This is Not a Cycling Post

4:25 AM

Hey, it’s winter, I can’t always write about biking.

I wake at an ungodly hour.  People hear that I get up at 4:30 (and sometimes 4:00) and I am met with unbelieving stares tinged with a look of pity.  Perhaps it is not for everyone (anyone?) else, but for me it is a good time to greet the day.  Or greet the late night/early morning. 

When the alarm goes off it instantly sets off a feline chain reaction.  One cat begins his low purr from his post on the blanket box at the end of the bed, while the other takes a more active role in rousting me from the warm fleece sheets.  He hunts for any available finger accidently left outside the comforter, and will lick incessantly until I surrender and push out of bed.  His main morning task now complete, he snuggles down next to the spouse for a couple more hours of warm sleep.  Evil cat.

4:30 is all about possibilities.  4:30 gives me enough time to check my digital footprint (facebook, email), shuffle about a bit, watch the weather report (I am Minnesotan, after all, and must have a weather report even before coffee), and still have time for a five mile run before work.  On lazy days I don’t get much beyond the digital footprint checking, or I may read a book.  This morning, with temperatures near 32, a run was definitely called for.

I pull on the i-pod and select a song to build a genius mix around – since it was a mellow morning, I picked “Plea From a Cat Named Virtue” by The Weakerthans.  As it is still not yet spring, I select my route based on the wind pattern, always wanting to return with the wind at my back.  Today took me up Saint Paul’s most beautiful street, past mansions old and new, up the hill to the Cathedral.  I run by a house that is supposedly haunted (tales of a maid committing suicide on the third floor landing, body-less heads floating in space in a basement room, that sort of thing) and am grateful when a couple of cars go by at the same time.  I try not to believe in ghosts, but better safe than sorry. 

Back when I was serious about running, my workouts would be planned in advance, and always include some sort of pace training.  Now, they are just for endurance and bone density, so a little walk in the middle is always a nice break.  I waive to other runners, familiar to me even though I don’t know their names, all of us part of that early morning running routine.  As I walk the last block to my house the eastern sky is beginning to lighten – in the dead of winter I can always look up and see Orion, but today I can’t find him anywhere.  Saturday brings a return to daylight savings time, and a few more weeks of his presence in the southern sky. 

And with thoughts of daylight savings comes thoughts of spring, and lighter layers, and reduced significance of the weather report in my life, and more cycling, and less running.   

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