super generic girl

the awesomely average life of a girl like all others


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A report on a week of morning runs for the love of pizza

VICTORY IS MINE AND IT'S FULL OF PEPPERONI!

VICTORY IS MINE AND IT’S FULL OF PEPPERONI!

Are you sitting down? I’ve got a pretty shocking revelation.

I ran every morning last week. Yep, every single one of those stupid cold mornings.

No, I don’t know what happened to me either. Probably some hormonal imbalance or something, I don’t know. One minute I was chatting along with a friend about this and that and then one thing led to another and I was agreeing to run every day for the following six days for free pizza. Not just any free pizza – Sal’s pizza which, as everyone knows, is the best pizza that has ever existed and I am someone with high standards, who doesn’t go for junk like Pizza Hut (just kidding, I have no standards, especially when it comes to getting free stuff).

All I know is that I spent over two years setting my alarm for 6:03 so I could get a run in before going to work and failed all but about 3 out of those 400+ attempts. It didn’t matter how much motivational stuff I read, nothing seemed to be able to get me out of bed. It became a running joke at home (hahahaha, “running joke”, I’m hilarious) and I had given up on any chance of ever creating this habit.

But along came the Great Pizza Bet of 2013 and my life changed forever (or potentially just for a week, the jury’s still out).

Let’s scrutinise this whole ordeal because this thing was hard and I haven’t bragged about it enough yet (although I’m sure some of the people I speak to IRL would beg to differ. But they can get their own damn blogs). I decided to document the experiment just for you:

Day 1 (Sunday): Running is the last thing I feel like doing (stuff I probably shouldn’t write on a running blog), but I drag myself out of the house in the late afternoon for a 5k. I figure if I am going to have a shot at this thing, I probably shouldn’t fail right on the first day.

Day 2 (Monday): Knowing I won’t be able to run in the evening due to some resemblance of social life, I decide to try to run in the morning. We all know how my attempts at morning running have ended before so I can’t say I like my chances… but then morning comes around, the alarm goes off and, after hitting the snooze button only once instead of the usual 23 times, I actually get out of bed. Once recovered from the shock, I run 5k and come back home in time to get ready for work. I spend the day feeling pretty smug about the accomplishment. I must  be high on endorphins because I announce to my friend that I am upping the bet and, instead of just six consecutive days of running, I was going to do six consecutive days of running with five consecutive morning runs.

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Day 3 (Tuesday): I have an event in the evening that involves running a lap of the Peace Mile in the Auckland Domain but the bet rules clearly stated that each run had to be at least 5k long. Peter, who I made the crazy bet with, runs every goddamn morning so offers to text me to wake me up (he has such little confidence I can do it he thinks he can offer some help and still win this thing). I ignore the text for about ten minutes but then start thinking about how he is out there running and I am in bed being lazy (but also warm). Very much against my will and against everything I believe in, I get out of bed and go for a run. Another day of feeling pretty proud of myself for it, especially considering I have to get back into running gear after work for the Peace Mile. Apparently I’m now the kind of person who runs twice in one day. But whatever, yolo right?

Day 4 (Wednesday): I ask Peter to text me again and at 6:45am he does. I don’t ignore the text this time and, instead, get up and ready to run. For some weird reason, my body feels like it is adjusting to this new morning running thing, and only three days into it. I am two days away from free pizza but, by this stage, that’s not the only motivation anymore. Other weird stuff is happening:

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Day 5 (Thursday): No text from Peter. I wonder if he’s feeling threatened now. I get up and run, unprompted. The crazy thing? I don’t even really have to, if I want to just abide by the original rules of the bet. I have a scheduled 10k night trail this evening so the morning 5k is just torture I choose to inflict upon myself. Except it isn’t torture and I actually enjoy it. Things are starting to get really bizarre now.

