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!

  • Liz

    Love this post!!  I’m a major headlamp wearing dork, I love that thing, I feel tough, not dorky at all!  HA! Your advice is great and just what I need to hear to get my morning butt in gear!

  • Ali

    SHE’S BACK! I’m so happy. Great advice for getting going in the morning, Sarah. Please start blogging again. Or just do more guest posts for people. I miss your snark. I miss your wit.

    And in your “spare time,” please come teach that “more vs. over” lesson to my coworkers…who are editors…and refuse to believe me when I explain that same lesson.

  • Caetie

    Haha, awesome post. I was just bitching and moaning to myself this morning about how hard morning workouts are to get motivated for. Will be sucking it up with my relatively cushy 6am wake up.

  • This makes me want to be a morning runner again. 🙂

  • oh, the petzl. this makes you a country person. i love it.

    8:45PM?? sheesh. i couldn’t handle that part. i do the 5:30AM wake up on morning run/ yoga days, but go to sleep at 11ish or so. probably not so wise.

  • Ha!  I love this and wish Sarah still had a blog. 🙂

  • Jen

    omg you are hilarious
    i lol ‘ed literally 3 or 4 times throughout this post
    bring back your blog “anonymously”
    kiss my headphoned ass…hahahahahha
    loved it

  • Nicole Falcaro

    Hah, welcome back (sorta) Sarah!

  • An.

    Verrrrry funny !

  • Wait, so with you guest posting occasionally, now this is going to be two of my favorite blogs in one?!!!

    I have weeks of 4:30am wakeups seasonally with work (to cram running in beforehand), but they are easier to get through because I know it’s only short-term. 4:26am every single day for an entire schoolyear is a whole ‘nother level of nuts. LIKE A CHAMP.

    ps. I know ‘nother is not a word. And I abuse dashes and create compound words where there should be none. Please forgive my slaughter of the English written word.

  • hillary

    Oh my god.  Bring back your blog or guest post weekly please!

  • Dana Coyle

    Hilarious post.Thank you for posting this. I aspire to be a morning runner but have had such a hard time making the switch. I am going to post this next to my bed so that when my alarm goes off (at a relatively more comfortable 5am) I won’t be tempted to keep hitting the snooze.

    And PS, I agree, you should blog anonymously.

  • Haha love the tips! “Kiss my headphoned ass” indeed!

  • Sarah, I have no idea who you are, but I’ve been hearing a lot about you lately (this is a good thing). & I have to agree that step 5 is very important. Sometimes I just wet my hair so people will just think I am freshly showered rather than grossly sweaty. Kind of (or really) gross, but it works!

  • AR

    Yeah, I’ll wait till after work. 


  • Are high school juniors really savvy enough to find a teacher’s blogs these days? I would doubt they’d actually care. I never cared that much about my teachers’ personal lives. 

    I don’t do pre-dawn runs unless trying to avoid a really hot and sunny day OR for some reason I pulled an all nighter. 

  • BAHAHA! ok I loved reading this…if not for the entertaining comedic flair in which you write, but for the fact that I wholeheartedly agree with all of this…well, except for the IPOD thing, but that’s just because I have coyotes near me, so I run sans headphones in order to continue to run sans maimed limbs 🙂

  • sarah

    You’d be surprised. I teach seniors, too, and within weeks of starting they had already found online pictures, race results, and so on. The likelihood of them stumbling onto the blog was low, but the opportunity cost of having the peace of mind was enough for me to pull the plug.

  • Damn your nosy students for making you shut down your blog. I work with college students and will often see them on campus when I go to the track. I kinda want to hide in those moments. I’m sure it would be worse if I used the gym on campus. I saw one at church and was embarrassed because I didn’t remember her name. (I don’t see them daily like a teacher would.)

