Posts Tagged ‘Mornings Suck!’

Not a Morning Person

October 23, 2013 3 comments

ride alarm

I don’t think I’m sharing anything new here… I’m not a morning person.  At all.

I think it’s my single biggest challenge as an Age Group Triathlete.  I hate getting out of bed.  It’s cold, it’s dark, and my bed is warm and comfortable.  Why would anyone want to get out of bed – especially early!  If I could sleep in every day I would…

Sadly, as a 9-5 working adult – let alone a triathlete – that’s not an option (I have no idea how I’m going to cope some day if/when I ever have kids!!)

The age group training community tends towards early morning training.  I used to fight against this – “Why do I need to get up early?” I would always ask myself… I could train at lunch!  I could train after work!  I could train in the evening!  I have so many options available to me that don’t require me to get out of bed early.

They don’t work.

The community, like most communities, has figured out the best way to do it.  Get up and train.  It’s amazing how many planned daytime/evening training sessions just don’t happen – for one reason or another, something gets in the way.  Even with the best of intentions, every time I tell myself “I’ll do it tonight instead”, it doesn’t happen.

No more fighting.  If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

This week I’ve started setting my alarm at 5:45am.  I suspect in time that may get shifted earlier still, but that’s enough of a change to the system for now.  That leaves me about 45-60 minutes of time at the gym in the morning before catching the bus to work.  For now, that’s a reasonable compromise.  It’s a stark change from the 7:30am alarm I had become accustomed to over the summer.

How has it been waking up at 5:45?

worn out

I’m making it work…  Surprisingly (or perhaps not), it’s having very little impact on my ability to stay awake at work during the day.  In fact, the morning training is giving me lots of energy, especially in the morning.  Where I notice it the most is at night.  Bed time comes EARLY now.  This old man is starting to fade by 9:00pm most nights.  And to reduce wasted time in the mornings (no need to set the alarm any earlier than necessary) I’m focusing on packing my gym bag, work bag, and lunch at night – which eats into an already shortened evening.  The result is a lot more to do in a lot less time in the evenings.

But, from a training perspective, it’s great!  It’s paying huge dividends, even just a half-week into the new routine.  I’m hitting my training sessions reliably and with a dedicated block of time, not squeezing them in when I can.  I feel more focused – like I can plan my work better instead of being happy with whatever work I can do.  It feels more like training (a rewarding activity) instead of working out (a burdensome activity), if that makes sense.

I’m not going to claim that I like waking up early – I don’t think I ever will.  But I’ve seen the light of early morning training.  An off season of a better training routine can only help me next year… so long as I keep getting out of bed!


Consequences of Monday Morning Decisions

April 8, 2013 6 comments
Kings-Bridge-Park, Niagara Falls

Kings-Bridge-Park, Niagara Falls

Story Time!!

This weekend, an announcement came out from MultiSport Canada (organizers of most of the triathlon races I race in locally) that they are adding an exciting new race in late September 2014 – a Half Ironman in Niagara Falls.  Admittedly, my interest was peaked…

Which is kinda silly, really.  I mean – I’ve finished one Sprint distance triathlon (should have been 2, but the 2nd one was turned into a duathlon by mother nature mere minutes before the starting gun).  Sure, I’m signed up for 3 more races this season – one of which being an Olympic distance triathlon… but to start thinking about a Half Iron?  Is that not putting the cart before the horse a little bit?

Well, let’s think about this:

  • September 2014 is at the end of NEXT race season – I have this whole season, an off season, and another race season to train for it
  • I can swim 2000m.  At least I think I can (though I don’t know if I ever have before)… swimming’s my strong suit
  • I can bike 90km.  I’ve biked a century before
  • I can run a half marathon.  I’ve run a half marathon before (hell, I just “ran” a 30k race a few weeks ago).
  • … and sign up doesn’t start until mid summer this year, so I have time still to decide.  Though I suspect this one may fill quickly

I definitely spent last night thinking about it.  Could I do a Half Ironman?  Could I be ready that soon?  How totally awesome would that be?!?

My hour long drive to work

My hour long drive to work.  I kept Toronto and the US border on the map in case anyone has been wondering all this time “where the heck is this ‘Hamilton’ place?” he says he’s from

Fast forward to this morning.  Every Monday morning I drive from my home in Hamilton to my work in Waterloo.  My alarm went off at 5:45.  I made my lunch – a healthy lunch – and got into my car.  In Waterloo, I meet up with my sister for a morning “swim”.  I say “swim” because it’s often much more social than a hard workout – lots of hanging off the edge of the pool and “recovering” while catching up.  But this morning my sister couldn’t join me, so I swam alone.  I decided instead of doing drills (with “recovery” time in between) that I would do a distance swim since I had no one to chat with anyway.

