That Moment You Realize Your World Is Upside Down

This morning I sit here, terribly shaken.  To the core.  It’s like everything I’ve known to be true, the very essence of who I am, has all been shaken.  Two key events in the last twelve hours have totally destroyed any confidence I have in how well I really know myself.

It starts last night, watching the Broncos and the Ravens.  Yes, I live in Denver but no, my world does not revolve around the Broncos.  My favorite team plays on Saturdays.  I had always been sort of an anti-fan when it comes to the Broncos because the fans, especially some of the talk show guys, were just a bit arrogant.  Maybe a lot arrogant.  I probably never really started caring much about if the Broncos won until all of the experts around here were so convinced the team was screwed because Tim Tebow was the quarterback – not sure if I was cheering so much for the team or even for Tebow as much as I was cheering against the attitude of a lot of the fans.  And then Peyton Manning joined the team, and now I do root for the team because of him.  

All of that really isn’t explaining my whole crisis for this morning though, does it?  Sorry.  Whether or not I’m a Bronco’s fan is probably irrelevant, but I love football and love to watch a good game no matter who is playing.  Last night was the opening game for the whole season, it was an interesting game, the Bronco’s were pulling ahead, and looked like they were going to put it away when Danny Travathan intercepts a pass and runs it in.  Only the clown starts celebrating before crossing the goal line and drops the ball.  No one anywhere near him and the idiot fumbles the ball.

Love a duck.

Oh man I was ticked.  It dawned on me that I wasn’t mad about the play itself.  It was more like the moment he started running that ball in I was thinking sweet!  This game is over, I can go to bed, and then this clown screws it all up, shifts the momentum, and Baltimore might be right back in this game.  I didn’t want the game to get interesting, I wanted to go to bed.  

I know, that doesn’t seem really dramatic, does it?  This is not the stuff of struggles and crisis and all that.  

This morning, I wake up, about the usual 5 AM thing.  I get the dogs up, slog upstairs, make some coffee, go out for my run.  One thing about going for a run is, it gets blood pumping, and after a bit of time of blood pumping into the brain, all of a sudden you are able to think and recognize things.

I.  Got.  The.  Dogs.  Up.  It was me who woke them up.

I know, again, not really the stuff of existential angst, is it?  

You don’t understand.  I am not a morning person.  I’m the guy who knows the exact moment I have to wake up to do all that has to be done and leave for work to get there precisely on time.  I know this so that I can sleep past that moment and scramble to make up time somewhere along the way.  Yes, for several months now I’ve been getting up early, but I know I’ve mentioned this before:  it’s because of the bark alarm.  They wake up at 5, they beg to be let out, and since I’m already up I may as well get my run in, right?  

But it’s me who’s getting them up now.  This isn’t the first time.  

Do you see my crisis?  These are some very core foundational things about who I am, part of the very essence of my being, man.  I’m a huge football fan.  I’m a late sleeper.  This is who I am.  This is the kind of stuff that defines me.

These things have worked together well for the vast majority of my 50 years on this planet.  Staying up to see the end of that late night game went hand in hand with sleeping in.  I watch football then sleep, and sleep long.  

I don’t shut off games early to go to bed.  I don’t get up at 5 voluntarily when I don’t have to be at work until 8.  THAT IS NOT WHO I AM!

But here I am now a few weeks away from the half marathon.  Sunday we’re doing 9 miles.  The mid week runs are getting a bit longer.  By the time I get up, get my coffee, do my run, get cleaned up (when you get as sweaty as I do, getting cleaned up to the point of being presentable for work is a bit time consuming)…  There’s no choice but to get up early.  And getting sleep is important, so I can’t stay up for the whole game.  It just doesn’t work.  

And that’s where the crisis comes in.  I used to think those people who got up at 5 AM to run were insane.  And now I’ve become one of them.  To the point where it’s interfering with football, of all things!  

I don’t even know who I am any more.  What other things about myself have I always taken for granted but might not be true?  

