Friday, June 1, 2012

Running at the Crack of Dawn

Sometimes I feel like EVERYONE'S doing it.  Anyone who is anyone runs in the morning, at the crack of dawn.  That shows dedication, a true love of running, the heart of a champion.  Getting out there with the sunrise (or before), running at least 8 hard miles, putting running first, etc.  These are the the signs of an amazing runner.

Did you say crack of dawn or butt crack of dawn?  source
I'm not sure I'll ever be an amazing runner then.  I guess I don't have the heart of a champion.  I would LOVE to be a morning runner.  I've tried a few times, and failed miserably each and every time.  In fact, last week I had it all planned out.  I had messed up my running days for the week (running only every other day can be much more inconvenient than you might think) - I had a tennis match Friday night and then we were headed straight to Portland so running after work wasn't an option.  If I skipped Friday too I'd only have a sad 2 runs that week. 

So I got up early, went outside, and... drum roll please... felt BLAH.  I was not shocked.  I had 2-3 x 1 mile repeats on the agenda, with McMillan telling me I should be doing them in 7:06 (yeah right, I knew there was no chance of this).  I figured 7:30 was more realistic.  Well, after just ONE completed in a whopping 7:57, I had the worst side ache of all time, felt slightly nauseous, and knew this run was over.  I trudged along in complete torture until I hit 3 miles, went home, and called it a day.  Ugh.  Lesson learned.  AGAIN. 

And what is that lesson?  It's that I am just completely and utterly worthless in the morning until I've had a long hot shower, breakfast, and several cups of coffee.  But after this, I am ready to go!  Hello, work, can I please go for a run at 10:00am?  Thanks.  But since this isn't ideal, and since my work doesn't have showers, and since my work isn't in an ideal location for running (JMan has in fact, banned running around my work), a night runner I am (except on the weekends of course, when I can shower / eat / drink coffee BEFORE my run!).  On my few attempts at morning runs (or when evening commitments require it) I usually feel terrible - sluggish and slow and it's COLD in the mornings!  Other days I PLAN on being a morning runner but the snooze button is too tempting and my bed too cozy and luxurious.

I don't want to get up!  I don't know what I'm doing with my life!
What's the point of all this?  Nothing, I just wanted to bore you.  And also let you know that if you feel the same way as I do, it might be normal.  Although some people may just naturally be morning people (or not morning people, like myself), some people claim it IS possible to train your body to get used to certain schedules (I probably just don't want it bad enough!).  Research actually shows that in the afternoon your strength is greater, your endurance is greater, and your chance of injuries lessens, but that morning exercisers are much more consistent in their practice.  The most important key is finding what works best for you so that you actually do RUN (or exercise), no matter the time of day you do it.  Obvious, right?  Well, not to me, I thought there was something wrong with me.  So all hope is not lost for us night runners to still have the heart of a champion (you know about Homestar Runner, right? RIGHT!?)!

Lil Brudder the one-legged puppy, like us, has the heart of a champion
My compromise has been to start taking Cooper on walks in the mornings.  I get some exercise, Cooper gets some exercise, its win-win-win.

When do you run?  Butt-crack of dawn, afternoon, midnight, never?  What's your preference and why?  Do YOU, like Lil Brudder, have a heart of a champion?