5 Mile Monday: 7am Heartache in Central Park

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…

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…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…

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…and this.

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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.

Hello, sunrise.

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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.

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(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.

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(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.

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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.

Anyway.

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.

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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? 
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10 thoughts on “5 Mile Monday: 7am Heartache in Central Park

  1. Isn’t it awesome when you go out for a run just in time to catch the sunrise though? Those are some great runs… Personally, I have a really tough time getting out of bed to hit them, but I always end up feeling great afterward.

    • I almost feel like I’m in some limbo time of the morning when the sun has pretty much already come up, but it’s still early. Maybe I need to shoot for the super, insane early run as the sun is really rising. I rarely get those anymore. Now THAT takes me back to when I first moved home! Though this morning, while the sun was somewhat up, it was crazy bright red.

  2. HATE cabs in the Park!! And cars in general. They honestly scare me because I’ve read way too many stats on how many pedestrians are harmed in NYC every year.

    I think patience is definitely key, but I’ve recently started doing two things that helped (then went on break so now I’m not doing them as much!). Chug a glass of water that you have on your bedside table to get your body processes working. Keep your alarm on the other side of the room so you have to get up to turn it off. Since my phone is my alarm, it also kept me from reading email and stuff before bedtime, which makes for better sleep!

    • Isn’t it scary! Get off my turf, automobiles.

      I have been keeping my phone away from my bed, more because it’s easier to plug it in to and out of the outlet, but hey, it’s a start! As for the water, I hate water. I need to start keeping citrus water around. But for now, maybe I’ll try chugging a…sip? I imagine this is healthy. Thanks for the tips 🙂

  3. Morning runs can be so rewarding when they’re over, but I agree that getting your butt outta bed can be rough! I take an extra 40 minutes or so to eat something small with a cup of coffee before I step out around 6:30. Yep, early. Which is why I’m commenting right now at 5:43. Haha.

    • I used to do that, but I just don’t have 5:30 in me anymore unless it’s for a specific class or workout. I’ve become lazy! Sometimes when I’m running though, I wish I’ve had a little coffee and a few almonds. That’s what I used to do, and it obviously helped.

  4. That is the best song! I saw you post about it on your blog a few weeks ago and I actually ran to it and used it in my Spin class and everyone loved it! Thanks! 🙂

    • That is awesome! I’m obsessed. It’s makes me do whatever I’m doing better. So glad I can contribute…and that kind of makes me want to spin!

  5. Love the last picture! That would make waking up at the crack of dawn worth it! I miss my morning runs. I have all sorts of big-girl responsibilities like dogs, and houses, and kids and stuff and I would kill for a morning “freedom” run. Now I usually try to fit in my runs between all the above responsibilities and I am usually being chased by racoons or getting dive-bombed by bats. Take it while you can I say. In about ten years when I can sneak out when my kiddies are older, I’ll be lacing up and grabbing my cane and walker. Oh $hit I hope not. Anyways the point being is if you think about not being able to get out there in the morning, it may be a whole lot easier to Just Do It! When I had the time, I took those mornings for granted. Just sayin… Have fun!

    • I totally know what you mean. The whole “don’t know what you got til it’s gone” mentality. I plan on another 5 years before I have to worry about any other bebes besides my nieces and nephews 🙂

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