Even when I was setting my alarm for 5am, as I first graduated college and was still living at my parent’s house and commuting to the city…
…and even over the last three years, with a commute that was under an hour, I have never had trouble waking up in the morning to run. Ever.
Then, I found myself with a few weeks of freedom while I was in between jobs recently. Although I was still waking up at the ass-crack of dawn (old age, I suppose), I didn’t have to jump straight out of bed and into my sneakers; I could wake up on my own and slowly run out the door. And that’s exactly what I did.
So you can imagine the physical shock of Monday morning, my first morning back to the office in more than a month. For the last month, I’ve been doing this…
My alarm went off at 7am on Monday morning, which is actually the same time I’d been waking up over the last few weeks anyway. Isn’t it weird, though, how when you have to get up, it’s always more difficult? It must be a mental thing.
At any rate, I didn’t allow myself to lay in bed wasting time. As in the past, it was up and at ’em within 15 minutes. Teeth brushed. Face washed. Under Armour on. Sneakers laced.
These were my first five miles before 7:30am in a long, long time, and I had almost allowed myself to forget how challenging they can be. No food in the belly. No coffee in the blood. There was a big part of me that was incredibly happy to be out there eating pavement for breakfast, blasting music through my headphones, allowing the crisp morning air to wake me from my slumber. But then again, there was also an equally big part of me that would have been totally cool with climbing back into bed and pulling the covers over my head.
(No, I did not take this picture willingly. Aren’t I a doll? You’re welcome for sharing.)
While the first mile up to Central Park was a bit of a struggle, I have to say, by the time I crossed the threshold into that cherished place I call home, I was back and ready for action. Maybe it was that I’d warmed up. Maybe it was the mild air. And maybe it was this song blasting through my headphones.
(Nudity! Click to hear. Trust me. Then run to it. Amazingness.)
Regardless, I was happy to be out there, pushing my body much harder than I’ve had to in quite some time. Running can often feel effortless when you’ve been doing it almost robotically for so long, but at the very same time, it’s amazing how quickly you can forget. The morning elements were working against me, and although the route was nothing I’d never encountered before, things like “exhaustion” and “lack of food” felt strange and unnatural.
The first hill into Central Park should have been the worst, but actually, I think I was so happy to be there that I wound up spacing out completely. Before I knew it, I was entering the main section of the lower loop.
Unfortunately, cabs were allowed in early on Monday morning — major disappointment. I know that the park has made serious efforts in recent months to make the lower loop safer for runners and cyclists, but even though they reduced the car lanes to one, the psychotic cab drivers of New York City still seem to race around without any regard for the people on feet — you know, the ones that could actually be injured in the event of a collision.
By the time I finished my mental rant, I found myself at the final vertical incline of the lower loop. Usually by this point, my body is warmed up and I’m amped and ready to crush it. On Monday, I just wasn’t. I made it, but I was definitely dragging my feet. I think the first half of the lower loop took it all out of me yesterday.
By the time I got home, I was pooped. Water (you don’t want to be dehydrated on your first day of work, Stacy). Coffee. Shower. Blow dry hair (all part of my stop-looking-homeless New Year’s resolution).
As always, I was — and am — grateful to get back to my daily routine. I just hope it gets easier from here. I suppose, I know it will.
- Do you equate running to your morning coffee or brushing your teeth?
- Any tips on how to make it easier to get up in the morning? Is the only answer patience?
- Thoughts on cabs in Central Park?