Mornings have always been my favourite part of the day. This was always the case and surprisingly so even when I was drinking heavily – despite being in a complete fog and feeling like death, I always appreciated the glory of first light. Hangovers often robbed me of my love for morning coffee (it made me even dizzier) but even back in those days I loved mornings the most. Perhaps it’s the promise of a new day, I don’t know. A little bit like spring time maybe, when everything comes to life.
Needless to say, since I’ve been sober every last part of my life has improved enormously and my mornings are now absolutely freaking fantastic! No matter how tired I might be or how hard it was to get out of bed, mornings are the most precious time for me. This was a crappy one, as it happens. I went to bed a bit later than normal (I like to be tucked in not too far north of 10pm) and perhaps that hour was what made the difference. I pressed snooze at least five times (as opposed to twice) and getting up felt like an effort. If only today were a duvet day! This is the thing though, now that I think about it – getting up was a bit shitty but once I was upright that was it! Put on coffee and had a shower. Sure, I felt a bit meh and not as bouncy perhaps as I usually feel, but this is just it – I still felt well, I felt healthy and I felt strong. Just a tiny bit sluggish perhaps.
The message here? A sluggish Sober Me morning is still infinitely better than a “good” Drunk Me morning. Even my most tired, crappiest, rubbish mornings these days totally eclipse even the very best ones I had when I was drinking. In fact, you can’t even compare the two. Yes, I know this is all obvious but I need to focus on these things sometimes. Really remember how awful I’d often feel in comparison with now and how the worst I feel now is still miles and miles better than the best I felt back then. Isn’t it mad?
So I’m back into running. I freaking love it! Even when it’s shitty and I nearly keel over I love it! My favourite runs are those when I feel strong, my breathing is right and comes easy and my stamina seems to be herculean. Hahaha, I just read that sentence back and realised that the picture I just painted you could be easily misconstrued. When I allude to strength and stamina, I am telling you how I feel, not what I am – where I am at now is good for ME. Others may very well look at my pace per kilometre and snigger because fast I ain’t! I can just about keep on jogging for an hour – this is good going for ME but lots of people run half and full marathons and an hour’s leisurely jog won’t seem like much to them and certainly not like stamina of herculean proportions. Just thought I’d point that out! So anyway, point is I love running the most during those (for me) long runs that feel really, really good. The ones I like less are the ones where my breathing is all over the place, I feel all out of rhythm and it’s just a struggle the whole way.
In my head, rubbing shoulders with all my other dreams and images, is the idea of early morning runs. Take a weekend morning, running through the beautiful park across the road from us when the morning mist is still caressing the fields and it’s just me, a handful of early bird dog walkers and the fallow deer – BLISS! That’s when I want to have those feel-good runs when I can do 10k and enjoy it. There’s just something so appealing and attractive about running in the morning. Sexy, even. Again, folks – I can assure you that ‘sexy’ is not a term that could be used to describe me when I’m running, I’m just referring to the idea of morning runs, which to me is a little sexy. I just love the thought of it, getting this slightly wobbly body of mine moving and my heart pumping and then take on the day.
You’d think, wouldn’t you, based on me being a morning person this would be the perfect time for me to go running? Nope.
Can’t fucking do it. The times I’ve tried I’ve just not managed – body feels like lead, I can’t breathe and it’s just torture. Not very sexy at all. Despite being this (usually) cheerful and energetic morning person who loves bouncing up crazy early, morning runs don’t work for me. You’d think it’d be the optimum combo, no? Well, it isn’t. After checking with friends much fitter than I am, it’d appear it IS harder to run in the mornings than it is in the evenings. I don’t know if this just happens to be me and those friends, but at least it isn’t just me because that’d really piss me off. I am THE morning person – it’d be a slap in the face! I guess those weekend mornings can be long walks instead.
The main thing about running is that I love how good it makes me feel but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping to tone up and slim down a little too. You see, I’m one of those unfortunate drunks who didn’t lose any weight when I stopped drinking. In spite of me cutting out over 7,000 calories per week by binning the vino, I didn’t not just not lose weight, I piled it ON! You know, I’m not THAT pissed off actually. Jokingly I’ll make a big deal of it but if a little fat is all I got by way of draw backs of quitting the booze, bring it on baby! I did cut myself some slack and figured if putting insane amounts of sweets and chocolate into my face in the beginning made it easier somehow then so be it. However I did go a little overboard (in fact I might sink the damn ship) and got a bit podgy, so once I was through a couple of months I began taking long, brisk walks almost every day – both because I love walking and because I wanted to get the podge back under control as I was struggling to get into my clothes.
In the summer Hubby and I did a marathon hike and after our holidays I attempted becoming a gym bunny but only discovered I hated it. Being Sober Me, I did actually give it a good shot unlike Drunk Me who’d make one half baked attempt and then pack it in. Unfortunately, after two months or so of diligently going twice a week and religiously following a full program I realised I just didn’t enjoy it. Even the sense of accomplishment afterwards didn’t make it worth it. I just don’t enjoy the gym, sorry. And so I got back into running, something I knew I love and that’s where we are now. I’m probably at this moment roughly the same size I was when I stopped drinking but with the glaring difference that I’m healthy and reasonably fit. Again – healthy and fit for ME. I’m going to add in walks those days when I don’t go for a run and it’s still for the same reasons – it makes me feel so, so good and hopefully it’ll tone me up a little.
The one thing I will not do is cut back on eating. OK, so stuffing myself full of sweets is one thing and certainly I’ve slowed down in that respect, but I have a hearty appetite and I love food. I can’t bear the smaller portion approach and I positively HATE feeling deprived and hungry. No way, José. So I figure plenty of exercise, bit less of the sweets and chocolate and if I remain on the cuddly side then so be it. As long as I feel strong and healthy and have those lovely endorphins going, the rest doesn’t matter so much – it’s just vanity, really. Luckily Hubby seems to appreciate even my wobbly bits and although my backside has it’s own time zone I sit very comfortably, ta very much.
JUST LOOK AT THAT, WILL YOU! The biggest lush of them all is yapping on about exercise! I just wrote a long post about the merits of different types of exercise and that’s just fucking absurd!! It actually made me giggle (my boss happened to walk past and I had to pretend someone had just sent me a funny text!) out of sheer joy and amazement. This is what sobriety does – it turns you into the best you. And currently the best me can at a slow pace wobble along for about 10 kilometres without having to stop and walk. Oh, sweet victory!
I still want to be an early morning runner though so there will have to be a way to get my body to agree it’s a fabulous idea…
Today I’m not going to drink.