My alarm goes off at 4:30am. I open my eyes and it’s just as dark as when they were closed.I feel stiff and I’m well aware of my age, my body is still sore from yesterday’s conditioning. I breathe in through my nose and start to wake up. I put my feet down on the floor, I walk to brush my teeth, I get dressed, I know what I have to do. Driving down the street, my headlights are on, it’s still night in Los Angeles. When I get to Griffith Park, I feel like I know where everything is, even though it’s still dark. The ground and sand feel wet, the air smells crisp, I’m more awake now and ready to make the decision, “why am I here? I’m here to make a difference!”
I take the first step of my run, after about 2 minutes in… I feel invincible. The world wakes up around me and I hear everything come to life. After the first mile, dawn appears. “The world belongs to the one who rises first,” my mom used to say and I feel proud. 23 years ago, this is the hour Eddie would have me running.
Everyone does things in different ways, there are so many ways to approach things these days, but old school works best for me. I’ve tried doing my run at other times in the morning or afternoon but 23 years ago, 4:30am is when I’d wake up.
Eddie used to call me in the morning after I was done with my run. He would ask if I was up even though I could hear he was still in bed. I would smile, “Eddie, I’m done with the run.” “Oh… Ok.. good, see you at the gym later.” I always liked that Eddie was an old school guy. When I’m running like I used to, I feel like Eddie is with me. I visualize the fight and it seems possible.
Two weeks ago, I was really struggling with whether or not I could do this. I was sparring and I didn’t think I could do this. So I decided to start running again. And everyday when I run, I know I am getting closer to my goal. Getting healthier, better stamina, stronger in the ring and smaller in the waist.
I’m running now with another boxer and once a week, I run with a runners group in Santa Monica. I can’t let them down, I know someone is waiting for me in the morning. I’m planning to travel again soon and I have to know I’m not going to let myself down. I need to know that I can wake up and run, no matter where I am. I’m proud of myself and I’m inspired after my runs, I feel like I’m at my mental and physical best.