Day 6 (Friday): Following on a long line of good lifestyle choices, I stay up until 3am getting some work done (don’t feel sorry – I stayed up until 3 because I started working at 2) so don’t really like my chances of getting out of bed for a run. But it is the final day of the Great Pizza Bet of 2013 and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this but I really freaking love pizza. The only thing I love more than pizza is free pizza and, this morning, I am a mere 5k away from getting exactly that. I am so exhausted when the alarm goes off that I hit snooze and decide that I’m just going to admit defeat and pay for my own pizza. Luckily, the courier comes around and forces me to get up to open the door so my running streak lives another day and my honor remains intact (well, ish). The weather is crappier than it has been all week and my hands are freezing (if I’m going to get up to run in the morning, I only have time to get into shorts and a singlet, there’s no time to think about sensible things like long sleeves or running gloves). But I power through, on my less than 5 hours of sleep. Then I spend the day trying not to fall asleep (and nearly failing a few times). But that’s okay because, on the other side of the these five consecutive morning runs, I scored a free pizza. HASHTAG WINNING.

daria_pizza

I got more than free pizza out of the Great Pizza Bet of 2013, though. I may have actually created a habit. Or at least created the possibility of something eventually becoming a habit (with a little bit extra effort). It turns out, all it takes is some bribery. Some pepperoni-filled bribery.

I don’t think it would have worked out so well if it had been just about the pizza, though (sorry, pizza). The realisation that morning runs turned me into a productivity machine during the day was a massive incentive to keep this going. I can’t be bothered hitting the googles to find out if there’s any actual science behind this but my empirical evidence suggests that starting the day off with a run makes you around about 349% more productive. That is, assuming you sleep longer than 5 hours the previous night.

And then there are the sunrises, those damn fine things that I keep missing out on. And the feeling that you’ve already achieved something before your day has even properly started.

But also, free pizza. Who cares about any of the rest, really?

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(I realise that the fact that the possibility of a giant free pizza was the only thing that got me into morning running sends this blog a further 3405 light years away from the healthy living blogs category. I swear I looked but couldn’t find a shit to give. )


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An unforeseen turn of events

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Do you ever have weekends when you feel like you can actually relax and have time to do everything you planned to do? For the longest time, I thought they were an urban myth, like blair witch or instant coffee that doesn’t make me want to puke. Turns out those weekends exist, though, and the secret to finding them seems to simply lie in getting my ass out of bed before noon.

This weekend, I decided I was not going to make any plans requiring any more than a five or ten minute advance notice. I fitted in shopping (more hours than I should have – sorry, credit card), quality time with the kitty, family skype time, coffee and magazine reading (the new issue of Runner’s World conveniently arrived in my letterbox on Saturday morning – a free issue from one of those coupons you can get in most event goodie bags), and a cookie baking extravaganza.

More importantly, I ran 3 times in the last 2 days, and 4 times in the last 3 days even, since I also ran a 5k on Friday morning before work.  Out of those 4 times, two of them were morning runs. I didn’t get a super long run in like I had expected (12k was the longest distance the watch recorded this weekend, and it included a couple of kilometers of walking). It didn’t matter, though. I’m still pretty happy to have gotten some kilometers under my belt. The hardest step is the one out of the door yadda yadda kind of thing, you know. My laundry pile has never had as many running clothes but I’ve also never felt so motivated about this whole marathon training thing.

I blame the sun. And also, I blame all this getting out of bed at the crack of dawn thing I’ve been doing. It dawned on me the other day (see what I did there? Hmm? Hmm?) that I have only slept past 9:30AM once this year (last weekend), and that one time was planned. I wanted the feeling of spending the whole morning in bed back again. And you know what was weird? I didn’t like it. I felt like I had just wasted a whole lot of time doing nothing. This is the same person that up until a couple of years ago would never get out of bed before 11 on a weekend, unless there was a very good reason to do so (and there were very strict criteria to define what “a very good reason” consisted of, excluding basically everything except for the apocalypse).

This Sunday, for example, I got out of bed at 6AM to run. There was no running event with a set time at stupid o’clock or anything, just me wanting to get a run in before the sun was too high up. I got to run before a lot of people were even out of bed and so the whole day was freed up to do other stuff. Turns out “other stuff” ended up including more running and I couldn’t resist another run in the evening, as dinner simmered away.

So this is awkward. It looks like all this running may have accidentally turned me into a morning person. I still dislike getting out of bed but a bulldozer no longer has to hit the walls of the bedroom for me to actually get up – especially if there’s running to be done. See you out there before 7AM sometimes. Apparently, it won’t kill me.

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