For those few readers old enough to have seen Zero Mostel as the milkman Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof," this doesn't have anything to do with how we age. Not unless you want it to.
Until about a year ago, I trained twice a day in the three disciplines of triathlon. I would get up before the (butt-) crack of dawn two-to-three times a week and engage in what I jokingly called "creative drowning," something which might have appeared to be (if the light was right and you squinted just so) masters' swimming sessions.
On the days when I wasn't being thrashed by some 80-year-old little old lady (who just so happened to be a national age-group champion) I'd either be on the elliptical trainer or in a spinning class. However, after a disastrous day in Panama City Beach which included an (expensive) emergency room visit, and a less-than-happy day at NOLA 70.3 five months later, I figured it was time to scale back and focus on being mediocre in one sport.
Until three weeks ago, however, I was happy to limit the sessions to an hour in the afternoon, once I arrived home from work. 'Why,' I asked myself, 'should I infringe upon my sleep for something which is only going to make me be more humid once I get into my (semi-)air-conditioned office?' I like sweat, but not so much when I'm sitting in front of my computer. There are only so many excuses you can provide before people start to think you're getting in touch with your inner "Pig-Pen."
Amazing what Mother Nature - and her 90-to-100-degree afternoons - will do to gain a guy's attention. The drive to my office in the morning illustrated a simple mathematics problem and got me to thinking: 75 degrees is still less than 100 degrees.
Like shoe brands, short lengths and training plans, the persons who love running first thing in the morning are not wrong in their decision, only a little different in their preference. To ask some of my close friends why they run in the morning rather than the evening, many consider it to be one "check in the box" out of the way on the seemingly-endless "to-do" list. Some also consider the morning run a (brief) respite from the demands of child-rearing, especially the ones with children engaged in organized sport/activity. Morning runners also figured if they didn't get the run in the morning something during the day or afternoon would infringe upon that time. My southern-tier-dwelling friends also laud more reasonable conditions early in the day.
As much as those particular qualities sounded enticing (save for the non-affect from child-rearing, since I'm only" a grandfather!) I've never been able to put together enough time in the morning to run as long as I preferred. I've always felt rushed to get back to the house by a particular time in order to cool-off, shower, and have a cup of coffee. Sleep, to me, is a guilty pleasure. I only can get so much because of my dog gets up an hour later than I would need to.
Besides, I have my half of the year when I feel rushed to get my run over with...before it's too late. Early sunsets of winter and those countless social occasions between October and February regularly place the kibosh on the evening-loving runners. I love the evening runs because I've usually built up a fairly good head of steam over something which happened at work. Yes, anger is a lousy fuel source, but it's like lighter fluid; only there to get the charcoal glowing. I would much rather stay up a little later in the evening after a run or workout in order to socialize (or relax) than track sweat through the kitchen as I'm grabbing for a slice of toast and coffee.
Sunsets and sunrises are both things of beauty to see on a run, and I've had the opportunity to experience them both with friends. And perhaps it's all in the mind of the individual runner what they prefer. Right now I'm an evening runner. But there are the occasional mornings when I love to prove myself wrong.