…stays in the dark.
I have a love-hate relationship with getting up between 4:45am and 5am to start working out at 5:30am in the winter. It feels like the middle of the night…because it is. It’s cold, dark, and quiet. When the world is cold, dark, and quiet I should be snuggled under a blanket drinking coffee and thinking big thoughts by myself -not sweating. But the past few months I’ve learned that if a run or a swim or CrossFit or a trip to the Y doesn’t happen at 5:30am, then it doesn’t happen at all during the week even when setting the best intentions. I’ve been able to slowly ease into early morning workouts; it really helped to start the routine in the summer when the sun was already shining by the time I left the house. That definitely helped to normalize the idea of being awake and active at such an early time. Scraping ice off of the windshield at 5:20am in 17 degrees does not feel good or normal. It also helped to start with one day a week and then slowly build up. This week I was able to add a 3rd ass o’clock in the morning workout, which is monumental.
It helps that I adore waking up to the “Fidelians” at the box and Mama D (and Mama E when she meets us at the pool). It’s like a little bonus “happy hour” in the day. I really can’t think of a better way to start the day off. Giggling, sweating, making inappropriate jokes, high-fiving, and solving the world’s problems with some of my favorite people are what I love about these early mornings.
The hates? I reaaaaaallllyyyy have a hard time getting my feet on the floor in the morning. My muscles are cold and tight and my brain is barely functioning. I have to be extra super organized the night before and have all of my gear out and ready to go (I confess – I will sleep in my workout clothes to eliminate that step which buys me one snooze). I’m really tired by 7pm, but the evening is in full swing by that point so there’s no going to bed unless I accidentally fall asleep on the couch in my regular day clothes. This happened last night after 2 straight days of early morning wake ups. I also wish my schedule was more flexible so I could train with my other fellow Mamas that I fancy so much, especially Mama C. Sometimes those things drag me down.
All that said, the sheer genius of exercising in the dark is that what happens in the dark truly does stay in the dark. Take the Disney races, for example. For the 10K, we were running by 5:31am and finished in an hour. We had the entire day to play but had already finished something so big. On a regular day, by the time it’s 7am and I’ve checked my work email once while sipping on a fresh cup of coffee, I’ve already forgotten that I can check off the box in front of “exercise” on my to do list. By lunch time I question if my workout ever happened or if I had just imagined it. When I feel stressed out by all of life at dinner time and I swear that workout never happened, I can remind myself that I did actually accomplished something today. It’s a beautiful thing.
I’m guessing that I’ll always have a love-hate relationship with early morning training. I have to admit, it used to be more hate but now it’s definitely more love.