As little kids, we often depend on our parents to wake us up in the morning. I recall my mother coming to the top of the stairs to call out in her cheery voice, “Time to get up!”
But sooner or later we have to take over those responsibilities for ourselves. We have all kinds of gadgets now to help us. Phones and the like. Unless you forget to set the alarm, there’s no way you should be late anywhere.
Those of us who train for endurance sports often depend on those alarms to get up in time for workouts. My fiance is a notable early riser. Lately, I’ve not been so good about it. I’m working through a series of obligations having to do with family stuff and work. It takes mental energy and I’m giving it that. So I sleep in until 7:00 a.m. most mornings.
Admit it. That’s sleeping in for most of us. Staying in bed until 8:00 is simply not an option for most of the world. But for endurance athletes, who often rise at 4:30 to go swim or hit the treadmill or bike trainer in the dead of winter, even 7:00 a.m. sounds like a luxury. Even on weekends we get up at seemingly insane hours. Long runs. Big rides. Open water swims in cold, choppy water. What are you, nuts?
Add in work obligations and squeezing in workouts can be tough. You need a routine that is predictable and replicable to get you out the door to the car or the train for that morning commute.
This morning I woke up and glanced over to see a radio alarm clock that has sat on my bedstand for more than thirty years.That old clock/radio was given as a wedding present back in 1985. It has a radio and a cassette player in it. Both still work. Even the digital (whooo!) numbers indicating the time still work.
Note that’s it’s not even set to the appropriate time of day. When the power goes out, as it did recently, the clock needs to be reset. It was given as a wedding present back in 1985. It has a radio and a cassette player in it. Both still work. You can set the alarm several ways. It can wake you up with a long loud tone or with music. And for many years, that’s how the thing did its duty.
I ultimately converted to my Timex watch as a tool to wake up in the morning. In the last 20 years, I’ve been through many of Timex watches. I’d replace the batteries but the screws are so tiny on the back of the watch they are just about impossible to replace on your own. Jewelers just laugh at you when you bring those Timex watches into the store. “It’s a $25 watch,” they chuckle. “Go get a new one.”
Such is the world of ultimate obsolescence. I think through all the things discarded or lost in my life and it seems like one long trail of squander and misuse. Some things lost I truly regret. Somehow I misplaced a Patagonia rain jacket I’d purchased this winter on a sale rack. It was a really good deal. But it was left behind somewhere. Again, I have that habit too. One of my Eddie Bauer coats hung in the church narthex for five years until I remembered that I’d left it there. There it still hung. Untouched.
Much of this happens by accident. We can lose prized objects so quickly. One minute you own them and the next minute you’ve dropped them or left them at the coffee house. I left an iPhone charger cord at Starbucks the other day. It has my initials on it, and my phone number. But no one called. People now assume the world is disposable and dispensable. Finders Keepers, remember? When was the last time you actually got something back from a Lost and Found?
It’s true that we lose many material things. Yet we can also lose things far more precious. Our health is what comes to mind. Our relationships too. Our loved ones. Our work. Our faith. Our hope. None of these is typically so disposable, or obsolete. It’s one of the tarsnakes of existence that the things we most value in life are often so intangible.
It’s a warning, in a sense, not to let your days become disposable as well. Morning is a precious time. Getting up every day is a gift. Don’t take it for granted. If you’re lucky enough to be able to run, ride and swim, enjoy it. Don’t beat yourself up if you fail in some way. Give yourself a pat on the back for getting up and doing it. It’s so easy to let it slide. You deserve encouragement.
Use that little phrase if you need it, to motivate yourself. “Time to get up!”
Somehow it still seems to work.
TRAIN HARD. COMPETE WELL.