Washington Ran Here, Back from the Dead

Without further ado, a special guest post from Sarah….<3

A few weeks ago, Megan offhandedly suggested that I could guest post for her blog. I do not think she really thought I would follow through. A few guest-post titles were suggested, including “Snark with Sarah” and “Bitching and Moaning and Running” (kidding! I made that one up). I do not know, as I write this, what title Megan will choose. This makes the control freak in me insecure, so I’ll suggest the following: “How Teaching Killed My Running Blog and Forced Me to Buy a Chilean Miner Outfit.”

Or, “Yes, You Too Can Run at 4:45 a.m.”

To summarize, I used to have a running blog, and it was awesome. Oh, you didn’t read it? Your loss. I put my $125,000 BA in English to good use for almost two years, producing sparkling prose about running and things that annoyed me (rarely mutually exclusive). Then I switched jobs and became a high school English teacher, and quickly realized that I did not want my students finding my blog. It was not that I was ashamed of the blog, but really, I don’t even want my 17-year-old scholars knowing my first name. Somehow their knowledge of how my gut felt after a 5-mile tempo run was just too intimate.

So I axed the blog and broke 1,000 hearts. And sometime around that point, I switched from after school running to morning running. And when I say morning, I mean morning.

To wit, here’s a typical Monday morning:

4:26 a.m. – Alarm goes off.

4:28 a.m. – I drink crappy instant coffee.

4:35 a.m. – I hit the can.

4:40 a.m. – I get changed, pop in the contacts.

4:50 a.m. – I am out the door for 6 to 8.5 miles.

5:55 a.m. – I return home for a shower.

6:25 a.m. – I drive to work to teach today to change tomorrow. Or, alternately, to try to convince high school juniors that “more” and “over” are not interchangeable.

I should point out that I never, not in a million years, thought I would be a person who could wake up that early to run. But after realizing that running after work meant I had to, you know, run after work (when I really should have been grading papers), I begrudgingly made the switch. And if I can, I swear, you can too. So here, in list form (because blogs thrive off of enumeration), is my advice on How to Become a Morning – Like, a Serious Morning Morning – Runner.

Step 1: Suck it Up

The problem with morning running, of course, is that getting up at 4:30 is awful. Oh my God, it’s painful. And the thought of hammering out a run often just makes me want to cry. But look, nobody wants to hear it. And at that hour, even your insomniac Twitter friends aren’t awake to commiserate.

Step 2: Go Go Go Go

You are a rolling stone. You gather no moss. You do not even pause to consider the suckiness of waking up. You get out of bed the second your alarm sounds.

Step 3:  Suit Up

I bought a headlamp so I wouldn’t trip in a pot hole and die and be late to work. I encourage all stupid-early morning (or evening) runners to do the same. I also wear a reflective vest. I look like an idiot, but at least I am a visible idiot.

Step 4: Ignore Standard Safety Advice

Right, so, I live in the suburbs, so safety is less of an issue than it might be elsewhere, but I listen to my iPod in the mornings. Sometimes I have one earbud out to stay aware, but other times not. Now, I listen to really dorky podcasts (as opposed to boom boom music), so I can usually discern the sounds of cars and muggers from Dan Savage’s voice, but I’m sure most people would say that you should ditch the iPod. To those people, I ask, “When do you wake up? Oh, 6:45? Kiss my headphoned ass.”

Step 5: Ignore Standard Hygiene Advice

My morning showers do not involve the following things: shampoo, conditioner, razors, or more than three minutes of my time. I have yet to hear any complaints at school, at least regarding my odor.

And that’s it. Get your ass out the door and run. I’ll see you at our 8:45 p.m. bedtime!