#2. Run 4 miles before the sun comes up (In 4-inches of snow).

I’m going to be real: if you have glamorous notions of embarking on your own blizzardy, six a.m. sunrise run, don’t expect to have any divine revelations.

My non-inspirational thoughts while running include:

  • God, I wish I had brought music.
  • *Dark Paradise by Lana Del Rey* starts playing in my head. “Every time I close my eyes, It’s like a dark paradiseeee.”
  • The inside of my cheek feels unnaturally cold. Is it possible for frostbite to seep through your cheek to the inside of your mouth?
  • Why have those girls passed me four times? Seriously they must be cutting through the park somewhere. Is there a shortcut? Maybe I should ask if there’s a shortcut.

At first, I thought I was completely alone, until I heard quiet crunching behind me. I turned to see a jolly, middle-aged man approaching. He smiled gleefully, waving as he passed.photo 1

“Good morning!” He beamed. This was the first .002 mile of my run, so I was also pretty chipper. I waved back enthusiastically as he sprinted far ahead of me. Soon he was a small black dot bobbing in the shadowy distance.

I relied heavily on Happy Guy’s footsteps in the thick snow, often stepping directly inside of them.

But suddenly my guide’s tracks disappeared.

I looked up for the first time in probably a mile and a half. Through the icy sleet, Happy Guy materialized on the road next to me, falling in tandem with my step.

“Doing okay?” He beamed. Isn’t that smile starting to hurt? Maybe the cold froze it like that. I gave a significantly less excited thumbs-up, and he took off once more.

Oh my god, he’s a murderer. This is it. He’s going to be waiting behind some tree. Oh god, this is it.

Tip: taking a shadow picture is a good excuse to stop running.

Tip: taking a lame shadow picture is a good excuse to stop running.

When I wasn’t murdered, another idea struck me: wait, maybe he was looking out for me? Maybe he wanted to make sure that I was okay. The thought of such a selfless act of human kindness warmed my heart enough to get me through the next mile.

Then I decided again that, no, he was probably just a serial killer.

Morning runs suck. The cold sucks. Running sucks. Mornings suck. If you do this, you might look as pathetic, feel as terrible, and suffer the same symptoms of hypothermia that I did.

An upside though: if you start the day by dropping an anvil on your head, you barely even feel the stones that get thrown at you later on. If you manage to avoid falling in a snowbank, losing a limb, and getting abducted by overenthusiastic psychopaths – all before the sky lightens, and the normal people wake up – you will feel remarkably unstoppable.

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