I just found the best way to get up early and bang out a few miles first thing in the morning: “See you Tuesday.”
On one of the local running groups’ message board, a guy was looking for a running buddy in my area. I messaged that I would be up for a run, even at the ungodly hour of 6 am. I could stand to get up early and run with a new person.
The great thing about meeting someone is that they are expecting you to be there. Thus, you obligate yourself to: go to bed at a reasonable hour, set your alarm, actually wake up when the alarm goes off and drag yourself out of bed, get dressed, and walk out the door.
It can be done!
I set my alarm for 5:10 and went to bed relatively early. I dreamt that I overslept and didn’t show up; I dreamt I was that guy. I awoke from my slumber, unsure of what was going on. I looked at the time. 4:42. Ugh. Just enough time to fall back asleep and then have to wake up. Well, at least I could stay warm for a little while longer.
But not much longer. It seemed like I’d just closed my eyes and the alarm went off. Getting out of bed was the first hurdle. I got ready quickly and was out the door.
Having cleared the two biggest hurdles, I was ready to pat myself on the back. Then I realized how cold and dark it was outside; I shivered and wished I’d worn a jacket. And gloves. And maybe a parka. I was slightly miserable thinking about the warm and cozy bed I’d left behind. Turning on my headlamp only reminded how cold it was – I could now see my breath. I thought to myself, “Why did I agree to this?” and then, “[The other guy] had better show up or I am going to be PISSED! ”
(Note to self: sending a confirmation text the night before would be an effective reminder.)
Once I got moving, and the blood started flowing, I warmed up a bit. See, it’s not that cold. And then hey! I’m awake! This isn’t so bad. Oh and look, a family of deer!
Since I was meeting this guy for the first time, I was neurotic about being on time. I arrived early. I paced around trying to keep moving so I wouldn’t get cold. Looking at my watch in slight annoyance, I wondered, “Where the hell is this guy?!”, despite the fact that it’s still eight till. Why can’t everyone be early?
Then my stomach let me know it was ready to do that thing that I tried unsuccessfully to do earlier. The upside to this notification was it just about guaranteed that the guy would show up, probably at the worst possible time.
My business completed without interruption, (Hallelujah!) a second wave of relief washed over me when a car pulled into the lot. I couldn’t be certain it was the guy I was meeting, but I was sure. How many people go to this park at 6 in the morning? (Actually, there was another runner that ran by earlier.)
“Hey man are you_______? Nice to meet you, I’m_______.”
And then we ran.
* * * *
Depending on the time, you may reap the finest reward of running so doggone early: the “run-rise.” What is it about running and seeing the sunrise that makes you feel so good? Is there some sort of magical chemical reaction between the run and the sun that makes you certain that today is going to be a good day? Is it Vitamin D?
Seeing the sunrise, enjoying the cool morning air, and the satisfaction of knocking out a workout first thing of the day is a great start to any day. If only everyday could start like that… Oh right, it can. You need only four words, “See you next Tuesday. “