Yesterday morning found my body feeling a bit beat up.  It's a place I find myself in from time when I've pushed the exercise envelope too hard.  I like to be right at the prepuce but just a hair short of exercise exhaustion.  Occasionally I miss the line and over shoot it.  That's where I found myself yesterday morning as I rolled out of bed at 5:30 a.m.  It frustrated me some as certain routines bring peace and a center to my soul.  This was one of them.

There would be no run through the ghetto or through the downtown streets and out to the YMCA river trail.  My legs were needing a hiatus, at least until after work.  I mused in my head wondering if the handful of homeless people who were familiar with my early morning running presence would wonder where I was.  Several always have a greeting or comment for me.  My heart is drawn to the outdoors.  And since the outdoors seemed to be their place of abode, I had a soft spot for them. 

Our newspaper gets stolen every morning.  Someone must really need it more than me.  Whoever is stealing it does not know that Doug is the marketing director at the newspaper.  It makes me giggle every morning I leave the building to run at 5:45 a.m. and find it missing.  I've thought a time or two about getting up at 4:30 a.m., when it's delivered, to watch who's taking it.  I have my theories, but they aren't worth missing that last hour of sleep over!

Changing into my running clothes after work, I drove to the river walk to run my miles I hadn't logged from morning.  Running at 5 p.m. isn't my favorite time of the day - the trail is people populated, the air is too warm, my body is tired from eight and a half hours of fast paced work.  I tried to convince myself that the outdoors was my real love not running so to motivate myself to follow through with the miles ahead. 

On the back side of the run, finally coming into a groove that was hard to find, I picked up a bit of speed.  I passed a spandexed woman with a fanny pack who was an overly exaggerated pear body.  She was working it, but very slow.  Ahead of her was a young woman with a bit faster pace.  I passed her too.  Not far from her was a blond haired woman in her 20's.  I passed her as well.  Looking ahead to a woman who appeared to be a few years younger than me, I decided I needed to pass number four.  She was the quicker of the women I had already passed.  It was a bit of motivation to conquer another - to king my checker so to speak.  I overtook her as well.

I decided right then that though passing other runners is a bit fun, I get much greater enjoyment alone in the early morning hours when the night is turning to day.  I get richer soul fulfillment in running in quietness without throngs.  That is, except for the handful of regulars I see before most even think about the great outdoors or going out into it.

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