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Monday, January 30, 2012

Arm's Reach

Have I found the missing piece to solve my waking up issue?

Could it really be as simple as combining newly determined musical tendencies with old, established tricks of the trade? Time will tell, but this morning, I successfully rolled out of bed with time to run, stretch, and even do some of that yoga the kids are all talking about. And what was the change that made it all possible? I moved my alarm out of arm's reach.

By shifting my bedside table a few feet away to the left, I ensured that, when I heard Sublime begin their unintelligible conversations from my alarm app, I would have to leave the comfort of the bed to turn it off. Once on my feet, it's much easier to convince myself to move to the bathroom and start the day.

I realized, around mile two, exactly what I want my challenge to be for the month of February. Now that I know I can run consistently and hydrate adequately, the next step in ordering my life is making time for everything that I want to do, running included. Obviously, there are only so many hours in the day, but when you're sleeping for nearly half of them, you're just wasting time. My challenge to myself for the month of February will be to wake up between 6:00 and 6:30 every day.

And I don't just mean on weekdays. I've heard that it takes 21-28 consecutive days of doing something to build it into your body as a habit, and if I sleep in two out of every five days, I don't expect it will have the same effect. No, I'll get up early every day and get my run out of the way. Benefits are expected on several fronts:

1) When it comes time to actually race, I'll be used to getting up at absurd hours of the morning.

2) I'm always better when I've had a workout in the morning to jump-start my brain.

3) Sleeping too much causes lethargy, which, in turn, makes you want to sleep more. I'm breaking the cycle.

Finally, I'll just have more time. I'll be able to read or write or practice guitar. Any of those "if I were rich" activities that I wanted to pursue can be mine. Step one is getting to bed on time. Step two is waking up. I don't expect it to be very complicated.

However, I also don't expect it to be easy. I'm 27 hours from the end of my water month, so I know I've developed some discipline, but in my opinion, challenges are much easier when they involve not doing something. A personal goal that involves positive action is much more difficult, so I'll probably have to motivate myself with some sort of prize, like dropping $3 in a fun jar every time I succeed, and taking $5 out every time I fail. At the end of the month, I'll use the cash for something fun and irresponsible.

This is something I've tried in the past, but I never really defined the parameters of the challenge. Perhaps if I can go the month, I'll get up that early for the rest of my life. Or maybe, I'll be completely exhausted and sleep the entire day of March 1st. Either way, I know I can do this. Success is within my reach.

Just as long as my alarm isn't.

Monday's Run:
5.15 Miles
10 Minute Yoga Basics

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