Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 321 - Morning Runs Suck

I used to like early morning runs. I was stupid. And my parts were still under warranty.

Ok, sure, it's great to get the run in, to have the rest of the day to feel superior, but damn... at a steep price.

When I wake up in the morning, my body feels like General Grievous has spent the night working me over with 4 baseball bats.

With each step my joints pop like popcorn and broken twigs. When I manage to get upright enough to stretch, my back snaps like breaking bamboo.

Today, I had to. Only way it was going to happen was in the morning. The run was mercifully short, and it turned out ok in the end, but going from decrepit to running in 20 minutes isn't easy.

Here's a step-by-step for surviving an early morning run...

Step 1: Move(1) - Sounds obvious, but lots of people put on their running duds as soon as they roll out of bed and hit the roads, still picking the crusties from the corners of their eyes. Give yourself a few minutes to shake off the cobwebs, walk around the house, let the dog out, but keep an eye on her because she'll jump the fen... DAMMIT, DIDN'T I SAY KEEP AN EYE ON HER! Geez, now she's... [exasperated sigh...] I'll be back in a few minutes... try not to lose any more members of the household until I get back...

Ok, found her in the back cul de sac snacking on a diaper... where was I?

Step 2: Water - You've spent the last 8 hours or so dehydrating. Drink some water... a big-ass glass. It will also help you with Step 4. As will a little coffee, if you are into that kinda thing.

Step 3: Warm - Spend a few minutes doing some light stretching. You need to get some blood flowing through those muscles that have been binding up all night. You don't want the first time they stretch out and flex to be the first step of your run. They don't like that and they might rebel... by rupturing.

Step 4: Move(2) - I don't want to talk about this anymore than you want to hear about it. Still, fact of life... you don't want Mother Nature to come a-knocking at the back door when you're on the road. Trust me. Newton's first law of motion works against you, and your sphincter muscles, if you take last night's lasagna with you on the run. Take care of business and you'll have a more pleasant run. And you'll be just that much lighter, too, which will help your pace.

Step 5: Dress - This time of year, early means dark. Make sure you can be seen. Wear something reflective. I can't afford to lose any readers. And your family might miss you. Also, you should dress to be a little chilly the first 5-10 minutes. That way, when you warm up, you aren't peeling layers. Or filling them with sweat.

Step 6: Easy - Start really slow. No, reeeealy slow. Slower... slower... there. All that stretching and warm-up stuff from Step 3 just got you to the runway. You aren't ready for cruising speed yet. You'll get there, and sooner than you think. You'll think that you're going to die before you make it from stumble up to a respectable speed, but you won't. You might wish you could, but you won't. Unless you have a heart condition, or get hit by a car because you didn't read Step 5.

Step 7: Enjoy - The early morning means virtually no traffic. You'll see neighbors you've never seen before, fetching the paper, walking their dog, taking out the trash, or just getting home, still wearing the same clothes as last night, if you know what I mean. While you're out, the world will start to come to life. Lights will flick on and the sky will start to lighten. And you were there to see it, instead of surfing the snooze button, again.

Hopefully these will make your morning run suck less. Even if they don't, you'll still feel better after the run than you did before, and you can sport your post-run after-glow all day long.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.6 miles, a warm-up for my supreme punishment stretching appointment. Hi Kathy!