Every night this week I set my alarm for 7:00 a.m. and every single morning I got up and ran my favorite route. I usually mix it up a little, alternating running with other exercise, but last week my focus was slipping a bit, especially with the summer heat, so this week I decided to do something drastic.
The drastic part wasn't running every day. The drastic part was getting up at 7:00 a.m. to do it. I am not a morning person. Even though I know it is lovely to get out early. And even though I know 7:00 a.m. isn't even really that early.
Here's my favorite route (4 miles):
I start by walking about 1/4 mile to Canyon Road at the edge of my neighborhood, then I start running. Almost immediately, I turn and head south down into the river bottoms. The hill down is a good warm up, then the hill up on the other side gets my heart rate going.
Shortly after the top of the hill, I turn and head east toward the mountains. In the mornings, there is usually (always?) a strong headwind coming out of the canyon.
The reward comes at my halfway point, when I turn north again, down through the river bottoms into the shade and across the creek. It is always cool and refreshing, no matter how hot the weather is.
That leg ends, though, with a steep uphill climb to the mouth of the canyon. When I reach the top of the hill, I turn west on Canyon Road to head home. It's mostly a gentle slope down on a wide bike path, with glimpses of Utah Lake in the distance.
When I get back to my neighborhood, I slow to a walk for the last 1/4 mile.
I'm glad I stuck to my goal this week. I'm also glad I'm not setting an alarm tonight.