make it to the end of the run. But trying to sing "Short Skirt / Long Jacket" while powering up a hill is not my idea of a good time. On Friday, I just gave up and headed for home, very frustrated.
So, although I've been avoiding it for some time, I've finally come to the conclusion that, if I want to be certain of my weekday runs, I'll have to do them in the morning before she wakes up. This means getting out of bed by 5:30am. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but now that I've made that decision, I'm really excited about it.
I thought Beckett might be slow to catch on. I figured today I would have to roust his sleepy butt out of bed and shove him out the door, and maybe by Friday he'd be back into the swing of things. But he surprised me by hopping out of bed while I was brushing my teeth, and waiting for me at the back door when I came down the stairs. I think he missed our morning runs even more than I did!
The sky was just starting to lighten at the edges when we walked down the driveway and headed away from the house. I think I may have to steal Keith's headlamp to feel confident I won't have another spectacular wipe-out, as the days are only going to get shorter. But by the time we were home, the sky was light, I was tired but happy, and Beckett was ready for water and food.
I got a quick shower, since Eleanor was already talking to herself by the time I headed upstairs. I threw on some clothes and, for the first time in a long time, was ready to greet Eleanor cheerfully and happy that I already had my run in.
I think this is going to be a good thing. I had forgotten the difficulty of picking up a pile of steaming dog poop in the pre-dawn light. But other than that, I had a great time!