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A friend of mine on both Facebook and Ravelry has also just started the Couch-to-5K program, and she’s struggling with the timing. We’ve been chatting back and forth all day about it, and how neither of us is a morning person. Last year, when I started running in the morning before work, I came to this conclusion, and this is what I told her on her update:

I’m really, really not a morning person. But there was something about getting up, pre-dawn, putting on my running pants and a hoodie and gloves and a hat, because there was frost on the ground, seeing my breath in the dark-before-the-dawn, and going running. You’ve seen my running shoes. My shoelaces start glowing right before the sun comes up. Then there’s that moment where the light quality changes and the greyness starts getting little touches of color, going from washed out to frost-covered color. When the sun comes up enough to see, it’s this ball of searing orange light that is one of the most beautiful things ever created. The cold goes away. The earliness goes away. The discomfort and pain go away. And then it’s just the running. Until you catch it for yourself, you’re just going to look sideways at this, but I can guarantee you, every runner you know understands this. And someday, you will, too. And that, at the very latest, is when you start calling yourself a runner. It might happen before then, but that moment, that perfection, is when you’re going to be doing this for a very long time.

Someone told me once that when you start running, you’re a runner. That doesn’t seem quite a full fit for me. It took the morning I described above for me to call myself a runner. I haven’t been much of a runner for the last six or seven months, but I still consider myself a runner. I love doing it. It makes me feel good, even when I hurt like fuckin’ hell. But knowing that it will pay off eventually, that I may not be the whipcord kinda guy ever, sweating to the point that I can’t understand why I don’t shrivel up from dehydration and feeling like I can’t get enough water or Gatorade in me, it makes it all worth it. Seriously.

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