Wednesday, January 27, 2010

But I don't wanna...

I would describe myself as a morning person. I could probably win a prize at sleeping in on the weekends, but I was a coxswain in high school and college (and recently coxed a race at Head of the Charles) and that called for early mornings - I'm talking awake at 4:45 a.m. and out the door at 5 a.m., all before coffee. Once I stopped coxing in college, I got pretty good at sleeping till the last possible minute before a 10 a.m. class, and mastered the art of sleeping till noon on weekends, but as soon as I started going to the gym last year I decided that if I was going to go, it would have to be in the morning, at least during the work week. NYSC is just too much of a zoo after work (though there are more attractive guys at the gym at night...hmm, decisions, decisions...).

I'm not a grumpy person (most mornings), and I usually snooze for five minutes after the initial alarm, then pop out of bed, throw on my clothes, grab a snack and head out the door, all before 6 a.m. But this morning? Oh man, this morning there was nothing I wanted more than to stay in my bed, reset that alarm from 5:30 to 7:30, and get back to that dream I was having about Johnny Depp. I found myself whining internally, saying, "But I don't WANNA get out of my bed, I wanna go back to Johnny! And I definitely do NOT wanna get on the treadmill!" God, how pathetic am I?

Finally, three snoozes and 30 minutes after the initial alarm went off, I got out of bed, pulled on my clothes (as slowly as possible) and dragged my butt to the gym. On my way I had an internal dialogue full of reasons I could go back: "Man, it's FREEZING! Did I feel a little pain in my left ankle? Probably shouldn't run on that... I probably forgot my iPod...oh, wait, no there it is in my pocket. My favorite treadmill will probably be taken..." And it went on. When I arrived, I was greeted with a waft of heat (no longer freezing), my imaginary pain disappeared (magical!), iPod and headphones were present (can't use that excuse anyway), and my treadmill was waiting for me. I had no more excuses, and had spent way more energy thinking them up than it would've taken me to get up the first time my alarm went off!

I went to bed with a plan for my run - a five miler with speed intervals. Honestly, I think that's at least partly what finally got me out of bed - knowing that there was something I had planned and wanted to accomplish. (Not gonna lie, I also wanted a good excuse to indulge in the free Mexican food we had at work today. Hehe.) I had a finite amount of time to accomplish my run before I had to be home and showered and on my way to work. The pressure was on!

And you know what? I had a really fantastic workout. My legs moved quickly, I felt good at the higher cadence, and I felt amazing afterward. Much as setting a goal helps me get going, knowing how good I will feel after a workout (especially a great workout) helps me even more. And no, not every workout feels fantastic, and of course, I struggle through two-milers from time to time...but as my very wise (and very fit!) father says, "Showing up is half the battle!" And as Elle Woods says, "Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!" Put them together and you've got a pretty good chance of getting something good done at the gym.

I think we've all had plenty of cases of the "But I Don't Wannas", and there will certainly be more to come, but what matters for me is showing up and going in knowing I'll feel better afterward. (And also knowing I'll be able to have an extra helping of guacamole.) I usually do try to have a positive attitude overall in life, but it goes for workouts, too. Much as we might wake up or get home from work and immediately begin dreading a workout, whether it's running a mile on the treadmill, doing 45 minutes on the elliptical, or erging the heck out of a 2k, we almost always feel better after we get it done. And we accomplish something. And that, my friends, feels pretty damn good no matter what it is. Even if your goal is to eat an entire burrito. But in that case, you might not feel so good afterward...

What gets you to the gym? Do you set goals? Do you hold yourself accountable in some way? Do you have any "But I Don't Wanna!" moments you turned around?


  1. It also feels really good to sit on a couch and eat an entire bag of salt & vinegar potato chips while watching Mythbusters.

  2. Ohhh Tom...but running is so good! However, so are salt & vinegar potato chips. Hmm, now I want some...

  3. I forgot to mention that potato chips are a lot more delicious than running 2 miles.

  4. True. Sweat is not as delicious as potato chips. But they're both salty! ;)