Normally my distance swims are based around my race schedule.  I don’t race anything longer than a 750m swim until late in the season, so I would normally aim for 1,000m.  But that Half Iron was still in the back of my mind.  I started off smooth and easy – focusing more on form than on power.  I finished 750m in 12 minutes, which is pretty fast for me.  I guess there really is an argument to technique in the water (as opposed to thrashing as quickly as one can).

I decided to keep going.  No rest break.  I finished 1,500m in 24 minutes.  My pace was holding.  I kept going.  I finished 2,000m (the Half Iron swim distance) in 33 minutes, or a 1:40/100m pace.  I was pleasantly surprised with that.  Apparently I can swim 2,000m just fine.

As I hauled myself out of the pool I thought “Would I be up for a 90km bike right now (and a half marathon after that)?”  I think I smiled a little at that point – though if I’m being honest with myself, my core and arm muscles were pretty tired and I think I’d run out of gas pretty quickly on the bike… but we’ve got time to work on that.

I drove into work today feeling pretty damn happy with my swim.  2,000m at a 1:40 pace.  Shit that’s good for an early season time!  What a great idea that was to go for it and swim that whole distance!  I was so convinced this was a great idea I didn’t even notice as I sat down at my desk and put my lunch bag right beside me.  By 11:30 it was all gone – the sandwich, the fruit, the muffin.  All gone, and I was starving.  Yep, I’ve already been to the cafeteria for a coke, bacon cheeseburger and fries.  Holy cow I’m hungry.

Lesson learned today: planning for long training sessions really matters, unless you’re okay with impulsive greasy cafeteria food (which, after today’s swim, I sure as hell am!)

Happy Monday Everybody!

– DO’G


Waiting for spring

March 4, 2013 Leave a comment
A cheery picture for a Monday, courtesy - as always - from Google images

A cheery picture for a Monday, courtesy – as always – from Google images

I’m finding this winter particularly difficult.  Maybe it’s because last winter was especially mild?  Or maybe it’s because this winter I’m training more (and trying to run outside)?  But it just feels so cold, and so dark, for so long.

I can’t wait for spring.

I can’t wait to step outside and not be instantly uncomfortably cold.

I can’t wait for the sun to rise before I leave for work.

I can’t wait for the ice to melt on the sidewalks.

I can’t wait to stop wearing long johns when I run.

I can’t wait for the sun to break through the everyday grey sky.

I can’t wait for spring!

This weekend’s long run didn’t go well.  It ended a lot earlier than it should have (and not nearly as early as I wanted it to).  I just couldn’t get my muscles to warm up; my legs felt like those concrete drums you drop to the bottom of the lake, weighing me down with every step.  In the end I only did about 10k (and really only 5k of that at any semblance of training effort).  I just couldn’t get warm.

Tonight I got to cheer myself up by firing up the BBQ.  I’m a big believer in year round BBQ.  The snow and cold can’t keep me away.  I feel like it’s my way of bringing warmth, and light, and fire to a cold winter night.  Plus, who can say no to a good rack of ribs?!

Tomorrow evening I’ll take another shot at a long run.  I need to get a few more in before The Bay.  Then, next morning I’m getting on a plane for a ski vacation in Whistler B.C.  I’m looking forward to seeing the extended family and getting away for a few days.  It may be cold, but it won’t be the same cold as home.  It won’t be 5:30am alarms, going to work in the dark, in the cold.  It’ll be adventure and activity.  It’ll be family and friends.  It’ll be the warm I need right now.

And when I get home, it had better be spring.  I can’t wait…

– DO’G


Morning mess

August 10, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s not actually this bad – but it might as well be…

I feel like my morning could be turned into a camp fire song…

The alarm went off at 6:15 this morning.  The plan: A brick training session with focus on run endurance.  My wife was also getting up to do her long run this morning, training towards her half-marathon.

Getting out of bed was TOUGH, but I did it.  I looked out the window – the sky was dark and discouraging, and the ground wet from recent rain.  I really wished I was still in bed, but I was going to push through!  I ate a quick breakfast, and changed into my training clothes.

My bike needed to have the tires pumped up a bit.  I pumped up the front tire.  I was about to pump up the second tire when my wife came in and told me to stop and listen.  It’s amazing how silent the house can get at 6:15.  Then I heard it – the sound of heavy rain.  Shit.  We both agreed we’d be soaked within a minute out there.  This morning’s session was off.  I was out of bed for nothing!

But I’d pumped up one tire, I thought I might as well pump up the second…

Let’s be honest here: I’m not a morning person.  Sometimes things don’t go very smoothly in the morning, and I don’t always know why.  I put the pump nozzle onto the valve the same way I always do, pushed down on the pump plunger, but instead of the usual hiss of air moving into the tire, I heard a pop sound and the tire went flat.  I pulled the nozzle off the valve, and the valve pin had been pushed through the rim inside the tire.  It’s busted.  I have no idea how I made that happen.

