I decided to challenge myself this month. In June, I am going to attempt to run a mile every day.
I’ve been rather slothful lately in my workouts, running only once, maybe twice a week, if that, and I’m feeling a little schlumpy, if you know what I mean.
If you do know what I mean, tell me so we’ll both know.
At this morning’s weigh-in I realized I was above the 200 pound plateau I was so happy I’d finally broken (200.5 pounds, to be exact). The weight gain might have contributed to my recent running slump or the running slump contributed to the weight gain. Whatever.
On the last day of May, the 31st, I ran a slow and schlumpy 5k on the treadmill. For whatever reason, I just didn’t have the energy to run at the more intense pace I’d reached just a month prior. I kept slowing down, even walking, before forcing myself into a sprint, with the hopes of burning off the lazy. It didn’t and I finished the run very disheartened and unsatisfied.
Because I felt so out of shape (even though I’m still in better shape than I was just a year ago when I returned to running), I decided to take up the … drumroll, please … June Mile A Day Challenge.
I believe Runner’s World has one of these mile-a-day challenges going on, but when I looked it up, I was already too late. It started on Memorial Day and will run until the 4th of July. I guess that adds up to 37 miles in 37 days.
Since I missed it (although I guess I could have cheated and said my 5k counted as a mile for May 29, 30, and 31st), I decided to run my own challenge starting on June 1st.
Yesterday I ran a decent mile in about 8:48, I believe.
This morning, yes, I said this morning. I know, right? Me, an affirmed hater of mornings and morning people, actually getting up and doing something strenuous before I’ve had my coffee?
To put this in perspective, the last time I ran in the morning was 1985. I hated it and never did it again. And before that, it was a decade earlier at boot camp, where I didn’t have much choice, except in the hating of it.
But I figure, if I’m going to complete a challenge of running a mile every single day, then I don’t want to take the chance that something might come up in the evening that could interfere with me getting my run in.
Thus, I ran this morning.
Typically in the morning, my wife gets up first, takes her shower, then I get up and stumble downstairs into the shower. This morning however, I got up when she did (on the sly so she wouldn’t ask me a bunch of questions before I had some coffee — yes, I’m a complete bear in the morning), did some calf stretches, put on my gear, and hit the treadmill.
And To be honest, it wasn’t that bad of an experience. I did not hate it, which I was totally prepared for. I got a decent time in, I forget exacts — c’mon, it was 5:30 in the morning! — but it was slightly over 9 minutes. Not too shabby for my first morning run in over thirty years.
Afterward, I took a cool, almost cold shower, which again, if you know me is completely divergent from my normal shower which is so hot it’s like a steam bath in there when I finish. Since I was already hot from running, I figured the shower would cool me down.
One benefit of a morning run I did not foresee — and since it’s my first morning run I can’t really extrapolate today’s experience as the new normal — is that I was not tired and sluggish when I got to work.
Mornings are usually a struggle for me to stay awake, no matter how many coffees I guzzle, which is why I’ve always hated them. I operate in this fog for the first couple hours. Given my druthers, I would rather sleep until 9:30 am to avoid feeling so muddled.
But this morning, I felt bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as they say. If I discover this is an actual sustainable benefit, then I might continue to run in the morning. *shudder* Did I really just say that?
I hope another benefit of morning runs is that I won’t struggle to fall asleep at night. As I’ve mentioned previously, evening runs tend to make for restless nights. I haven’t figured out why. Usually an aspirin or two and a melatonin help. Last night they didn’t. But with a morning run, all that excess energy or adrenaline or whatever it is that courses through our veins after a run will have long since disappated by the time I lay down to sleep.
Maybe that’s why I’m more alert this morning, because the post-run juices that prevent me from falling asleep are helping to keep me alert now.
One last thing just so there’s no misunderstanding: I am not now, nor will I ever be, a morning person.
Just because you happen to see me up and running in the morning and you give me a chipper “Good morning!” along with a cheerful smile and an enthusiastic wave, does not mean I will reply in kind.
If I do growl, “morning,” however, it is merely an acknowledgement as to the time of day and not to the quality of it.
A curmudgeon I am and a curmudgeon I will remain until the sun reaches its zenith and I’ve had my four cups of coffee.
Have you joined the mile-a-day challenge?
Day 2, Mile 2.