An early start. Cool and clear as I head out in the darkness. Steady, steady, run for an hour, no hassle, no pressure.
The tarmac glistened and Jack Frost had been skating over the car windscreens as I rolled my shoulders and got my legs moving along my street and out along the coast.
I was weary, feeling the effects of a tough training session the day before, and then the stiff, creeping stillness of a day sitting in front of a screen. But I’d put my kit out ready, roused myself to the alarm and got out of the door before my brain really cottoned on to what was happening.
There is something quite special about an early morning run. I love the quietness. The solitude. The sense that I’m experiencing something that others miss.
My thoughts drift easily as I head out towards the lighthouse, wondering if I’m in the right time frame to spot the International Space Station in the clear sky.
I warm into my stride, try to pick up my feet when I hear them slapping down and feel the pull on my calf muscles. Easy, easy, call it base training.
The familiar tingle of pins and needles in my right foot. No matter how gently I ease my laces, I get this on longer runs until my trainers are well worn in. As I turn back, I walk a few steps and shake it out.
I’m wrapped up in long tights, long sleeved top, gloves and a hat, but as so often on this route, if I feel warm in one direction, I’m glad of the layers in the other. Today it’s as I turn, I feel there is a chill wind after all and now it’s in my face.
But the light is lifting as I run into the sunrise, and even out early along this stretch I’m never alone. Runners pass with good morning greetings, recognising the shared experience of braving the darkness and finding this time.
I stop for a few seconds and take a photo as the gold begins to lift over the North Sea – flat, calm and gentle against the cold sands today, a contrast to the churning grey of recent days.
Back home for a warm shower, porridge and my day proper to begin. Already it’s been a success. My legs may ache and my body may stiffen as I spend much of the rest of it in a chair in front of a screen, but it started with a run with the sunrise.