By Emily Kulkus
I have a confession to make: I am NOT a morning person.
I never have been. But I soooo want to be; I soooo NEED to be. Just after Christmas, a mom told me that she gets up at 5 a.m. to run on her treadmill every morning! (She might as well have said she was an alien from another planet as I just can’t relate.) But bravo to her, right?
Just like my dad, I hit my stride at about 4 p.m. most days and I can go strong until about midnight. It’s my best time and I love being productive in the evenings. My dad was known for starting most of his projects about that time of day, too, and it would drive my mom (a morning person) absolutely bonkers. She too, just couldn’t relate.
The year I trained for my first triathlon I was a morning person. I had to drive across town to go to the gym in the mornings before work. I would pack my bag the night before and drink my coffee in the car on the way over. That wake-up time was critical to my being able to not only function but get in a good workout, which was the whole point.
My New Year’s Resolution was to be a better morning person. I’m about three weeks in and while I have been far from consistent, I’m slowing feeling a change in my routine. (That’s code for 6 a.m. no longer feels like 3 a.m.)
Because here’s the deal: you can’t be a night owl AND be a morning person. I believe that’s called “burning the candle at both ends,” which happens to be another one of my specialties… but I digress. Critical to getting out of bed when the alarm goes off is going to bed early enough to get enough rest. Gone are the days when I can “get by” on five or six hours of sleep. These days I need seven to nine to feel like myself.
This New Year’s resolution has been something of a learning process. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never be one to hop out of bed and hit the pavement. I need some warm-up time for my bod and my brain. I’m finding that a big glass of water, a little stretching, some reading and a generous cup of coffee do the trick for me. And that takes a time on BOTH ends – I have to go to bed earlier and get up earlier to allow for my wake-up period. So when I factor those two things into my days, I do well – I can walk, jog, spin or do a weights routine all in my basement before the sun comes up – and more importantly, before the kiddos are awake and need all the things.
It’s not easy. But when it happens I feel awesome so that too, is motivating.
Despite what I’ve learned and some modest success so far, I don’t think early-birdness is in my DNA. But that’s OK – running isn’t necessarily either. But I’ve made that a part of my life, hopefully forever. And so I strive to make rising early a part of my life, too – one glorious cup of coffee at a time.
Emily Kulkus is marketing coordinator at Fleet Feet Sports, Syracuse. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.