Anatomy of an Early Morning Run:
Alarm goes off at 4:45 am. You have to snooze it twice to be able to convince yourself that you have to get up and run if you am going to run (not walk) across the finish line in Boston. Even though you rationalized in my brain what time to set the alarm the night before, you still have this little mental battle at o-dark-thirty. Tonight you have to submit two documents for your Master's and you have seriously procrastinated. You will have to stay after school to tutor the kiddos, as well as make lesson plans and an assessment. You know that if you don't run now, today's run does not happen. Finally, you get out of bed.
Of course, you did not have the foresight the night before to situate keys/headphones/water bottle/shoes so you can sneak out of the house without disturbing anyone. Even if you did, you are sure they would get moved around after you went to bed or the cats would haul them off in the night (they like to do that with headphones and then chew through the wires. Little angels). Once you rattle the entire house looking for my keys, you give up on the headphones and settle for lip-reading the morning news. Entertaining when you are trying creatively to make a treadmill session fun in the afternoon. Not so entertaining at 5am when you just don't give a....
Already it is 5:15 am, and you know you have to be in the shower by 6:00 am if you are going to be ready in time to get to work, make copies, update the whiteboards, blah blah blah. So, warm-ups and stretching are cut short. You know this is probably where the morning workout goes to hell, but you can't get there any faster or wake-up any earlier. You have to make the training schedule!!!!! So you do a little jog without stretching, because, after all, it's only 3 miles, right? No big deal?
The Big Deal
Ok, after a quarter of a mile of jogging, you try to step it up and get your run on. At first it feels absurdly fast, even though you usually start at the same pace when you run in the afternoons. You can kinda feel your feet going off the back of the treadmill, and hustle the pace because you don't want this morning to be the first time you fall off the treadmill. Talk about ruining the rest of your day!
Then the intestinal system wakes up. You feel sick. Time to run to the bathroom. Get back on. Run another three quarter miles. Run to the bathroom. Continue in this pattern until it is 10 after 6, you still haven't run your full 3 miles, and know you are going to be late for work. But at least you didn't fall off the treadmill.
Rush through the shower process, throw your hair up wet so you look like a sick gremlin. Manage some make-up, grab a protein shake for breakfast, throw together a lunch so you don't have to eat what the kids eat, and then rush out the door. As you wait for the car to defrost because it is covered in a sheet of ice, puke in the parking lot. You didn't need that protein shake anyways.
The Deal Breaker
In the staff room, copy room, office, people ask if you are feeling OK. Which you don't because your body has found a new way to punish you for punishing it with a 5 am run. You look terrible. You feel terrible. How are you going to manage 160 high school students in remedial math? This is where you throw in the towel, ask for a sub, and take your sick butt home. After laying fetal with a gurgling belly for 3 hours, you finally can emerge for a meager lunch of toast.
Some people can run in the morning. 5 am is exhilarating for them. Me? I need time to wake up. I can run at 7, after getting up at 6:00 am to eat my toast and go through a wake-up routine. But bed to tread at 5 am? Not for me. So today I put the early morning workouts to rest, thankful that I am almost finished with my Master's and know that early morning runs just aren't necessary. I'd rather run at midnight, thank you very much.
Here's a Rodale artilcle I recently read about morning running, and it sheds more light/supports some of my concerns. Are you an early morning runner? How do you do it? Doesn't it screw up your stomach for the rest of the day? And no, I am not pregnant.