5AM Runner

Adrenaline II or The Adventure with Teeth

parachute jumpPrecisely at 4:45 this morning, my 10-year-old screamed out: “Mom!!!!!!!”, calling on my wife to get up and fix his blankets.  As she did not even move a muscle in response, I jumped up and ran over to him, taking care of business.  Realizing the tremendous opportunity that was now open to me, I quickly threw something on, grabbed my iPhone and ran out.

I call this an opportunity, because I simply crave a chance to be outside even BEFORE 5 AM, when the streets are still dark even during the summer months, when my head is still pounding from lack of meaningful sleep, when my body is still asleep for all intents and purposes.  Can you think of a better way to shock yourself and make your body work against its wishes (short of jumping into an ice-cold bucket of water)?  I can’t, and I take every chance I get to go running before most roosters have a chance to crow!  Believe me, this early in the morning, awakening so abruptly, every mile you run equates to about 3 miles you would run in a normal environment, at a normal hour!  What can I say – I am lazy, and want the most bang for my buck…!

Now, as I am running this morning, I am planning what I may write later on in the day to follow up on my initial ‘Adrenaline’ article a few days ago, thinking of other ways in which that topic may prove applicable.  Little did I suspect that I would find my answer right along the way, this early in the morning, as I was making my way out of our development.  Before I had a chance to make it onto the highway - where I feel like fish in the water, running in between cars and getting cursed out by the drivers – I noticed an ugly naked guy (not really naked, just shirtless), walking in my direction…. “Unusual, but ok”, I told myself, making my way past him, and only then noticing that directly behind him there was an equally ugly, equally naked dog walking lazily to keep up with its owner….. Interestingly enough, unlike a typical dog-walker that I normally run into (that probably hate me even more than the drivers), this dog was not connected to its walker by any leash or any other electronic device that could shock it back to normal behavior, if necessary…

Hey, I have been “around the block” a few times in my life, and knew exactly what was going to happen as a result of this early-morning encounter.  Seeing a running target, most dogs normally jump in my direction, looking to tear meapart (playfully, most likely), typically being held back by their owners, which is where a leash proves very handy.  I guess the Topless Wonder didn’t think he would meet anyone outside this early in the day, and so he didn’t bother restraining the dog in any way…  As our eyes connected, the dog and I both knew what we had to do, and as I noticed him flinch in my direction with unbridled enthusiasm, I did the only thing that had always proven to work – I turned around and faced the attacking beast, while continuing to run sideways / backwards.  Oh yeah, and I also displayed my teeth to the dog, accompanied by a growling sound that would have scared King Kong, had he been alive and present.

Either shocked by the look of my teeth (I am definitely overdue for a dentist appointment) or just feeling that it got the desired effect, the dog stopped in its tracks, while the owner continued to scream at the poor animal at the top of his lungs, imploring it to abandon the chase.  The dog complied, and all three of us breathed a sigh of relief!  What a way to start the day!!  And talk about the adrenaline rushing through my system as a result of the vicious attack!  Hoping to take advantage of the natural chemicals still pumping through my system, I continued on at a faster pace, keeping the experience alive by imaging how my battle with the beast would go, had it been allowed to continue.  Feeling energized and heroic, I kept up the pace for another mile or so, noticing however that my energy level was predictably dropping with each passing moment…

Oh well, I guess the experts are correct, and unless you give yourself a shot of testosterone every 30 minutes or so, that increased energy level just can’t sustain itself, our bodies are only capable of doing so much.  The body knows the danger has passed, and will not help you out any longer than it has to.  And since I flat-out refuse to take any drugs or performance-enhancers, I guess I am just stuck with the good, old-fashioned motivational slap across the face to wake me up!