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Anatomy of a Morning Run

Not my bed, my husband or my clock. But love the idea.

4:45: Up to pee. Dang it that it's less than an hour until 5:30. Should I turn off the alarm? Uh-uh. Should I just go now? Definitely not.

5:30: Slam alarm.

5:35: No, no, no.

5:40: Really no. When else can I run today? After school drop-off? Lunch? Before school pick-up? Should I just skip it? I should just skip it. But I'm awake. Mostly. So if I skip it, I'll just lie here and dwell on the fact that I'm not running.

5:45: Fine. Take your own stupid advice: don't think, just go. Pee again, clothes on, shoes on, banana down the hatch, gloves and hat on.

5:47: O.k. this isn't so bad. Not as cold out as I thought it was.

5:52: Wait, it's only been five minutes?

5:54: See Freakshow Man wearing, among other odd things, snowpants on park path. We're both facing the same direction. Pretend like I don't see him.

5:56: Execute poor farmer's blow. Spot lines of snot all over my black tights and gloves.

5:57: Only ten minutes?

5:59: Is the mud on this path clinging to the soles of my shoes? Because my legs feel really heavy.

6:01: Opt for cement path. It wasn't the mud.

6:02: I will not look at my watch until I reach that turn. I will not look at my watch until I reach that turn.

6:03: Look at watch.

6:04:40: Reach turn.

6:07: Halfway! I'm halfway done! All downhill from here!

6:08: Not really. Holy hill. I will not walk. I will not walk. I'd be faster walking, but I will not walk.

6:08:45: Did you hear me? I will not walk.

6:09: Legs and lungs exhale as we all reach level ground.

6:09:10: Sweet, sweet downhill. Oh, how I love you downhill. Oh, how I love you running.

6:10: Sun starts to peak up over the trees. Sky is a blend of pink and orange and lovely. Oh, how I love you sun and sky.

6:12: Pass Freakshow Man face to face. He smiles kindly and says, "Haven't seen you in a while out here." Oh, how I love you Freakshow Man. And I'm sorry I called you that.

6:15: Must pass eight parked cars on gradual uphill before I can walk.

6:16: Pass seventh parked car.

6:16:01: Close enough. Walk.

6:20: Seven minutes left is nothing. It's just 7/40th's. And no, I can't reduce that fraction any more.

6:19: I will run until I get three mailboxes away from my own.

6:20: I will run until I get two mailboxes away from my own.

6:21: Three mailboxes.

6:23: Two mailboxes.

6:24: Is the pace I'm running now even a speed?

6:25: Five mailboxes.

6:27: Make it to two mailboxes. Victory.

6:28: Stretch calves on front step: one minute on each leg. Take deep breaths as my muscles lengthen and my euphoria grows. Forty minutes in the can for my legs, lungs and spirit. Forty minutes that I'll never regret.

6:30: Walk in the door. Answer "Great!"β€”and mean itβ€”when Grant asks me how my run was.

Sound familiar? What timeline tidbit of your own comes from a recent run?Β 

57 responses to “Anatomy of a Morning Run

  1. Love it. I have a nine month old and usually it is more like he wakes up to nurse at 4:45 and then the debate is, do I go back to sleep for anotehr 15 minutes? And if I do will I really get up again?

  2. That is me on so many mornings – the sleep part. And I do always regret not going. Monday was a great example, had not planned to meet anyone and just did not feel it, then wished I had done that speed work I was slated to do. Went today to make it up and from mile .5 to 1.5 kept saying I was going to go back to car because my shins hurt, then mile 2, was feeling good, even tried to change my stride (I so heel stomp it too much) and was slightly optimistic. Mile 3 was like, so easy and breezy I was so glad I did not quit. Mile 5, heading to 5.25, I was planning to walk, spit and had half of it still hanging out my mouth as I batted it away, and spied a non running friend waving from her car which energized me to keep running and say a little prayer that my totally ungraceful spit was not obvious from a distance. Arrived at mile 6, stopped my watch, but decided to keep running the 1/4 mile to my car feeling great that a 6 miler was in the can, I was heading home to shower, and there would be no guilt in downing a glass or two of wine tonight.

