One of the best things about daylight-saving time, aside from that extra glorious hour you get to spend lolling around in bed on Sunday, is that it makes it that much easier to get out of bed for a pre-work workout. It’s exponentially more motivating to go running when the sun is actually up and we can lace up our shoes without turning the light on. In the next couple weeks, we can plan on getting outside and get our blood pumping in the morning again, before it gets too frosty and frigid.
This morning, I woke up before my alarm even went off, when the sun was streaming through my open window across my pillow. I had barely opened my eyes before my leg muscles started humming, “Go run. Go run.” I burrowed further into my blankets to try and shut them up, but then I felt the crisp air on my cheeks and a burst of adrenaline, so I jumped out of bed. I threw on my leggings, a toasty fleece, mittens and my hat that’s got a tassel on the top that makes a satisfying thwop thwop on the top of my head with every step, and then I was out the door.
The air was cold, and it bit through my cheekbones like the ocean water does during winter surf sessions, but it had that smoky smell that it gets right before it snows. By the time I crossed the street, my nose was tingling like I had to sneeze and my eyes were streaming, but the cells of my muscles were shivering to life. It wasn’t long before my lungs had that hurts-so-good kind of burn in them. I felt beads of sweat in between my forehead and hat and I settled into my running rhythm. My iPod hasn’t worked since 2009, so I’ve gotten pretty good at zoning out and letting my pace make my mind wander. Running is when I do all my best quasi-useless thinking, like what I’ll have for breakfast, what I’ll do to decorate my apartment for Christmas, what the words are in the second verse of “Sk8ter Boi”, etc. I passed girls lugging messenger bags filled with school books and yoga mats and hipster fellows fumbling with their BICs to light cigarettes. By the park, I saw an older man in tartan plaid pajama pants and a long, wool suit overcoat with his lovely ginger dog.
I loved running by the older apartment buildings, with their stone stoops and tenants standing outside clutching steaming cups of coffee, their hazelnut-y aromas wafting over me in a little puff of white fog. The leaves on the uneven sidewalk didn’t crunch under my feet because they’ve been snowed on a couple times, but they still carried the dusty brown smell (if brown has a smell, it is dead leaves) that will make a street in downtown Denver smell like the middle of the woods. Outside a town house a block from my apartment, which I know belongs to some mischievous twenty-somethings, there were three, well, two and a half Jack-O’-Lanterns arranged on a spike, in a Calvin-and-Hobbes-esque way, in its disturbing display of pumpkin brutality.
By the end of my run, I had that full-body itch that you get when your freezing body heats up again, from the inside out. My fleece was sticking to my back and my bangs were plastered, rather attractively, to my forehead under my hat. I snagged my water bottle from my car, where I had left it last night, and gave myself a throat freeze after chugging half the contents. I stretched out my already tight calf muscles and made my way back upstairs. I cooled down and warmed up with my own cup of hazelnut-ty coffee before heading off to work, thoroughly invigorated and refreshed.