This.  Scares.  Me.


About Ron Walter

I'm just a guy who was so out of shape he couldn't run to get out of the rain. I'm taking my life back. It's not always perfect, not always successful. The victories though are greater than the defeats. I plan to keep it that way.
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9 Responses to That Moment You Realize Your World Is Upside Down

  1. Reva Benefiel says:

    I realize it’s chump change compared to a marathon, but I’m going to be doing a 2-mile tomorrow morning. I won’t be running it, but we will walk fast. I’m tempted to be a little embarrassed because I’m not in shape to run it yet, but I have to remind myself that two years ago I was doing well to make it up and down the stairs in my house. Also, I get a shirt.

    So I get what you’re saying. Sometimes the “little” changes end up being the biggest ones. Keep up the good work.

  2. SoWhatIRun says:

    Huge Ravens fan here. Only saving grace for me last night was that I did go to bed before the second half so that I can get up early for training. Thank goodness for training! Otherwise, I would’ve witnessed the clobbering.

    • The game was closer than the score. If not for some drops here and there, I think it could have easily gone the other way. Denver caught some breaks. I was a Colts fan from their days in Baltimore – became an Orioles fan because of it. Was glad to see the Ravens go the distance once that first round game was done with – especially glad to see New England NOT go the distance.

  3. That’s not chump change. I think you’re right on to remind yourself because the most important comparison is to yourself. There’s a book we’re supposed to read for this class called the Compound Effect – it’s not really a running book but it’s really about how making small changes and keeping them up over time only seem to have small affects if any, but you continue with them over time and it starts to become pretty amazing. I think there’s something to that. There are times where progress seems minimal, but when it’s building on other progress, you come to a point and look back and say wow, have I really come this far?

    • Reva Benefiel says:

      As it turns out, we only walked about half the time. Now I have a paper number and an official time, and I already want to go again. Doing better than yesterday’s self has to become my new definition of winning.

  4. Denny says:

    I can totally relate.

    I was never a morning runner, but running in Florida in the summer changes you in a hurry. Still am not excited when the alarm goes off at 4 am on a Saturday morning, but you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes.

    And secretly, I may actually even look forward to those long, early morning runs. Just don’t tell anyone, please.

  5. Jenna Yu says:

    So, is it easy to wake up at 5 now? Thats awesome. I’m still trying to get used to it and I don’t think I ever will. I have to be at work by 6am. Morning is without a doubt the best time to run and I miss it. If I want to run in the mornings I have to get up at 3:30 ish and that’s just not happening. Those people are crazy…but maybe I’ll give it a shot this week.

  6. It is easier now, and I’m not really sure why. At first I thought maybe it was just because I’ve gotten used to it, but I know that I’ve had periods where I had to get up regularly at an early time like that for an extended period of time and it never really did get easier. I think that the thing for me is that I’ve started to enjoy those early mornings. When the dogs first started doing this early morning whining to go out thing I was ready to find a new home for them. So I’d start the coffee, sit out on the patio and read or something and suddenly it was like, this is really nice. So it’s kind of become me time where I can enjoy the peace, whether running or sitting out reading. I think maybe why I always hated getting up early in the past was because it was something I had to do. When it has turned into something I enjoy doing, that seems to make all the difference. It probably helps that there’s nothing on TV any more that I want to stay up late for unless it’s football, so going to bed early isn’t such an imposition either.

  7. I hear you. This has happened to me too! Training for a race has seen me give up my sleep in mornings (we have 4 kids so me and my husband take turns) just so that I can get up and go for a run early and be back in time for breakfast. I have started flaking out on the couch at 8:30pm and taking myself to bed instead of 11pm – shock horror! When I am up early I am not rushing around trying to get things ready, I have time to breathe, chuck on a load of washing and smile at the kids instead of yelling at them to hurry up all the time. Who knew early mornings could be so great huh! Bet you feel amazing after your run and at 9am feel like you’ve accomplished something for the day – awesome!

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