Allison here, your local gal actually posting on time.
For my first two years of high school, my phone used to buzz every weekday morning promptly at 5:41 am. I had set the alarm at an odd time, promising myself I could spend the extra four minutes in bed before I really needed to get up. Yet, the alarm was, quite simply, agonizing. No one would invite a small mariachi band into their room every morning as a reminder that they had to wake up at some ungodly hour to get ready for a long day of classes, exams, and endless homework, yet I allowed the awful prerecorded music selected by a team of software developers somewhere in Silicon Valley to jar me into existence every morning. So each weekday I slid out of bed, resentful of the noise that sent my heart racing before I had even brushed my teeth for the day. I thought about changing the song. Maybe if it was something softer, it wouldn’t scare me half to death each morning; maybe if I set it to a song I liked, it won’t feel quite so awful. But, inevitably, I grew to hate the song I chose or resent the soft jingle I tried out. So I woke up each morning, jerked from a peaceful slumber.
College was a promise that my days of early morning alarms would be behind me, at least until I got a Real Job out in the Real World. Experienced college kids who had suffered through labs that began at 8 a.m. and three hour lectures that finished before noon all told me the same thing: avoid morning classes.
When I registered for the fall semester, I happily choose 9 ams three times a week and an 11:30 start on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Plenty of time for sleeping. And, for the first two weeks of school, this was true.
But then the running club entered my life. Long distance running felt like it was calling my name.
6 a.m. practices, however, were not.
Nevertheless, I begrudgingly set my alarm to 5:45, depressingly similar to the time that I used to wake up throughout high school. I got dressed in the dark while my roommate slept peacefully in the bed across from mine. I pulled my hair into a ponytail without brushing it and slipped my shoes on in the hallway. It was barely six am but the air was already heavy with humidity and the oppressive heat could be felt long before the sun dared reach across the horizon. I walked over to where the running club met, checking my phone, the screen fogging from the moisture in the air.
And I ran. Three, four, five miles. Two miles. Sprints. Some days I ran alone, sometimes in groups. Regardless of how far I ran or who I ran with, four times a week my alarm dragged me out of bed and I started each day in the darkness of the morning. I was awake before most students, before the locks to buildings automatically clicked open, or the garage buildings filled with cars.I was awake before the dawn had pulled itself from sleep.
Though I didn’t stick with the running club this semester, I do sometimes still wake up in the stillness of morning and slip on my running shoes, hitting my feet against the pavement before the sun dare touch the sky with its radiance. Something about the beauty of watching the earth turn a pale pink in the morning, the world glowing with newness before the air turns heavy with heat, will always be inescapable.
But even the beauty of the sunrise isn’t always stronger than the allure of a fluffy pillow and soft blankets.