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I start off slow because my body still feels tight and cold from a long night of sleeping. The grass feels wet on the back of my calf as I kick up the dew with every stride. Through the woods I steadily pick up the pace as my body warms and spirits rise. Next, the sun awakes to join me on my run, and warm me through the trees. The birds sing their morning songs. Three miles have come and gone and I am starting to loosen up, so I pick up the pace. At mile seven I pick it up even more, swiftly swerving through the turns. Then it happens, the feeling I live for. The feeling that makes me want to get out of bed at 5:45 am. The feeling that makes me glad that I am a runner. Runners high. When it hits, I no longer feel fatigued. I am fresh. Floating through the woods without pain. The sun feels brighter, the woods smell fresher, and running feels effortless. No longer am I running.
I am living.
Four days a week I practiced this routine for the summer before cross country seasons in college. It may seem like work to most, but for me it was far from work. Running was my first love.
My alarm sounds at 5:45 am. Not even the sun is awake yet. Slowly I role out of bed wishing I could go back to dreaming.
After slipping into my shorts I grab my shoes and head down the stairs to grab a glass of water. I stretch a bit, and walk out the door. “Here I go again,” I say to myself as I take off on another summer day’s morning run.
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Coach Patrick Hammond earned his Masters Degree in Sports and Performance Psychology from the University of the Rockies. He is a USA Track and Field Level 1 certified coach. As a runner in college he competed at Western Kentucky University, where he helped his team win a Division IA Cross Country Sun Belt Conference Championship.
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