My coffee is set at night, freshly brewed and waiting for me at 5:30 am before I head out for my run. A back-up bottle of my favorite French Vanilla creamer is always in the fridge, and I still drink from the Van Gogh Sunflowers mug that my husband gave me 18 years ago.
My laptop is charged and ready with my morning coffee, with new posts from bloggers and running websites I follow waiting like unopened letters in my inbox.
My running clothes take up their own multiple designated drawers: skorts, sports bras, shorts and shirts in a rainbow of colors. My running shoes are waiting in the closet to see which one of them gets taken on a ride next.
I can navigate in the pitch dark based on feel and not miss the absence of the most treasured of my five senses.
I can run out my door without a GPS watch and know my distance based on landmarks I’ve passed hundreds of times.
I can feel my children still asleep in their beds, recognizing each one by the pattern of their breathing before I quietly escape out the front door for my morning’s run or moving meditation…a daily ritual that allows me to return with the energy and patience I need to give them.
I pass the same early risers at the coffee shop and juice bar. I see the same dog-walkers on each run, knowing which ones will courteously usher their pet out of my way.
I know I can quench my thirst at the water fountain at mile 3.67, or if I’m taking the longer route, fill my water bottle at mile 8.67.
I know where the sprinklers have created puddles overnight, and I can jump over or through them depending on my mood.
I can run my favorite route and completely lose myself in it without worrying about actually getting lost. Even if I’m put in a bag like a stray cat and swung around a few times and tossed a few streets over, I’ll find my way back…not needing to rely on google maps…or an exhausted hypoglycemic teary phone call to my husband telling him to stay on the phone and navigate me back turn by turn.
I know how many minutes and seconds it will take before the shower water is warm and can rely on the water pressure to be the perfect massage for my muscles after my run.
Where I’ve had my first rain run, my first good cry run, trained for my first race, conquered my first hills and found myself on the run.
Where, despite having run through fog in San Francisco’s Presidio, humidity on the Brooklyn Bridge, drizzle in Hyde Park and over cobblestone and bridges in Rome, Florence and Venice, every cell in my body does its favorite happy dance on each home run.
Where I feel the most peaceful, secure, content…the most grateful, both on and off my run.
Other musings by Paria:
Paria Hassouri is a runner, a mother of a 3, and a pediatrician who has found true happiness on the run. She chronicles her running journey on her blog, Mom On The Runsanity.