It seems so reasonable a time at 10pm when I’m setting the alarm, but at 6:15 it seems impossibly early.
I turned off the alarm and rolled over to go back to sleep. I would have slept on if Little L hadn’t woken up and called to me.
Wide awake. No good reason to not go to the gym like I’d planned the night before.
So I did.
It never fails to amaze me that I thoroughly enjoy running. That I’d pick going out in the near dark instead of going back to sleep for an hour. That it makes me feel strong and invincible. That I can push through the first uncoordinated strides, the aches in my legs, the twinges in my back.
Today I chanted to myself “I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m done.” until I was actually done. Until I’d pushed through to the full 25 minutes I had planned to run.
5 minute warm-up, 25 minute run, 5 minute cool-down. I accelerated after running for 10 minutes and again after running 20. I even pushed myself harder during the last two minutes, finishing the run at 6.5 miles an hour.
Nothing impressive compared to those who pound the treadmills around me at a healthy 8.3 miles per hour, but for me, who, three months ago couldn’t run for 90 seconds without wanting to die, it’s nothing short of a miracle.
It feels good to feel the sweat pouring down my face. To hear myself grunt as I near the end. (When Egmos* starts to tell me to quit already, the disembodied voice of Jillian Michaels shuts him up and urges me on.) It feels even better to feel my legs stretch as the treadmill accelerates.
For that short half hour there is nothing other than me, the music, and my body, pushing itself, getting stronger. The high that comes from that stays with me long after I get off the treadmill. All day I feel better, more centered, proud of myself.
No matter what the day brings, I started it by doing something purely selfish for me. I started the day by putting on my own oxygen mask. By taking care of me.
So much more worthwhile than that extra hour of sleep.
*Egmos is my very own personal Evil Green Monster of Self-Doubt. He makes frequent appearances in my head and on this blog.