It is 5 AM. KC’s alarm is quacking. How could it be 5 already? Sadie eagerly hops out of bed, excited to eat. KC isn’t too far behind her since if she has to wait she will whine which may wake the baby. I, however, linger in bed. I debate whether I have to get up.
5 AM in December in New England is dark, cold and quiet. There are less people out and about walking their dogs or running. Do I have to get up? No, I really don’t. Ellie is still asleep. I could go back to sleep. We went to bed around 11 PM last night since I worked the restaurant job but got off at a decent enough hour that KC was still awake. This in itself is a luxury. There are many days during the week where I am only seeing KC briefly in the morning before and after my run, passing the baby off in the afternoon and sending him to bed when I get home. No one would judge me for staying in bed to get another hour of sleep. But should I get up?
And the answer to that question is: yes. Days where I run I am happier. I get more done. I feel more energized. I am a better mom. I am a better wife. I am a better employee.
Running in the winter is full of unique challenges from how many layers should I wear to am I going to slip on ice and die of exposure because no one in their right mind is out right now? I hate that running which is my stress relief, my sanity can actually be a bit stressful with the logistics.
Though I live in a safe community, I am always on high alert when I am running. Especially in the winter. In the nice weather there are lots of people out and about exercising. On the cold days, especially the below 20 degree days, I might see one person walking their dog.
Getting ready for a winter run is pretty much its own workout and can be a bit time consuming so I like to gather my gear and clothes the night before. Typically I will put my clothes out on the kitchen table in a semi-organized fashion. I’d say 50% of the time my lovely husband puts my clothes away for me before I get home thinking he is doing me a favor. I’d be annoyed if I did not appreciate the fact that he folds and puts away my laundry like 90% of the time.
I might be a little crazy. But I’d be a lot crazier if I did not run. Having 30 minutes- an hour to myself on a weekday morning where I can listen to a true crime podcast or a book from the library might be the only self-care I have all day. It might be the only time where I am alone. The endorphins, the sense of accomplishment help carry me through the challenges that will inevitably face me throughout the day.
Sure- sleep is great, but honestly if I do opt for bed it is going to be a broken disrupted sleep thanks to the chaos that is my living situation. It isn’t going to be some restorative, REM sleep that will erase the circles under my eyes. Honestly, I will probably wake feeling more groggy.
So, on this particular morning, I somehow managed to peel myself from my warm bed, snuggly pit bull and strap on my sneakers and put on a million layers of clothes to face the 10 degree weather awaiting me outside. The hardest part of the whole workout was getting myself out of bed. During the run, I zoned out and listened to my book and before I knew it I was back at my door and Ellie was patiently waiting for me to have breakfast with her. JK, she was whining in a half dressed KC’s arms as he struggled to get ready and feed her simultaneously. Looking at the chaos that waited for me, I was happy and grateful to have had that 4 miles all to myself!!