Sunrise runs are more than just pretty morning jogs. Their powerful effects might just change you, inside and out.
Even though I run alone I enjoy sharing my stories with other runners and hearing their experiences in return. Most often, I tend to reflect on my long runs with my father. Soon after I finish my run I tend to call my dad to “report in.” I’d like to believe that he enjoys hearing about my progress towards the marathon and honestly, it’s really nice to have someone with whom I can share my experiences. I called my dad sometime in the afternoon the day of my sunrise run. Our conversation went something like this:
Me- Ran 13.5 in 1 hr 49 min.
Dad- Good time. You’re really cookin’. Try to run the second half of your runs faster than the first half.
Me- Will do. It was so cool. I was on the road by 5:30 and ran by moonlight. It was breathtaking…. (pause) Dad, I watched the world wake up. Just priceless.
Dad- I’ve watched the world wake up for 30 years. Pretty amazing, eh? (pause) [serious tone] You know Kass, I think my real running days are over.
Me- Come on, don’t say that.
Dad- (sigh) But I think they are. Been sick, been injured then sick again. Doing more golf, spin and elliptical. I haven’t been able to string more than a couple runs together in the past couple weeks. And even then, I’m running shorter distances…. [abruptly he changed his tone] Well, I have to go. Talk to you later. Love you, Bye.
Me- Love you too. Bye.
Even though this conversation was short, it stayed with me for days, weeks really. His words resonated with me “I’ve watched the world wake up for 30 years.” He discovered the magic of the sunrise run long ago. He knew exactly what I witnessed and how I felt: vacant roads that are usually lively, the arrival of a new day as the sun’s rays creep over the horizon, the sense of accomplishment on finishing a run before most people leave their homes and most importantly impatiently longing to do it all over again. The experience is enchanting. But nothing more needed to be said between us. He had lived and breathed the sunrise run for decades, now it was my turn. A sense of excitement immediately rushes over me as I say the words: it’s my turn.
My turn to feel the crisp morning air on my face. To challenge myself and face my fears. To log miles in the early dawn and uncover a hidden part of myself, a strong woman who hides within this anxiety ridden shell of a body. As I think about my future sunrise runs the edges of my lips curl up and I say it again- It’s my turn.
Our conversation left me with a sense of sadness too. Could his running days really be numbered? I slowly digested this information. The man has spent over 30 years of his life waking up to do something that brings him pure joy – and that could all be gone. My eyes begin to fill with tears. As I reflect on how happy running makes me, I am simultaneously faced with the thought of having it being ripped away from me some day. I still feel his pain. That’s why he hung up so quickly. He just couldn’t face it. Not yet at least. And I don’t want to face it either. In the meantime I am going to hold out hope that he’s wrong- that he has a ninth running life stored away somewhere within his strong legs.
While we are in drastically different stages of our running careers we are able to bond over our varied running experiences and how they affect our outlook on life. I have truly found a best friend in this new career of mine: my father. I told you before: sunrise runs are more than just pretty morning jogs; their powerful effects might just change you, inside and out.