I awoke at 6:45 am and stumbled around the morning, coffee in hand, layering running clothing. I am uncertain what drives me on these mornings as I have never been able to get up for anything else- school, work, doctor appointments. Working nights and maintaining a constant self-preservation mode until the early hours of the morning prevent me from feeling anything close to exuberance in the morning.
I arrived at the runners group meet-up late. The group had already left 15 minutes earlier in the first of three five-mile loops. Two others stood in the parking lot. We decided to not waste any time lingering. We started at a steady pace, but after a few miles I hold back a bit. I was planning on completing the full fifteen-mile run. I watched my friends who had just met in the last mile instantly bond. They were chatting away with the rising sun. We caught up to the rest of the group at 8:30. We set out again through suburban neighborhoods, down busy roads. By mile eight, I got a sudden out-of-body familiar sense. I looked around me, within me, and slowly fell into a steady pace. My body lightened, my shoulders lowered. Finally, I felt like I was breathing. I heard the birds, and the despair from the nighttime faded away while the sun shone faintly across my face. I began to consider the coming hours of a busy Saturday. The hours working hard in a place I have spent many years. The monotony of each footstep of a busy night at the restaurant fights against the peace and connection I feel to running. To the earth under my feet. I carry that feeling to the people I interact with, what I draw from them, whether it be it a familiar face or a stranger. It is a never-ending quest to come out of myself, out of that self-conscious and anxious existence I sometimes lead. I go back to the feeling of hovering over myself at mile eight. I grab onto that moment of peace and keep moving forward.