For the past two weeks, every night I intended to get up early and go running.
Really early. I'd have to get out the door by quarter past five in order to be back in time to get the kids ready and out the door at our normal time. Every night I'd lay out my running gear and charge up my ipod and I'd even tell my husband, "If you hear the door gently closing at five in the morning, that's just me going for a run."
I applaud him for not having laughed in my face by the seventh or eighth time.
Because every morning when my alarm went off at 5 a.m., I would stare at the darkness outside my window, audibly guffaw and then I'd roll back over and go back to sleep.
Once I even wrote on facebook that I intended to run.
I asked my posse to keep me honest.
That didn't work either.
But last night was different.
In response to a post I'd made, half poking fun at myself for my unceasing optimism given my terrible track record about getting up early to run, a friend wrote the comment, "You can do it!"
When I woke up this morning, I thought to myself, "Kate believes in me. I can't let Kate down"
And then I shrugged and figured, what difference could another forty minutes of sleep do anyway.
I quietly got dressed, squirming into my sports bra in the pitch dark, slipping on my runners and then trying to turn the latch on the door without it making any door-latch sounds.
The cat came to watch me go. She was impressed.
I could tell.
I didn't bring my ipod. I didn't want to be distracted by music. I might not hear an approaching aggressor. And I abandoned all my usual trail routes for a plain old straight-away down the main north-south street. Streetlights at quarter past five are a must.
And as I padded down the sidewalk, I felt an exhilaration. I was proud of myself for being out so early. It was peaceful beyond words.
I marvelled at the rare house with a light on or any signs of life indoors. A few cars were backing out of driveways already. I loved the sense of communion I felt with these other early risers.
And as I approached Lakeshore, I thought about the inspirational blog post I would write tonight and I decided I would end it with something poetic about the elusive presence of a starry sky in Burlington in the very early hours of dawn.
Then I turned the corner, ran about two hundred metres and saw something on the sidewalk. A lump.
A big, grey, furry lump.
A sleeping..... wolf? coyote? wild dog?
I didn't stick around to find out.
Just a few steps away from actually tripping over the sleeping canine, I turned and flew (and I do mean FLEW) back the way I'd come.
I often laugh at how slow a runner I've become. "Run" is kind of a stretch, since it's more of a fast shuffle in running shoes. But this morning, when I saw that coyote, I ran faster than I've run a long time. My arms swung in perfect form at my sides, my legs were strong, my lungs BURNED and when I finally turned the corner and dared to look back to see I wasn't being followed, I nearly vomited on the sidewalk.
I walked for a bit to catch my breath, looking back periodically to make sure I wasn't being followed. My earlier euphoria had vanished and I was angry about it. As if I really needed another excuse NOT to get up at 5 a.m. to run!
When I got home, I told my husband I loved him and he told me he didn't feel there was any real danger.
Will I run again at 5 a.m.?
Only time will tell.
But I can tell you this.
I will certainly set my clothes out on the dresser again.