This morning was the first time I’ve run in two months, since the failed marathon. It was a short run, only two and a half miles, but even that much makes all the difference. I got out of bed and tried not to wake my wife. I put my running socks on and a shirt and then left.

This is the worst time of year for running. It’s hot even in the morning. I started sweating almost immediately and felt my thighs go numb, which happens when the friction from pants/shorts is unfamiliar to your legs, when you haven’t run in a while. I took my phone out of my pocket which was contributing to the friction.

There was almost nobody out. I only saw one other runner; a lanky guy who looked to be almost seven feet tall. There were a few cars but not many. It was nice.

While running I realized how affected I was by the early morning vibe. It was peaceful like no other time.

I sometimes fantasize about living in other places. I think most people in the Midwest do that. I think oh, it’d be nice to live by the beach or in some city where there’s a lot going on. But this morning I saw my familiar surroundings, literally, in a new light. The same streets, the same crummy shops; the old Big Lots and the miniature golf course with the bright blue, fake-looking water. I saw all that with fresh eyes. I thought to myself that although place does matter – living on the beach is different than living in a landlocked suburbia – the time of day also matters, and can color your experience almost just as much as changing locations.

I ran down a big hill and crossed my fingers because running downhill is about the worst thing to aggravate tendinitis. I knew I should be fine. I’d done my stretches and knee exercises faithfully for two months and took the appropriate amount of time to heal. But still there was that anxious feeling. What if the pain came back? I let my feet fall lightly, trying to absorb the shock evenly across the arches. I took smaller strides which is supposed to lessen the impact on the knee as well.

When I got to the bottom of the hill my knee was fine. There was no pain. I thanked God. If there would’ve been anybody around, another runner, I would’ve given them a high-five. They would’ve thought I was just being a friendly morning person but I’m not much of either. It was just me out there, anyway.


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