I wake up every morning three minutes before my alarm is set to chime at 4:50 a.m. I’m Type A, even while I sleep. This amuses me for a nanosecond, until my brain switches to its daily regimen of unoriginal excuses as to why I should NOT drag my butt out of bed. . . excuses like “It’s really cold outside,” “I’m congested,” “My head kinda hurts,” “I didn’t sleep well,” “My shoulder is sore,” “My hamstrings are strained,” “My body needs a break,” “I did a double workout yesterday,” “I’m tired” . . . And then, like (almost) every other day, I push the comforter aside, plant my feet on the floor, stumble to the bench where I’ve laid out my gear, and pull on my swimsuit, cycling jersey or running clothes. There’s no way I’d do this everyday at this early hour if it weren’t for my fellow triathletes, who will be joining me in the pool, on the road or at the high school track (which is where the picture above was taken in the dark this morning).
Respect the Training (And Avoid Being Called-Out for Not Showing Up!)
I wish I could tell you that my success at early rising, no matter what the time or weather, is because I have made a commitment to my athlete friends and I am a woman who honors her word. This, in part, is absolutely true. However, oftentimes, as I’m reciting and selecting the perfect excuse for my impending absence from that day’s training, and reaching for my iPhone to send the “Sorry won’t be making it today” text, I hear the voices in my head. These voices aren’t offering words of encouragement, or reminding me of how great I’ll feel when the morning’s workout is complete; the voices I hear, and the faces I see are the people I’m scheduled to meet that morning. The voices are chiding me in a friendly way, playfully scolding me for being a lazy dirtbag. I envision my coach’s face when he reviews my daily training log and sees the tell-tale red “incomplete” square. At least twice each week, ridicule avoidance it what makes me Rise, Rain or Shine.
New Friends, New PRs
For me, rising at the “ass-crack of dawn” as my friend Suki puts it, is not just about the training or the races, though they stoke my competitive nature and fuel my craving for a solid rush of adrenaline. It’s not just about the six-pack abs (work in progress) or the fit and trim body, though I look damn good in my mid-life birthday suit. It’s not about being medication free or feeling proud that I’ve bored my general practitioner during my annual exam. And it’s not about being able to consume the same or more calories than my lovely 17-year-old daughter. For me, it’s all about the strong, kind, generous, motivated people I meet, their positive energy I absorb along the way, and how they fuel my optimism, self-esteem and desire to push my own limits. A few weeks ago, some of my triathlete friends threw a surprise birthday party for me. When I was cutting the homemade phallic cake (!) baked by my triathlete friend Jim, aka “Princess Bosley,” I looked around the room of 20+ people, ages ranging from 30ish to 70ish, and realized I didn’t know any of them 2 1/2 years ago. Standing in the center of them all, I also knew with certainty that I’d meet an additional 20+ caring, giving, life-loving athletes in my coming year. And that, my friends, is why I continue to Rise, Rain or Shine!