The Loneliness of the 4-Times-a-Week, 6AM Runner

joggersNever in a million years did I ever think I would write an essay about running.  I hate running.  I can think of hundreds…thousands of things that I would rather do with my time than throw on some tennis shoes and go run around my neighborhood with my dog in tow before the sun comes up.  Like sleeping.  Sleeping is awesome.  Running is not.  But for some reason or another, my body and mind have become so hooked on this whole running in the morning thing, that my brain is an absolute mess if I skip out on it.

I didn’t always run though.  It’s actually quite a new development in my weekly routine.  Last summer, a friend and I started a little competition between the two of us to see who could lose the largest percentage of body weight over a three-month period.  The loser would have to buy all the beers at Fun Fun Fun Fest (music festival beer is usually pretty pricey…and Fall days in Austin are rife for mass consumption of said beer…so it turned out to be a sizable wager).  Well, I won.  And those beers were delicious and plentiful.  And the following week, I just kept on working out like I had been, up at 6AM, out the door with the dog, and then back home for a shower and breakfast before going to work.  Apparently my body was hooked.

It’s gotten to the point where if I miss a run in the morning, most likely due to stormy weather, I’m just garbage for the rest of the day, a bumbling, clumsy bag of flesh and bone.  I can’t focus.  I seem to be accident-prone.  I’m tired and out of it.  And after a few hours, I start jonesing for some physical activity…which means I then have to go running when I get home from work.  I don’t want to do that.  As much as I don’t care for running in general, I really despise running in the afternoon.  It’s hotter.  The air is thicker.  There are people and cars everywhere.  Plus, by the time I get out there, I’ve had a whole day to sit and toil away at a desk, eat like shit, and just wear myself down on a day’s work.  Running before dawn is just better for me.

Reasons I Prefer the AM Jog:

  1. It’s just so much cooler out there, and on colder days, there’s nothing like a blast of arctic air to wake you up in the morning. It’s better than coffee.
  2. There’s an almost tangible quality to the lonesomeness of the pre-dawn run. Aside from a handful of folks driving to work and the other a-holes like me hitting the pavement, running in the morning is a solitary affair.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  I’m able to just be inside my own head while my body moves down the road, or if I hit a particularly hypnotic pace, leave my head in a kind of motion-fueled meditation.
  3. I don’t feel like a goddamn space cadet the rest of the day.
  4. I would much rather have a beer or cocktail in the evening over exercise.

Let it be known that despite my “enthusiasm” for jogging in the morning and the real and perceived benefits it seems to have for me, I don’t believe in the so-called runner’s high.  The runner’s high is bullshit.  If anything, it’s just your body giving up on you because it’s in too much pain.  And if I wanted to get high, there are plenty of other preferable methods that don’t involve waking up early in the morning and panting in exhaustion as I move up and down the street.  Seriously, I could just huff paint if I needed to.

In summation, I guess the point of this whole thing is that I hate running, but I do it anyway because it appears to be benefiting me.  And honestly, I would rather be doing anything else, but like some sour, downtrodden addict, I keep going back for a fix again and again.  I am a reluctant exercise warrior.  I am a fading bastion of good health.  I am an inspiration.  I am full of shit.  So if you’re in Austin some weekday morning, generally on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, in between the hours of 6AM and 7AM, look for me.  I’ll be the miserable looking bastard with a happy, excited dog jogging into the sunrise.


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit

3 Responses to The Loneliness of the 4-Times-a-Week, 6AM Runner
  1. Tommy Reply

    I spend my Wednesdays with my son. He keeps me on my toes.

  2. Shawn C Baker

    Shawn C Baker Reply

    So does Wednesday always suck then or do the other four days get you through? I have a similar thing with, *ahem*, Meditation.

  3. Shawn C Baker

    Shawn C Baker Reply

    This is easily my favorite thing I’ve read yet this year on the interwebs.

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