It’s always the same. The alarm goes off at 5am, 4am, or even 3am. It’s dark. I’m tired and the bed is warm and cozy. I could just stay in bed. That would feel good. I was having a nice dream…but I don’t. I get up.

The butterflies are in my stomach. I manage to eat some toast and wonder why the hell I do this to myself. It’s not pleasant, you know. It never ends. You can say that it gets easier every time, but it doesn’t. Before one pace seems comfortable, I want to push myself to go faster. Why? I could be sleeping.

I drive in the darkness, or ride a bus, or walk. Eventually, I arrive at some designated point where a bunch of other crazy people like me are converging like zombies in the darkness. If it’s not too early, the sun might actually be rising. That’s nice to watch, but sometimes it’s still pitch black.

Why are we here again? We’ve made a conscious decision to leave the comfort of our beds for 15 minutes, or 30 minutes, or 1 hour, or 5 hours of discomfort. Why do I do this? Am I insane? Is it that the thought of finally running down a tall Kenyan runner in the last 100 m of a marathon race inside a stadium full of 80,000 screaming fans on August 12, 2012 is so strong that it drives me to do this, even though the possibility of that actually happening is less than the chances of being struck by lightning or winning the lottery. Is it that I think I might be able to turn these moments of discomfort into some kind of business success? Am I addicted? Like the smoker or the alcoholic, would I go through some kind of withdrawal if I didn’t do this?

I’m never sure. I don’t know if I’ll ever know for sure why I do this. It always seems so counter-intuitive in the darkness before the sun rises. It seems like such a better option to just get back in bed, hug my wife and fall back asleep. But, I don’t. I always tell myself that once I’m finished, I’ll be happy I did this – and I always am.


  1. I know this is months late but…I do it for the beer I get to drink after…no matter how early it is. It’s Happy Hour SOMEWHERE! Might as well be after I run a race!

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