The past two months I’ve began making it out the door at either 6AM or 6:30 a couple days a week. Totally a normal time, right? Although it is still completely dark. No hint of sunrise yet. This new routine has had more of an impact on me than I anticipated.
The alarm went off at 5:30 AM and I was already awake (thanks to preggo sleep patterns). And yet, getting up and dressed was easy today…unlike the first few times I did it. Today, no sluggishness or brain fog. I checked my weather app – it said 37 degrees and showers. My reaction?
Oh, that’s pretty warm. I bet it’s barely sprinkling anyway.
And then I smirked to myself as I realized that a year and a half ago I’d have been considerably less positive about this.
I’ve known people who regularly get up for 4AM workouts or 5AM long runs. I would put them in the “So Dedicated It’s Intimidating” category in my mind’s social file box. I’ve been lucky, I guess, that there have only been a few times in life I’ve needed to be up that early: when I worked at Starbucks and when I coached CrossFit. Now it’s different. It’s not a job. It’s a choice. And it doesn’t feel all that extreme or bad ass. It’s kind of normal.
When it’s dark, it is kind of lonely and somber, if not scary. Or so I used to think when I lived in a different part of the world. But here in this quiet, small town, it’s easy. I wear my headlamp and reflective vest – Mrs. Safety Dawn Patrol, at your service! By the time I’m home again I’ve seen the transition to day begin, ever lighter hues bleeding over the fringes of the black sky.
For some of us, the new year is kind of electric. We feel like we can FINALLY let go of some things to move forward into better things. I love it. It's tidy. It makes sense. THAT BEING SAID……..I'm a big supporter of not waiting until the start of a new year to move forward with your life. There's never a "perfect time" to make a change or start a new adventure. There is only being ready or not being ready. I want to wake up every day of the year with a start-fresh attitude. I want to recognize when I'm ready to move forward into something new and different, and not wait until the end of a calendar to give myself permission to launch. #HappyNewYear
Most of my new gal pals are moms with school aged kids. Which means 5 or 6 AM is the perfect time for a morning walk or run. Gotta be home before the kids get up or at least before dad leaves for work. The first time one of these gals asked if I wanted to meet at 5:30AM I literally laughed out loud. We were texting so… it’s cool.
Sunrise isn’t until nearly 8AM this time of the year. We can be out for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and still be done well before the sun breaks the horizon.
To repeatedly accomplish something before the sun rises changes you.
To have the crisp air of dawn filling your lungs, your whole body warm with flowing blood, all before the world gets rolling…has given me a new kind of optimism.
Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying,
“The sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years.”
A couple months ago, I would’ve read that as an annoying Type-A personality brag. Now that I’ve been seeing the sunrise on a regular basis, often while “cooling down” by the fireplace with my post walk/jog Nuun…I hear a promise in that quote.
Seeing the day begin is like seeing the promise of opportunity.
I feel like I’ve gained WEEKS of time, not just hours, by getting up earlier a few days a week. Being alert and ready to great the day as it dawns must tap in to some primitive energy source. I feel more in charge of myself, my day. I feel so much more focused, ready to hustle, to get after that “it” everyone chases.
I’m not saying I could go, or would want to go 50 years and never sleep in after sunrise. I cherish my sleep in days. Also, I know as the year gets older, the sunrise will get earlier and therefore more difficult to catch. Soon I’ll be a new mom and my sleep schedule will no longer be so reliable. Still, this precious time before dawn is perfect for me right now. I’ve got a lot to accomplish before the next chapter and this dark, morning routine has given me the time, the focus, and the energy I need.