I don’t normally go into the office on Tuesdays but I had to today so there was no other way but to do my run at 0630 in the morning. Not that early really but it was still pitch black when I set off (sunrise at 0754), not to mention freezing. It was the first run since the last winter that I had to layer up and wear gloves. GLOVES! The ground was frosted over and slippy in places. My Nikes have absolutely no grip so I felt slowed down, also as it’s hard to see all the lumps and bumps on the pavement when the council seems to think street lights are an optional luxury to be used sparingly.
On I ran. Not many people around but more cars than I had expected. The cold air was burning my lungs and I was glad I had brought two tissues with me as my nose seemed to be on a constant drip. I felt tired, not very motivated and generally just.. meh!.. At around 11km mark I hit Primrose Hill and just as I was climbing up towards the top of the actual hill (from behind, approaching the vista over London), the pre-sunrise colours started to hit their peak. I was running towards a sky that was this amazing, blazing orange; streaked with blue, it almost felt like there should have been a choir singing hallelujah. These stunning, fiery colours and the cold and misty London skyline woke me up. And welled me up. Suddenly nothing hurt, the slippy ground didn’t matter and I felt alive. So, so alive. This sounds so cheesy but it was almost life affirming. I stayed in the park for another few kilometres as the sky just kept getting even more amazing; a deeper hue of orange until it finally gave birth to the sun and calmed down.
As I was in the shower, having clocked a 22km run, it suddenly hit me. I would never, ever have seen that sunrise if it wasn’t for running. In fact, in addition to the health perks and all that yada yada, running has brought so much beauty into my life. I have seen so many stunning sunrises that have made me wish I could paint – words will never be able to convey them and the heart bursting fragility they have. I have run around a French vineyard, again as the sun was coming up, and seen the dew glistening on spider webs and the rabbits bouncing around the vines. I have run on small, Cornish road as the mist-like drizzle soaked me to the bone and in the Finnish country side as the sun made the grass seem greener and the lakes blue-er than you can imagine. There have been runs in the driving snow around Regents Park and runs on the beach in Florida. There has been so – much – beauty.
I would never have had any reason to see these places otherwise (well, except for the beach in Florida..). Definitely not at pre-dawn. Us runners should count ourselves lucky; we have access to a secret world where urban foxes forage and wild bore roam around vineyards. Now that is a reason to get out of bed for that early morning run.
(It seems I wasn’t the only one who appreciated the sun rise this morning http://www.itv.com/news/london/2014-12-09/30-stunning-images-of-london-waking-up-to-a-golden-sunrise/)