I managed to not do any training, but somehow wreck my bike wheel in the process.  This morning just wasn’t meant to be.  Back to bed I went, grumpy and half asleep.  Maybe I’ll try a run this evening – bricks are not an option until I can get the bike into the shop.



July 27, 2012 Leave a comment


brick  (brk)n.

1. pl.bricks or brick A molded rectangular block of clay baked by the sun or in a kiln until hard and used as a building and paving material. (
2. brick an unintelligent person. Derived from “dumb as a brick.” (
3. brick a term used to define training in back to back events. This could describe a variety of events, but for the purposes of Triathlon Prep I would define it as a swim, bike, or run workout immediately following a base workout. For example, a 20k bike after a 1600m swim would be a brick workout. Same thing for a 10k run after a 20k bike.(

The alarm went off this morning at 6:00am – the same time it does most mornings.  But this time, instead of getting ready for work, I headed out for my first brick training of the season.

The important aspect of a brick training session is to simulate the jelly legs that you get when hopping off the bike and going straight into the run.  In an actual race, the T2 transition (from bike to run) is usually sub 2:00.  That’s all the time you get to rest your legs and catch your breath before you head out.  The focus of the training session is not on how good your bike is, or how good your run is, but on burning out your legs on the bike so you can practice starting the run with jelly legs.

So today I did 12k hard on the bike followed by a 3k run.  I’ve done brick sessions in the past, but this was the first one this year.  I know it’s going to be hard.  I know the first 500m of the run are going to be murder.  But you can’t truly understand starting a run on jelly legs until you experience it.  Your mind knows the first 500m of your run route – you know that you’re usually strong here, sometimes starting out too fast, not too sweaty or hard of breath yet.  This morning it was hard to just get to the end of my street.  After 4 minutes and only 500m I had to stop and walk.  My legs had nothing.

But this is why we train – so we can get better.  We hurt, so we can hurt a little less next time.  And over time and repetition it will get better.  After the first 500m and my first (short) walk break, the run got better.  My pace leveled out to my standard running pace, and while my legs still felt like string cheese I was able to run with the endurance I’m used to.  I felt like shit, but a little less like shit with each meter that went by.  And by the time I got home I felt great – exhausted and gross, but great.

Chalk this one up as a victory.  A great first brick of the year.  A fantastic start to a Friday!

… although here’s hoping I can sneak a nap in today on my lunch break


Damn mornings

February 29, 2012 Leave a comment

I wish I had a window like that in my office

Most people hate Monday mornings.  I have no problem with them – not that I like Monday mornings, but I find the mornings get worse and worse as the week goes on.  I’m tired.  I stuck to my swim plan last night, even having to leave the restaurant early to do so… although swimming with a belly full of Chinese food was not smart (Note: why the hell do I always eat nice food on Tuesdays?!?  I’m always lugging it through the pool, hoping not to leave it at the bottom.  Next week: Salad on Tuesday!).  Anyway, the point is just to comment that, having stuck to my plan, I’m paying the price this morning after a good workout.

I’m still in awe of people who train in the mornings.  When I wake up in the morning, I have to focus on remembering to breathe – that’s job one.  After about 10-15 minutes I can try swinging a leg or two out of bed, and with a little luck stumble down the hall to get in the shower and stand under the water for 20 minutes until I’m awake.  Screw training – that’s not even in the realm of possible.  How the hell I make it to work every morning is a mystery to me.

So instead I train at night – I’d rather train in the morning.  I’d rather get that burst of energy from exercise.  I’d rather not have to fit it in each evening.  But there’s no chance in hell of that happening!

(ok – maybe I seriously need to start re-evaluating… I know many people aren’t morning people, but this is taking it to an extreme!)


Blue Monday

January 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Today is Blue Monday – apparently, officially, the most depressing day of the year.

I don’t know if I buy into the whole “Blue Monday” thing – but I certainly do feel really tired and lethargic today.  Dragging Ass Day might be more appropriate than Blue Monday, but that’s just me.

I had an epiphany this morning when I woke up (which is amazing, considering my ability to think first thing in the morning is normally near zero): When I drive to work, I wake up at 6:00.  When I work from home, I wake up at 8:00.  Yet, regardless of my work plans the next morning, I go to bed at the same time every night.

HOLY SHIT!  I think I’m on to something!  No wonder I’m useless at work these days, and virtually incoherent in the mornings.  No wonder I don’t ever want to exercise on days that I drive to work.  I give myself 2 hours less sleep on nights preceding a 1 hour + commute to work.

And if I could be more rested through the day, just think what that might do for my ability to stick to my run schedule at night when I get home (’cause hells-no I’m not running in the morning!)

Suddenly I’m feeling very optimistic, especially for a Blue Monday.  Still really tired and ass-dragging, but optimistic…


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