  • I love this post more than I can say. I am considering printing it out and sticking it on my wall to help me get my butt out of bed in the mornings. And I’m only half joking! 😛

  • Meg

    dang girl.  I start whining when I have to wake up at 6:30.  4:45 is some dedicated shit.

  • The mere suggestion of waking up before 5 AM to run makes me feel pukey. I salute you and your headlamp.

  • Anth

    Sometimes I listen to Dan savage podcast in the treadmill at the gym. I turn it way down, just in case someone with super hearing is on the machine next to me and is judging me.

  • I’m going to take notes on this for when I am a resident…

  • Abby

    As a teacher, I know how difficult it is to workout after work.  I run in the mornings through the spring and summer when it’s light outside, but it’s hard to find friends willing to bang out some miles at 4:45-5:00 am.  Although I live in a relatively safe area of Philly, I just don’t trust the crazies out lurking that early if I am to run alone.  Perhaps I need to recruit some running pals to move to my ‘hood…

  • Katie

    Yay yay yay Sarah lives!  

  • Hiii Sarah! I love mornings, waking up early and running early. But THAT IS EARLY. Even for me. You are awesome for making that work, and for spending hours with teenagers while being slightly sleep deprived.

  • Lauren

    Best guest post I’ve read in a long time! Bummer the blog had to get axed.

  • Ahhh… I missed Sarah! Hey girl, heeeeey!

    I’m teaching the roomie the ways of the early morning workout. She’s finally starting to get the “get up as soon as the alarm goes off- you CANNOT THINK AT ALL until you are at least half way through your walk to the gym and there’s no turning back”.

  • Wow that is hardcore. I used to be a 6 am exerciser and wake up at 5:30, but waking in the 4s is a lot earlier! 

  • Cailinw

    Great post! I am right there with you- oddly enough with the exact same alarm time of 4:26 AM and the whole coffee routine bit… I am a teacher too and leave for work by 7 AM at the latest. The hardest part is that I also have to get one of two kids out the door with me that early…

  • I love this post!! I’ve been meaning to come back and comment since I first read it a couple of days ago. Mostly because I want to ask – can we make this a regular feature over at Runner’s Kitchen??

    Anyway, I complained over the summer because I had to get up before 6 to run. That seems luxurious compared to your schedule. I ended up switching back to after work runs after a month because frankly, I just couldn’t suck it up. Next time I think about attempting a stint with morning running, I’m going to go back to this post and tell my wimpy self to stop complaining.

  • Loved this and I totally agree with everything – esp # 2 – “just do it”. I am also an EARLY morning runner – as I definitely know I won’t run after work. Basically because I hate showering twice a day. Three days this week I had 4:30 AM runs, ugh. I woke up at 6:15 today and it actually felt like sleeping in. 

  • I’m glad Sarah is guest posting!  I miss her blog.  I just want to say
    that some insomniac twitter friends ARE up at 4:30am.  We’re not
    insomniacs, we’re working!  And it’s 4:45 right now (well, not when I
    post this, but when I’m writing this…), so Sarah better be up.

  • Lindsay

    I love this. I had a similar situation this summer with my internship at an investment bank and woke up at 4:00 every morning to hit the road (under the moonlight – freaky). It sucked – but no matter how many times I got yelled at during the day at work, I knew I had an awesome run under my belt before any of these guys had their morning coffee. Also – as soon as someone on the trading floor found out my schedule EVERYONE knew – and I got a job offer (guess they thought I was hardcore!) Keep it up, yo!

  • I love this post! As a fellow morning runner I agree with all of these tips-especially the one about headphones-at 5 am I n eed the extra push!

  • +1 to more guest posts from Sarah. I miss your blog!

  • Eileen

    I love this post! I am a big believer in bare-minimum showers … I *don’t* need to be sleek and conditioned every day, but I *do* need to run. Also, I am “guilty” of wearing my iPod at times when I possibly shouldn’t, but it’s a vestige of freedom/independence that I have a hard time giving up. Kiss my headphoned ass indeed!