Monday, March 14, 2016

A non morning person's morning run

I. Hate. Mornings. This is not a big secret for anyone who has ever been around me first thing in the morning.  I am not fit company until I have had a cup of coffee. Like, you may get a unintelligible "morning" grunt from me, but usually I am going to just give you a good glare on my way to the kitchen to get my caffeine. Dark coffee, no sugar, no cream  Even as a small child I hated mornings and couldn't function. I remember my mom would to try to wake me up half a dozen times before she would get so fed up that I wouldn't wake up that she would toss a glass of cold water on me to get me out of bed.

I. Really. Hate. Mornings
So when people talked about how much they loved getting up at 5 am to run, how great it was to start the day that way, I thought they were crazy, loco, kooky! I mean, why would any sane person want to lose the ability to sleep a few more hours? That is just ridiculous!
THEN, last summer happened. 
See I was training for my first 100k, so I was running a lot of miles. And it was HOT and HUMID! I do hot and humid about as well as I do mornings. Not at all. I actually get very sick when I run in the heat, so when my running partners invited me to join them on their 5 am runs, I reluctantly agreed. This was especially a tough decision as I don't work in the summers, so I am able to sleep as late as I like. Therefore, voluntarily getting up at 5am, or before, is basically a small miracle. Now, when I first started running with them that early, I wasn't a huge fan. My body just doesn't get up and moving that fast, and being a non-morning person meant I would wake up 10 minutes before our meeting time, so I really only had time for a half cup of coffee before I had to head out the door. It was a summer of slow, grouchy miles.

That entire summer I stated, "This is only going to be for the summer". And then the in-explainable happened.... I started to enjoy running in the morning. Hold up, Pump the brakes, How the hell did this happen? I hate mornings! How am I enjoying morning running? Maybe I've lost my mind. Then fall hit. And I realized that I really liked starting my week off with a run, I actually looked forward to it. Something about starting a work week off with something that I love, something that relaxes me. So I kept running in the morning. Every Monday and Tuesday I would be out with my headlamp and blinky lights getting in the miles.

Then came winter. Winter is the perfect time to stay snuggled in bed under all the blankets. It's all cold and icy outside and my bed is all warm and comfy.... And I still got up, bundled up, and got my miles in.

I was becoming that crazy, loco person who loved morning running. Who talked about morning running and tried to convince other people how great it is. I started finding other morning runners to run with in my neighborhood. The final moment of transformation into full out morning runner hit this winter when my main morning run partner started working from home, so she started running later. I still needed to be out the door by 5:20, so that meant I either had to run by myself or run after work. By this point we were doing high mileage with speed work and hill repeats in the morning, so that meant doing hard workouts first thing in the morning.  I chose to get up and run by myself, and I LIKED IT! I liked the peace and quiet of the morning. No traffic, very few people, just me and the road.

Now something else has happened in this transition to morning runner, well two things actually. The first is I have gone from not being able to pick up speed in the morning to being able to jump right out of bed (because I STILL get up 10 minutes before meeting time) and hit some fast paces. The second is that I have become less of a non-morning person. I will probably never be the type who wakes up all perky and happy, but I am at least no longer a danger to be around when I first wake up, and even wake up early when my alarm isn't set.

So I guess the moral of this story is Never Say Never. And for those you of you who are firmly in the I. Hate. Mornings. Camp, well give it a shot. It takes a little while, but you may find yourself liking morning running. If nothing else, it frees up your time for other activities in the evening. :-)

So as I sit and drink my morning coffee, I wish you Happy Running!

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