It’s 6:09 am. On a Tuesday. I’ve already hit the snooze button. But those nine sweet minutes or extra sleep are over. I have to get up. I have to run. This is what I tell myself as I hit the snooze button again.
Nine minutes later I’m back at it trying to untangle myself from my slumber, no more refreshed than I was the first time the alarm went off. I have to get up. I have to run. Today is my first day of training. I have a half marathon to prepare for, which means heading out into dark, damp, cold, unforgiving morning with my thighs and my private parts squeezed into my man tights.
I blame my wife. She started all of this. She’s the reason I’m awake and forcing my body to be active at this ungodly hour. When we first began dating, she told me about how much she loved running and all the half marathons she’d participated in. Back then, I thought choosing to endure 13.1 miles of pain and discomfort was a bit silly. (I may have used stronger words.) But then we started jogging together. Then I ran 8 miles with her as she trained and realized I could probably run a half marathon if I tried. Then I tried and I ran my first half marathon. Then I was convinced I could do better the next time around.
That was over two years ago. Since then I’ve acquired three pairs of compression pants, donned numerous pieces of brightly-colored “performance wear” and constructed a variety of different running playlists, each carefully crafted for various distances and mindsets. I own three pairs of “neutral” Asics because apparently the bottom of my feet require my sneakers be “neutral.” I didn’t know that before. And part of me firmly believes I was better off not knowing. But I had to go and take running seriously and awaken my competitive nature and now I wear Switzerland shoes.
So here I go again. Today I begin training for another half marathon, my fifth. This means another pair of $150 sneakers, spending valuable hours of my weekend on long, painful runs, and, of course, the aforementioned early mornings. Not exactly how I intended to spend my forties. Of course, I do have free will. I could choose to sleep in. I could choose to spend more time on the couch and less time on the road. I could choose to save a small fortune on over-priced sneakers, race entry fees, and anti-chafing nipple cream. But instead I choose to run.
Because I’m a runner now and this is what we do… even when we’d rather be sleeping.