  3. Thank you. I’m not alone in these thoughts. I’m normal!! I’m normal!! These thoughts go through me head A LOT!!!!!!

  4. I LOVE this! It absolutely captures the daily battle! I will be so glad when it is light out at 5am and maybe the thought of running when my body wakes up will be more practical. Thanks for sharing that the battle never gets easier to get out the door, but that it is ALWAYS worth it!

  5. 6:00 – at “my” stop sign for a bit of stretching
    6:02 – come up, keep going, this is a short hill
    6:05 – hop over railroad tracks, don’t trip, idjit
    6:07 – come on, this is long slog, you go can do it, no, yes, no, no, yes, no, shut up and run
    6:10 – there’s my fire hydrant, thank goodness, almost done with the long slog
    6:13 – drat, no traffic at the big road
    6:15 – up, down, up down, curb, curb, up down, curb, don’t trip
    6:16 – say hello to lady with dog (why does she think she needs to get so far off the sidewalk?)
    6:17 – intersection ahead! am I adding in the loop or heading straight back? loop? back?
    6:18 – yes, I am doing the loop!
    6:20 – wow, I’ve never gotten this far by 20 minutes!
    6:23 – back to the main road
    6:24 – up, down, up down, curb, curb, up down, curb, don’t trip
    6:26 – lady with the dog is talking to guy at the bus stop, say hi; drat, still no traffic
    6:30 – ah, long downhill
    6:33 – dodge twice onto grass to dodge traffic
    6:34 – hop over railroad track, don’t trip idjit!
    6:35- yikes! 3 cars in a row
    6: 38 – wow, how the heck did I get here? I’m almost done
    6:39 – hrm, end of usual route, and not yet to 40 minutes, head back to my stopsign, still running
    6:40 – holy crap! I actually ran for 40 minutes straight! and a pace under 11 minutes

    (I’m, uh, kind of proud of myself….)

  6. I SO do the fraction thing! haha! And unfortunately, I did not get up early enough and then it was raining (HARD) when I was planning to run with my littlest in his stroller so I waited. Now the hubs is at the Blazer game and I will be heading to the gym to run when he gets home. Argh! Tomorrow I’ll do what you do and get up EARLY!!! Love your blog. πŸ™‚

  7. 7:30 6 miles, let’s go
    7:31 oh I won’t make it.
    7:32 stupid 14 miles yesterday.
    7:33 stupid lunges before coming here.
    7:40 oh dear.
    7:41 I won’t go under 5.5
    7:41:30 push 5.0
    7:45 pretty sure my thigh is going to burst
    7:46 :'(
    7:52 finished. yuck.

  8. Night before : ok, I will set the run alarm, but I give me self permission to rest.
    430: no I will not get up, 30 miles last week says it is ok to rest
    432: why can’t I sleep?
    439:stupid snooze alarm. Punch off. What is breathing on me? Oh no, the dog heard the alarm “no, Salsa, I will no go running today”
    440: whining, really, are you guilting me into this?
    445: out the door, leash in hand.
    530: good girl, you made mama do it again, ready to face the day? Oh yeah, you are spending the rest of the day laying in a patch of warm sun;-) who can’t face that?

  9. LOVE this post!!! I’ve been running on days when I work from home at lunchtime (it’s the WARMEST part of the day!!!), but now that spring is around the corner, this will be me in the morning….TOTALLY!

  10. I NEVER run in the early am,but this inner head dialog sure sounds familiar. I guess we all go through the same if we run at 6 am, noon or 8pm…. I definitely feel part of the village! Nice post Dim!

  11. So funny! I play games with myself all the time, especially on the treadmill. “I will not look at the time/distance until this song is over.” I love reading all of these in-our-head commentaries!

