Dear 5:30am, how I hate thee...

I started running in April. The day before Easter. It was cold and snowing and I couldn't run more than a few yards.

In June it started raining and it didn't stop until August. I stopped running.

In the meantime, my brother-in-law started running, my sister started running, my cousin started running and my mother started race walking and they all started planning. The plan was to run our first 5K on Labor Day.

Labor Day came and having not run since April I thought I was prepared (I know, really smart, huh?). I got there that morning, stood next to my youngest brother at the starting line (who had not been training either), the gun fired...and my brother took off. Soon enough I was at the back of the pack.

At the first hydration station the volunteers were yelling "you're half-way there, you're doing great" and I was so excited. I kept thinking "this isn't that bad, I can do it"...then I saw the sign that said "1 MILE"...they were wrong. I was only 1/3 of the way there...I was NOT going to make it.

Children were passing me. I was way at the back and I was hating every minute. I couldn't run anymore, I was walking, and slowly...I took advantage of every downhill and ran it as fast as I could - but even that was a VERY slow jog.

At the second hydration station I cursed myself for getting into this. Having learned that hydration stations were set at each mile I knew I still had another mile to go. I hurt, I was tired, I was frustrated...my MOTHER had PASSED me AND so had her husband (who is 72). WTH?!

Soon, the running nuns were approaching from the other direction, running against the grain. "You've got a 1/4 mile" they were saying, "you're doing great". At the same time I noticed a guy coming towards me (I don't run with my glasses so I couldn't see who it was). He was saying my name...

It was my brother-in-law, carrying a bottle of water and coming to check on me. My spirits lifted and I started to run again.

As I came into the final leg of the race, people were cheering me on, screaming my bib number and encouraging me it was amazing. I felt energized again.

I finished that 5K in 52:12. 11 minutes longer than my mother and her husband. It took me SO long to finish that my results were not even posted at the race - I had to wait to see them online the next day. My brother-in-law finished in half my time...I was NOT last (a woman being pushed in a wheelchair came in after me). Honestly, I was far from last.

It inspired me to keep running.

On October 3rd I did my second 5K in the POURING rain. I started at the back of the pack knowing that it would be less stressful for me there. As the race started I watched the crowd pull away from me. I was dead last. I was SO far behind that I nearly got run over by a truck who assumed that the racers had all gone through.

That second race was a very tough course. There were tons of hills, it was cold and it was raining. At one point in time the rain let up, I said (out loud because I was the only one around) "this isn't that bad, thank you God"...10 feet down the road the skies opened up. All I could do was laugh (and curse, just a bit).

I saw three women in front of me and decided that I was going to pass them. We were on a downhill and I knew I could do it. Just as I was passing a woman approached on my right, "are you guys in the race" she asked. "Yeah", I sputtered. "Oh, good, I missed the start by 10 minutes"...and she was gone. Way to kick a girl when she's down!

Again, as I approached the last 1/4 mile I found my brother-in-law waiting for me with a bottle of water. He updated me on the results and jogged with me till the finish.

I finished that race in 53:22. Although I was not last (the three women I passed came in after me) they were not listed in the race results.

Again, I have been inspired to keep training. I have given up on running - not completely - until I can get a good walk time. I do still take advantage of downhills but I am not pushing my running as hard as I was before.

The days are getting shorter around here. It gets dark before 6pm and the sun doesn't even come up until after 7. I rationalize that mornings are "safer" to run...but that doesn't make it any easier to get out of bed at 5:30am.

Today was supposed to be a training day. I have another race on Sunday and I need to be training right up to it...but my alarm went off at 7 (the time I get up on a non training day).

Today I am lethargic and grouchy and can't seem to get out of my own way. I know why that is. I know it is because I have not "run". I know what I need to do to feel GREAT everyday. Yet, I can't seem to get my ass out of bed to do it. I need new motivation, I need an amazing reason to get out of bed every morning ('cause the great feeling afterward just doesn't seem to be enough).

So I ask, what's your motivation? How do you get up for those early morning workouts? Does music keep you motivated?

Help a girl out of her bed in the morning. Share your thoughts and ideas.

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