aside from the whole dragging myself out of bed early thing, leaving for a run just before dawn is my favorite time.
there's just enough light to be able to see where you're going. the streetlights are still on and buzzing. neighbors are moving in and out, hopping in cars, taking the kids to school. a few of them are walking dogs or having a morning smoke. they always have this look when you run by... kindof a "why on earth would you voluntarily be out this early?" astonished glare.
but then you get into the zone. and it doesn't matter if you're running the neighborhood loop or down the canal trail. you're just running. buzzing streetlights, animals in the bushes, rogue school buses, whatever. they all fade into the background and all that matters is the sound of your Nikes hitting the ground and slow, steady breathing.
the light grows so slowly you don't notice until the sun bursts over the horizon. suddenly there's warmth to the day, maybe only a degree more, but in the light it just feels warm. the sky cheers you on with pink cloud banners and orange beams, and the birds awake in time to call you down the finish.
as many times as I've hit the snooze and pulled the covers back over my head, I've never had a sunrise run disappoint.