Recently I’ve begun a routine that’s completely out of character for me. I’ve been running in the morning all year; that’s not new. What is new in the past few weeks is I’ve been running without music. I just get dressed, put on my Garmin, and go.
I’ve never done this before. Back in high school I would run with my Walkman tape player; in more recent years I’ve used my iPhone. I noticed the fastest runners I’d see all run without music but I assumed this, like their speed, was a trait that made them a freak of nature.
When I first got started with distance running in 2011 I read a book about running. It said using music as a distraction is fine when you’re just starting to get into a running routine but as you get more adjusted it might be a better idea to get more in tune with the running itself rather than anything but. I thought this was ridiculous and continued making my playlists.
But then a few weeks ago when I was in the midst of a series of bad runs I got desperate. I figured my same old routine wasn’t working and if I wanted different results I needed to change something. So I left the house without music.
Immediately I found the lack of stuff on my body very satisfying. Then I started moving and instead of hearing the beat from my headphones (and nothing else) I heard my shoes on the pavement. My breathing was slightly labored and rhythmic. I heard birds chirping; awake before most of the neighborhood. I focused on moving my legs in a consistent pattern as my feet navigated uneven sidewalks and changes in elevation. I wasn’t distracted from anything–I felt it all. And instead of going crazy from the hyper awareness I felt, I loved it. I was outside exploring the world and I was a part of everything.
Now that it’s late in the summer, it stays darker longer early in the morning. When I leave my house in the morning it looks like this.
When I went down the Greenway this morning at 5:50am there was a faint bit of light from Holly Hills Blvd but most of the light on the path was coming from the moon. I find this path a little creepy at dusk–I know it’s going to keep getting darker and it feels like it’s closing in on me. But in the morning it’s totally different. I know it’s going to get lighter so the darkness I’m experiencing feels welcoming and peaceful.
And the moon….the moon is still out!
This is not a photo from my path but what I see is similar. The sky has a bluish tint, the moon is huge and bright, plus the trees frame my view of it, making a sort of tunnel from me to the sky. It’s like I’m being pulled toward it. I stare at the sky and my heart is full of joy as my legs are light and swift. It’s very calming.
As the miles go on it gets lighter and the rest of the world wakes up. I return home, covered in sweat. I feel centered and ready to tackle the day.