Amy and I shrug into our water hydration packs and set off down the dirt road, having just dropped our children off at school. We meet every Wednesday morning to run together, sharing our joys and heartaches as we run alongside the gentle Pacolet river as it gurgles beneath birches, maples, tulip poplar and oak trees. This morning a cool mist envelops us making it difficult to see more than a couple hundred feet ahead. We run around the bend and stop, taking in the family of deer slowly crossing the country backroad ahead of us. It’s one of those magical moments. I feel a kinship with the brown doe ahead of me, her ears perked forward watching and asking me if I am friend or foe. We are both creatures of the mist, alive for this brief and yet eternal moment, reveling in our companionship and nurtured by nature’s bounty on this early Wednesday morning. For Amy and I, these runs are therapeutic, leaving our worries behind us and embracing the peace that exercise and friendship bring. Exercise first thing in the morning increases my metabolism, helping my body burn more calories and clearing my focus for the rest of the day. It also increases my natural endorphins that combat pain and anxiety, giving me energy to embrace my day. We finish our run with a few minutes of stretching and a hug, already looking forward to next Wednesday.