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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Breaking the Slump and Becoming a Morning Runner

Lately, I have been feeling very frustrated and have felt lapses in self-control and motivation. I stepped on the scale yesterday to see a frightening number: 147 (that's right, accountability comes back to haunt me).

I spent most of the day Tuesday feeling sorry for myself. But you know what, there are a lot of people out there in the world who have worse problems than a lack of motivation when it comes to fitness. And unlike people who have those larger, pervasive problems to worry about, I can do something about it.

So sack up, girlfriend, I said to myself. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Do you know how lucky you are to be able to do something about your problems? So do something.

Yesterday I attempted to take a morning run (since my class days are Tuesdays) but a late night prior (writing papers) means that I was all about continuing to sleep past the 5am running wakeup.

This morning, I tried again. I groaned as my alarm went off at 5am, but I shouted to myself, channeling my inner Jillian Michaels, "Get the hell up, Erika, you're f***ing running today. And I do not feel bad about making you do it."

An invisible hand (Jillian? Is that you?) yanked me out of bed to turn off my alarm and pull on a bunch of spandex (and long sleeves, yikes this morning was chilly!) It was still dark outside, so I put on my light-up slap bracelet (which I haven't had to use since we sprang forward in Daylight Savings Time), downed a Fiber One protein bar and a few sips of the open Gatorade in my fridge, and set out into the early pre-dawn morning.

This was also a new experiment for me in that I did not bring headphones with me for music or even Zombies, Run! I like to run with fast music, and let's face it, 'Ye at 5am is not exactly great for someone who is not a morning person.

I don't care how much something that doesn't kill you can only make you stronger, Kanye, it is too early for you.

So I was left alone with my thoughts in the pitch black of a Wednesday morning as I'm still battling peroneal and tarsal tunnel pain in the same leg. Yep, this just got interesting. My internal dialogue was firing on all cylinders.

Hey Erika, it's your left leg here, and guess what, I'm really hurting.
Yeah, I know, shut up, running is actually making you hurt less, so joke's on you.

Oh, um... well it's your esophagus now, and you forgot to take your GERD medication before you went out to run, and now I'm just buuuuurning.
Yep, got it, won't make that mistake again, and I'm blasting you back to hell with pantoprazole as soon as I get home.

Fine, I'm your stomach now, and that Gatorade is sloshing around a bit!
Dude, I had like 5 sips of that Gatorade before I went out for the run. There is no way I drank enough to have any kind of sloshing. I do believe it's your imagination, so leave me alone. 

Crap. Well now I'm your lungs, haha! And I'm feeling a little bit constricted right now. How you feel about that?
Psychosomatic, my dear lungs. There's nothing wrong with my breathing right now, so shut it.

Fine, I'm your brain now, and I will not turn off with continuously writing a blog post in your head about this run you're doing right now.
That's just fine, brain, I was planning to write a blog post on this run anyway. You're just running out of ways to psych me out, aren't you?

What? No! Erika! Up here! Look, I'm the Metra train, and I've stopped at the Oak Park station right as you're running underneath it so all the commuters can ogle you, the weirdo running down the street at 5:30am!
Whatever, they're a bunch of people that have to be on a Metra train to go to work as early as 5:30am. They won't find it weird, in fact, there's about a 99.9% chance that I got up later than them. Nice try!

Dangit. Uh... I'm the sun, rising and flooding the sky with a beautiful tapestry of pink and purple and orange as you head into the home stretch.
I know, I noticed! Thanks, you are quite beautiful! This is very nice!

Hey Erika, now I'm your front door. Oh. You're done.
You bet I am! Perfect timing to shower and get to work!

So guess what? I went on a 5am weekday run before work without music and it did not beat me. In fact, it really wasn't that bad, and I think I may do it again. It was such a different experience running around my usually bustling neighborhood and have it be totally empty and quiet and cool and dark.

The beauty of it especially was that I got home in the afternoon and was able to devote time to running the errands I needed to (as well as writing this blog post) instead of feeling the stress of having to plan a run in there too.

And you know what, self-control? I'm bringing you back. I'm bringing strong back. I'm bringing motivation and ferocity back. I'm bringing it all back. You've all got a lot to worry about, little voices that were in my head this morning. Because starting back up right now, you're working for me.


  1. I LOVE this post! I thought it was going to be a long read, but it went fast!
    Welcome to the morning run club!
    I sometimes think of using my headphones just to use Zombies Run again, but I love being free. Also check this-

  2. LOVE THIS. I have been feeling sorry for myself after gaining 17 pounds this year during my first year of marriage. You just shot down every excuse I have!

  3. Get after it Erika!
    I still would rather run late than early, but I've been doing mostly morning runs this summer and it does make for a much calmer, quieter evening like you mentioned.