  12. So very true – all of it. I’m going to remember this when my alarm goes off at 4:30 tomorrow morning for me to go on my first run in a very long time. It’s been on hold during the winter as I became a ski instructor at our local hill this year and it’s made me so tired I couldn’t do the early mornings. Well, ski hill is now closed so no more excuses. Back into it tomorrow.

  13. I definitely need to look at this every morning as those same thoughts go through my head! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Thank you! I’m so glad to know that even experienced runners have inner monologues similar to my own novice one. My entire jalk (jog+walk) this morning was a continuous, “I think I’ll just head home. I’m not in the mood for this. No, keep at it!” until I hit the two mile mark just outside my front door. Then it was a relieved but exuberant, “Yes! I’m done, I did it! That wasn’t so bad.”

    It’s nice to know I’m not alone. If y’all can do it, I can too! πŸ™‚

  15. I always do the mailbox or driveway or stop sign count down (and inevitably also make it to less than what I said!!). Thanks for your honesty and letting us less experienced runners know that all this mind-game head chatter is completely normal!! πŸ™‚

  16. It makes me so happy to read this blog. I am a runner (man that is hard to say) that has never done more than a 5k. To hear that experienced marathon runners still think the same things as me gives me some relief. I guess I should not be so hard on myself and realize no matter what your level, there are still struggles. Just got back from a 25 min run and the whole time I thought of you saying the same things in your mind and it made it easier. πŸ™‚

  17. This morning’s run dialogue featured an argument with my new iPod Touch, sort of along the lines of “Damnit, no, I wanted to turn the volume UP…..wait, no not that song….crap, now I have to walk to fool with this shoulda just taken the old iPod much simpler….ok jogging again…..wow, ouch, turn it down turn it down….crap…..”

  18. Oh loved this. My timeline from Saturday’s 3 miler – my longest in months – can be divided into a beginning of the run and end of the run:
    Beginning of the run: “does it hurt? I don’t feel anything. That’s good. That’s not my hip is it? No nothing hurts, this is good.. Why am I so winded already?”
    End of run: “WTF, it was only flurrying when we left, this is like a blizzard. Nothing hurts. Yay!”

  19. LOL^2!!!

    My additional commentary would be:

    10:00 leave for 10 miler
    10:11 one mile down – 10% done!
    10:25 loving this downhill but it’s going to suck on the return trip
    10:50 dang, I thought it was really 5 miles to the high school, better turn to minimize the uphill rather than keep going down
    10:55 turning around – 50% done!
    11:05 what the crap was I thinking, doing my first 10 miler in 4 months with the second half uphill
    11:10 if I don’t get a red light break, I’m totally stopping for an entire red/green cycle
    11:15 uh oh, what did you say, intestines?
    11:16 only half a mile to the nearest gas station
    11:17 oh crap, my emergency cash is in the other jacket
    11:18 get over your guilt at not buying anything when you stop to use the potty, already
    11:20 phew, the urge has passed
    11:25 wow, that was a long red light (hahaha)
    11:30 was that gas or will I have a laundry problem on my hands when I get home?
    11:40 last mile!
    11:53 I did it! Ice bath time.

    1. “11:10 if I don’t get a red light break, I’m totally stopping for an entire red/green cycle” YES!! This!! πŸ™‚ I say this to myself all the time…

  20. Hilarious and SO TRUE!

    Saturday: Eyes pop open at 7, dang, was going to try to get to park by 7:30 to get miles in before the group really shows up.
    Check the weather.
    Huh, 20mph wind . . . from the north. Not happening outside today. Not with the wind coming across the river. Nope.not at all.

    Hop back in bed. Hubby says, “you’re not running outside today?” nope, t’mill day.

    Fall back to sleep for another hour (or two).

    Up and run on t’mill.

