His eyes open abruptly to the beeping sound. Was he dreaming of a steady beeping? No, it couldn’t be that. It’s his alarm clock of course. Every morning the same sound, every morning the same thought of changing it to another less irritating sound. He rolls over, to his left so as to not wake the wife to his right, and extends one finger to dismiss the beeping. This dismissal says that he IS awake, that he IS aware that he needs to sit up, he needs to keep his eyes open.
His left leg swings down to the floor. His back is stiff and it feels the previous night’s sleep. He steps down to the carpeted floor and tries to rise from the bed without disturbing it too much. He grabs for the water bottle that has taken up residence for those several hours of rest he gets every night. Although the ice has melted throughout the night, the water within is still a comfortable temperature and as he steps into the bathroom he washes down his vitamins with it. Men’s multivitamin and three fish-oil pills, without fail every morning. He’s heard that fish-oil will help his heart. Considering what he’s about to do, a strong heart is a must.
The mirror beckons to him. He looks at his reflection. There’s less hair on his head and his weekend scruff is more than obvious. Running his hands across his face may give an illusion of wakefulness, but it’s easy to maintain an illusion if you stick to it hard enough. He steps into the walk-in closet, but only for a brief second as he remembers the article he read about caffeine helping performance. He knows he’s not an Olympic athlete, but coffee serves two purposes; one, it’s delicious, and two, it’s a whole lot more helpful for waking up then just running your fingers across your face. Considering what he’s about to do, a little pick-me-up couldn’t hurt.
He quickly walks to the kitchen and turns on the automatic single-serve coffee machine. As it whirs and clicks, he grabs one of the single cups of coffee, sets it next to the machine, and returns to the closet where his gear lies. He looks at it, lying on the floor. The shoes, laces loosened and welcoming to his feet, have a few miles on them already but not an amount to be worried about. The shirt and shorts are nondescript, just something to cover him as he sweats. The socks are not cotton. The articles he’s read have warned against cotton and its unwelcome sportsman qualities. The socks he’s chosen are mostly polyester so as to not soak up his sweat, so as to keep his feet dry for what he’s about to do. Considering what he’s about to do, dry feet are a must.
The coffee is bitter but, in an odd way that only coffee and beer drinkers can relate, amazing. The heat from the liquid in the cup flows down his throat and he feels it in his chest.
The cup empty, he sets it as quietly as he can into the dishwasher and steps towards the front door. As the door opens, he can feel the cold rush of air against his face. It’s refreshing. Not that he needs to be awakened any further, but it feels good over his skin. The weather feels great outside, even with the initial briskness. Considering what he’s about to do, brisk will work in his favor this morning.
He steps out with his left foot, as they taught him in the Navy all those years ago. Old habits die hard. He knows that it doesn’t matter which foot he starts the journey with, but certain things just seem to stick after all these years.
He follows with his right, as is the nature of things. One foot, then the other. First slowly, then his pace quickens. A walk to a slight jog, then a few yards more and he’s into a comfortable running pace. Considering what he’s about to do, a good pace will feel good and help him with his running efficiency.
His breaths shorten. The breeze against his face flows faster across his cheeks. His feet smack lightly on the pavement with a staccato rhythm.
This is The Run.