Summer Sunrises

AJW's TaproomFrom the time I began running back in the mid-1980s, I have always been a morning guy. I am not sure why, but even before I needed to get up and out the door early, it was just what I did. In college and through my single years, the daily run was something that was just the first thing I did to start my day. It instinctively felt like the right thing to do.

Once I got married and secured a more serious job, the morning run became more of a necessity. Getting out before the stress of the day weighed down on me was something that made the rest of the day better. Then, after we started having kids, breaking out during the pre-dawn coolness with my sons in their baby joggers was the best way to give my wife Shelly another hour of sleep and also gave me a chance to share the start of the day with my boys. This is something I still do to this day.

As the kids grew out of their strollers, the morning run remained a daily staple as it kept me centered, gave structure to my day, and allowed me a few moments of stillness in the midst of an increasingly hectic existence.

And so it was earlier this week, after returning from a whirlwind trip to the Western States 100, that I went for my first morning run in my new home in Wilson, Arkansas. While on that run, I realized one of the most exciting and perhaps underrated parts of running at the crack of dawn, the sunrise. In my running life, I have literally seen hundreds of sunrises and I dare say no two are alike. Sunrises in the mountains contrasted with sunrises in the desert provide me with a unique insight into what all sunrises have in common, the representation of starting anew, rejuvenation, and the dawning of a new day.

In my run earlier this week, that dawning was particularly acute as I rounded the turnrows through the cotton fields here in the Mississippi Delta and saw, for the first time, a mid-south summer sunrise. That singular moment brought to mind a noticeable constant in my life that regardless of where jobs and family have taken me, and however much my running has evolved with age, the feeling of expectation and optimism that accompanies the sunrise has never left me. Running through three decades, has given me reason to be a part of these sunrises and provided my own daily dawn, regardless of location or circumstance, which makes the rest of the day, and often the rest of life, just a bit more tolerable.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

This week’s Beer of the Week comes from the region of the country I now call home. Wiseacre Brewing Company is one of Memphis, Tennessee’s most popular craft breweries and their Ananda IPA is just delicious. Not malty, cloying, or too fruity, Ananda is characterized more by what it’s not that by what it is–which is an eminently drinkable classic take on a variety that seems to be all over the place these days. For a pure, solid IPA, Ananda is just about perfect.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Does sunrise have a specific meaning for you?
  • Do you do most of your running in the morning and see the sunrise during it?
  • Can you describe what the last sunrise you saw looked and felt like?

There are 3 comments

  1. Robert Sargeant

    Most days when I’m blessed to see the sunrise on my morning runs I have thoughts of gratitude, thinking that the planet we’re living on moves at 67000 mph through space in orbit around the sun travelling at 1.6 million miles per day and it continues to survive. If not for the electromagnetic shield surrounding it the earth we would be toast, blasted by solar winds, stripping away the atmosphere that miraculously has a constant 20.95% oxygen at lower altitudes. We’ve got a great set-up here on earth and should enjoy it. Early morning runs are one of the best ways.

  2. AT

    I began lifting weights in HS at 6am during track season, with my intentions focused solely on the upcoming football season. I was hesitant to the routine, but within the first couple days, I loved it, the euphoric buzz just lingered throughout the day. Plus, the coffee tasted better haha. Those 6am meathead sessions got replaced with morning runs for the last 8 years now when I began my career. You hit the nail on the head with what those early sunrise miles do for the soul. Well said!!

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