I have never been a morning person.  It’s not that I don’t like them, I love to wake up slowly and naturally with the world.  I can also get a lot more done when I’m up with the birds (or my crazy dog).  It’s just very hard for me to get moving and I have a theory on why that may be to my advantage in the later phases of Ironman Wisconsin.

I used to love playing football with my buddies as a kid.  My best friend was the quarterback for our high school team and we spent hours in the summer playing six-on-six sandlot games in a local field.  In retrospect it was pretty dumb because we played tackle without pads and there were some vicious hits.  I was fearless and would stick my head into any play, and anyone who knows me will surely acknowledge that this has had an effect on my thought process.

My friend, the quarterback, spent most of those summer days trying to convince me to go out for football.  He’d claim that I was the best wide receiver in the school.  I’d be his favorite target and would catch a ton of passes (and get even more girls).  There was only one problem . . . I could not talk myself into getting up for the early morning summer practices.

So, while I slept in on those late August days, my friend would be sweating his ass off and puking at 7:30 in the morning.  It was the first of two practices a day and, in between workouts, he’d come by and wake me up around 10 o’clock.

He was wide awake and prodded me for about 15-20 minutes before I’d get out of bed.  Then, without fail, by 11 o’clock I would be alive and ready to go.  But it was too late.  I couldn’t be on the team if I didn’t go to the early practice.

When the season started I was right there on the sidelines rooting my buddies as they tackled their way through the Big 8 Conference in Southern Wisconsin.  The pads crackled in the crisp Fall air, and I would drift to a place of regret.  I knew I could play for this team, but why couldn’t I get up and go to early summer practice?

Sometimes I think it’s a cop-out to say I’m not a morning person.  But years of evidence don’t lie.2013-01-22_13-40-34_730

At the core of this problem is the fact that I am just “slow to warm up.”  There is something going on with my body chemistry that always makes me want to ease into things.  It is very evident in my workouts, whether they are at 7 am or 10 at night.  The warm up makes a huge difference in my performance.

I have seen it in every race.

The one that really stands out is my first Olympic, the Nashvegas Triathlon.  It started at 7 am on a cold, rainy, and mucky Saturday morning in September.  I stood on that river bank shivering before diving in and nearly losing my mind.  I was tense, tight, and still wanted to be in bed.  I nearly panicked and quit two hundred yards in.  But instead I tread water for about 5 minutes and decided to keep going.  Slowly, but surely I woke myself up and by the time the swim was over, I wanted more.

It was still raining when I got on the bike, but I was awake and embraced the 25 mile ride with confidence. I had the same feeling on the run course.  I was a relative novice, but felt like I had a much more in the tank when I crossed the finish line.  Slow to warm up, fast to finish.

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I  had a great 5 mile run last night with the East Nasties.  The route was 4.3 miles in and out of Shelby Park, but Mark Scviner and I added an extra loop around the lake that included sprints.

I had a great 5 mile run last night with the East Nasties.  The route was 4.3 miles in and out of Shelby Park, but Mark Scviner and I added an extra loop around the lake that included sprints.

This was the second morning in a row that I over slept a workout and once again, I feel okay with it.  I don’t particularly like the idea of “slacking” but I am listening to my body and what I’m “hearing” is a re-birth.   I can literally feel my legs warming up and building strength.  They have been through a lot lately and I see nothing wrong with giving them an occasional break.

I have a serene peace of mind that is hyper focused in the moment.

In some ways, I almost believe I could finish an Ironman right now because of how good my body feels.  It would be a struggle, but if I “feel” good, I believe I can do anything.  Something about getting closer to your accomplishment gives me a huge surge of energy.  It’s that feeling you get when you’re a kid.  That ability to play sports all day and night.  That ability to suck it up for one more deep post route or fast break.  I don’t know where the energy comes from, but you dig deep into the reserves and do what needs to be done to finish.

Oversleeping or Listening to Your Body?

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3 thoughts on “Oversleeping or Listening to Your Body?

  • January 25, 2013 at 12:24 pm
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    I am a morning person. I was up, bright and ready to go at 4:25 (5 minutes before the alarm). I wasn’t always like this though. It took years of practice and dedication to convert from sleeping in to becoming a true morning person. It’s an acquired taste.

    • January 25, 2013 at 9:44 pm
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      I’m holding out faith that things will be much different in a couple months. Until then, I’ll take your word for it!

      • January 25, 2013 at 9:50 pm
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        Probably best. 😉

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