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I got two hours of sleep on Monday night.  There was no good reason really.  I turned out the light at around 11:30 and then proceeded to toss and turn for then next two and a half hours.  When the alarm went off at 4AM, I hesitated briefly before rolling out of bed.  9 miles later I was ready to start the day.

Tuesday night I was up past midnight.  This time, there was good reason.  A friend had turned 50 and we were out celebrating.  Again, when the alarm went off at 4AM, I hesitated before rolling out of bed.  Several Stoli Doleys and beer definitely had taken their toll.  Still, I forced myself down the stairs and 11 miles later, I was again ready to start the day.

And again, last night, for no good reason, after falling asleep around 10 or so, I woke up close to midnight and couldn’t sleep for a couple of hours.  When the alarm went off at 4AM, I really thought about putting off “just this one workout”.  Instead, I dragged myself down the stairs and 11 miles later, I was ready to start the day.

In all three cases before I put one foot in front of the other, all I wanted to do was reset the alarm for two hours later and go back to sleep (forget the snooze button!).  Wednesday’s morning run brought the additional bonus of feeling slightly woozy and hung over.

Fun!

I don’t tell you the mundane details of my training to a.)let you know what I’m doing or b.) toot my own horn.

No.

The reason I share this is because of what happened after I started.  Each run started with stiff legs and a groggy head.  Each looked to be headed for a miserable time, either due to lack of sleep or the effects of vodka, beer and pineapple juice.  But each run turned around quickly.  As tired as I was, within a few mile, my mind was alert and the legs loose.

There was a pep in my step.

Jess says that I often look very self-satisfied in morning when I come back upstairs to shower after my early morning runs.

You know what?  Even on so little sleep, I am.  I am self-satisfied.

The blood flow, the endorphins, the miles banked and the knowledge that I’m over 1,000 calories in the hole add up to a very self-satisfying feeling.  And that feeling generally lasts all day.  Maybe that’s why I have a resting pulse of 38 – I’m happy and relaxed.

But there’s a price to be paid to get to that happy and relaxed state.  You must battle inertia every morning.  You must battle the urge to hit the snooze button and roll back over to go to sleep.  You must battle the first few mile to reach that flow.

At 4AM that price looks like $1,000,000.00, but if you can get through it, you realize in retrospect that the price was a.)more like $1 and b.) well worth it.

I don’t normally go on only 2 – 4 hours of sleep a night.  Usually it’s about 5 – 6, but what this week reminded me of was that running, or any exercise for that matter, can be just as energizing as sleep.  You just have to be willing to fight through the inertia.

Did you pay the price this morning?


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