    Outside run:
    Okay, slow down at intersection. Keep running to end of next block. Can’t. let.neighbors. see you walk. Okay, turn, run past abandoned flood house. Okay, walk now.
    (time passes) Run to stop sign. Got to get to intersection before stopping. Ah heck, this is close enough. :0)

    *Hubby calls them “farmer’s blow” too and he’s a cyclist. I said, “my dad’s a farmer and he’s never done that before. Farmer’s carry handkerchiefs” :0)

    Saturday, hubby moved Roku/netflix thing to exercise room television. We watched movies. He cycled and I ran. Best thing to keep you going? Having your hubby beside you watching every.move.you.make (okay, not really, but sometimes it feels like that).

  21. Thanks for the fun play by play. Here is mine from yesterday:

    6:20am alarm goes off, look out the window and pouring rain (bummer- heading to the treadmill)
    6:30 am on the treadmill walking to warm up or is that wake up??
    6:35 am decide that I should start running if that is what I am calling myself these days- a runner.
    6:39 am look at the clock- that was the world’s longest 4 minutes and I just started. I am bored.
    6:50 am half way there- started playing a new game in my head, it’s where I don’t look at the clock until a whole song is finished on my ipod.
    6:55am looked at the time “Oh the next song is a good one. I can do this. Focus on the music not the wall in front of you.”
    7:03 am okay my favorite “finishing song” isn’t on, have to find it, step off treadmill for 30 seconds to get music to the right place.
    7:03:30 am okay sprint to the finish
    7:05 am finished, feeling good, glad I got up. Stretching out feels good.
    7:10am home eating my granola and thinking “It’s wasn’t so boring, It was a great run.”

  22. This was me this morning, except it was 0355 for a 0430 alarm. There was the “bonus” debate of run from home (i.e. get moving asap and out the door) versus run from the gym (i.e. get moving and pack a day’s worth of stuff: suitable work outfit, lunch, and work stuff). Thy gym won out because of the extra procrastination potential. πŸ™‚

  23. Alarm already? I feel too tired. I should get up. It’s not raining. But I’m so tired I’d probaby barely be able to run anyways. I could go after work even though it’s harder to fit it in. I’m sure I’d feel better then. It was kinda sunny yesterday. If I wait maybe it will be sunny this afternoon. I could run in the sun! Yeah, I’ll do that. Not dark and cold, sunny. I’ll just hit snooze. Crap. I can’t sleep now. Keep thinking about running. Maybe I should’ve gone. Oh well. Too late now. Alarm again? Guess I’ll get up. Maybe I’ll check the weather. What? It’s going to be rainy later? Crap! I knew I should’ve gotten up!

  24. 8:32 text from running buddy: 5 er?
    9:39 wake up and text buddy back that running is not in my immediate future.
    12:01 text from buddy: I’m going to change and head out. Join me?
    12:02 text from buddy: Please? πŸ˜€ You can bitch about _______
    12:03 text back from me: OK, am still in PJ’s. Meet at corner at 12:30?
    12:04 text from buddy: Ha me too! 12:30 it is.
    12:30 start running
    12:35 see other running buddy and stop briefly to chat.
    12:45 Why is this so hard? Is it the booze from last night?
    12:50 Could we actually be running this slow? Is it still even called running at this pace?
    12:55 Ok fine, we can do the longer loop. I’m going to regret this and will certainly regret the pancakes I ate 1.5 hrs ago.
    1:00 Why aren’t we catching any red lights to rest?
    1:05 Death would be preferable to this.
    1:10 Adjust route to run on nicer street – see fancy new LEED Platinum house and stop briefly to check it out (and rest).
    1:15 Finally getting in the groove.
    1:20 Thought the park – lots of dogs out.
    1:30 Done! Time to limp home.

  25. SO funny! Seems like you’re in my head while I’m running! I loved especially the 7/40 and not reducing the fraction as I’m math-challenged and I think just thinking about that would cause me to spontaneously combust!
    My timeline tidbit from yesterday: last mile of 14 ( longest I’ve run in maybe a year) ‘Run for 30 “, walk for 30.” come ON slackass, you can do anything for 30″! Not nice, but effective.

