I am not an early morning person. Let me make that clear from the outset. Being a morning person at heart is not a requirement to be a Rise Up Runner. There may be other requirements to being a Rise Up Runner such as occasional sleep deprivation or the willingness to ignore your brain when it screams to you to hit the snooze button. But I would not say you have to be a morning person.
I run early because I have to. No, I don’t HAVE to run, but if I want to run, which I do, I NEED to run early. Sure, I could try to squeeze in a run at another time during the day, but it isn’t easy. As a busy dad with three young children and a demanding job, there simply is no better time to run than before everyone else gets up. I should mention too that I love my mornings with the kids. It is the time I get to see them the most. After all, there are days that work keeps me late, and I arrive home after my kids are asleep. Or, there are days when I walk through the door at a decent hour in the evening, and I’m nearly tackled with kids shouting “Daddy’s home! Yeah!” I simply can’t imagine running upstairs, changing into my running gear, then jetting out the door with a shout to my wife and kids “See you in an hour!” It would not be cool.
When I get home, I like to play with the kids, catch up with my wife, and hear what everyone did during the day. Later, there is dinner to make, kids to wash up, bedtime stories to read, etc. I am not willing to give any of those things up. There is something very reassuring to the soul about running at a time that doesn’t take away from my time with the family.
Sure I could squeeze in a run at lunch. Only I can’t. I rarely have much time to swallow a sandwich in three bites, let alone go for an hour long run. Plus, I’d be sweaty and need a shower and a change of clothes and on and on.
So, early morning it is, and I have accepted that. What is strange is that I am starting to love it. If someone had told me a couple of years ago that I would be waking before five in the morning routinely to go for runs, I would have said “You’re joking! I have heard of THOSE types, and I am not that guy!” But I have eased into it. I couldn’t run every day at five since that would hurt my muscles and joints too much, not to mention I’d be chronically sleep deprived. However, I can manage three to four days a week. When I finish an early morning run, I know my exercise day is done. Whatever else happens, I own that run, and nothing can take it back from me. I do not worry about how hectic the rest of the day gets with other commitments. In a sense, I have paid myself first with a run. It was for me and no one else, and yet with early morning running with our group there is a sense of shared experience. The fact that there are others to help me with this challenge of running early, to motivate me to show up at a godforsaken hour in the dark and sometimes in rain and cold, well that… that is what makes it truly special.
So, if any of this sounds familiar, consider joining us. You don’t even need to be a morning person. That is what coffee is for.