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Monday, March 7, 2011

By Dawn

The snooze button is alternately a wonderful and an evil invention.

I'm sure there are many people for whom the snooze button is actually a lifesaver. Sometimes the alarm comes in the deepest part of your sleep cycle, and there is just no way that you can actually get moving when it goes off. Your arm shoots out from under the covers in the general direction of the offending noise, and blindly searches for any button to make it stop. Eventually, some combination of finger movements brings the blessed silence, and the world is wonderful again.

Were it not for the snooze button, this story might end with you waking up three hours later to find yourself two hours late for work. But no, Snooze has your back. Nine minutes later (or five, in the case of my cell phone alarm), the little guy tries again, and most likely you're a little more roused. It might take a couple tries, but eventually, it's going to wake you up.

My problem is that when my alarm goes off, I know I've got options. I can get up, or I can snooze. Or maybe, I can just turn the thing off altogether. Time flies when you're half asleep, and before I know it, I've snoozed away the 90 minutes I gave myself to get out of bed and go for a run. 

But not today. Today, I heard the alarm and shut it off right away. No snooze button. Why? Because I knew I was going to get out of bed on time. I knew I was starting this week off correctly. In about five minutes or so... make that ten... okay, SERIOUSLY! At which point I got out of bed, 30 minutes later than intended, but still very early by my standards. I suited up, threw on a jacket, given the chill in the air, and I was out the door.

There's another person who does morning runs in our apartment complex who became a sort of Monday morning nemesis of mine. Regardless of what time I actually made it out the door to head to our gym, he always seemed to be just starting his treadmill run when I got there. However, my new commitment to running outdoors as much as possible meant that I didn't need the equipment today. Still, I checked to see if he was there when I walked by. He was. On the elliptical. Of course.

It turns out my legs can build up a lot of rust in just a couple days. After about a mile, I started to loosen up, but I still had some kinks. It was then that I remembered the glucosamine supplements that I'd spent all that money on and hadn't been taking. I mentally put it on the list of things to do when I got home. 

It's tough for three miles to be an eventful run, especially that early in the morning. I guess the highlights were the fact that there were two different trucks parked on the sidewalk that forced me to run in the street, mostly dealing with the aftermath of yesterday's kite festival in Zilker Park. I always get a little sad running through a park where there has been a big event and looking at all the trash that people couldn't be bothered to take with them. Thinking this, I then passed the impossibly overflowing trash cans, and I felt a little better. At least people tried. Note to city, quadruple the trash cans next year. Also, don't park your cars on sidewalks. It's inconvenient.

My runs are going smoothly, save the occasional pains. I had hoped that Friday's painless five and an extra day off would work wonders, but I think instead that I might have reverted back a couple steps by leaving my muscles too inactive. I'm not going to worry too much over one missed run 16 weeks from the marathon, but I won't be missing another.

Discipline and motivation are the two keys to everything I'm doing now. The discipline to get up in the morning and get my run completed is step one. It means that I'm using my time more efficiently. It means that my body gets on a schedule and that I feel more rested day-to-day. Everything becomes more clear when I'm done with my run before the sun comes up.

And once summer gets here, that could be a matter of life and death. I got my first little tiny taste of Texas humidity last week and it was at about 10% of where it will be in a couple short months. If I start the habit now, I'll be in full swing by the time it's impossible to run after 8 am. This is my motivation. The earlier I'm up, the earlier I'm done. I won't have to deal with snooze buttons, summer heat, or traffic lights (mostly).

And probably not trucks on the sidewalk, either.

Today's Run:
48 Degrees / Cloudy
3.3 Miles
23 Minutes, 22 Seconds

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