  26. I totally get the “dog talk” on a previous post. I keep telling him that he’s breaking my stride when he stops to pee, plus he’s all “peed out” already.

  27. Love this! I woke up at 4:50 this morning…just ten shit minutes pre-alarm…curses! But it’s great now that it’s over. My new bedtime has been hovering somewhere around 8pm πŸ™‚

  28. Love this post!!! It is exactly like the conversation I have with myself. But I’ll add, “There’s coffee at home. Hurry up and go get it!” and, “Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee…” This is the mantra that sometimes gets me through those early morning runs!

  29. I just had that SAME conversation, except my husband’s name is Steve. ; )
    LOVE the run, LOVE the after-run. …. the morning conversation? Not so much.

  30. “What timeline tidbit of your own comes from a recent run?”

    What doesn’t? My only additions are the two dogs in my bedroom who are as excited about my alarm (or bladder) as I’m NOT, and the fact that I’m an amped-up chatterbox when I finish because I have had time to myself and some fab-o endorphins cooking when I finish. (My sleepy husband just loves this part.)

    Oh, and my Freakshow Man is called “Karate Poodle” – big guy, walking while doing karate punches with one arm and holding his big, white poodle’s leash with the other…. think there’s a reason he’s out in the dark.

  31. i love reading stuff like this! it is all SOOO true! 90% mental, 10% physical is what i tell myself. But the mailbox game and counting songs are two of my favorites! Just like all the other ladies, so happy to know it isn’t just me! πŸ™‚

  32. Ha! Yep! Mine reads like this… *insert* “you might be a little sleepy but pay attention and don’t trip on the sidewalk…LIFT YOUR FEET!!” a few times and you’ve got me to a tee. It’s funny how we look so graceful and strong to other people but feel so ungraceful and a little clumsy in the morning. I’ve definitely blown snot on places other than the ground and it’s just gross. lol

  33. So funny. Off topic alert! Where are everyone’s posts in the Facebook page? I am on iPhone and can only see the TLAM posts but no random running mom posts. Where are they ? Where are my friends? Hello?

  34. Thanks so much for this – needed reassurance that it’s not just me. My thoughts are awfully similar! πŸ™‚

  35. Dog, I cannot go any faster. Yes, I am not the racing machine you are yet. Lord, I love my bike leash…but make him understand that run days are not fast yet. Dog, no you cannot run down a raven. They fly faster than you run. No, don’t eat that. No we are not stopping to pee…I need to finish this run and then you can pee all you can pee.

  36. This made me laugh so hard..sounds just like the voices in my head! And I totally NEED a sign like the one in the pic!!! I am slowly building up miles again as my foot recovers from the dreaded PF, so lately the voices in my head sound more like, “lighten up, your foot is striking the ground too hard”…”remember what you learned in Chi Runnyng Class”…”oh God it feels good to be running outside again”…”I wonder if it would be OK to go three instead of just two like the Dr said”…”am I landing mid-foot”…”Oh God it feels good to be back out here!”

  37. Can I just tell you how comforting it is to a slow and low mileage person like me that you, of mother-running awesomess, also stop to walk some hills! And the mailbox thing….I totally get that! Great post as always, Dimity!

  38. It’s currently 5:06am and I JUST had that conversation with myself … Alarm goes off in 30 minutes, I can turn it off now and run later when the twins are napping, maybe I should take a rest day, maybe I’ll run tonight … Thanks to this post I’m officially heading out the door to run Perfect timing!!!

    1. It’s 4:26am here…and I’m headed out for strength training for an hour with my personal trainer at 5am…I seriously don’t know how you guys do it – I literally feel sick to my stomach being up this early! Maybe it has something to do with going to bed at 11 pm. I do love having it done for the day by 6 though. Great post!

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