These aren’t questions that cross my mind daily. Not in the least. There are too many excel sheets and final draft documents taking up room in my brain. But recently, after a spout of 4:00 AM wake up calls, I got to thinking about the decisions we make in the name of progress.
A clock that reads 4:00 AM is a symbol of dedication. It reminds me of waking up each morning to get in a run when I was training for the American River 50. It reminds me of getting up and heading to the gym to swim and run in preparation for IMCDA. Currently, it signifies rising on the weekends to go biking in Malibu (Sat) and get in a training run (Sun) before TNT practice.
Admittedly I do not do the most smiling or laughing before the sun comes up. My motions are slow, infantile. Coffee helps the cause, but like anyone else, in the 15 minute window when it hasn't kicked in, I'm all angry-eyes.
I don't jump out of bed and onto my bike. I trip and fall into it more often. I put my spandex on backwards once or twice before getting it right.
I leave my apartment without my watch, have to go get it. Then I forget my HR monitor. Back and get that. Get my bottles or socks I've also forgotten. It's a lame, zombie dance until I wake up. But I can't let it stop me. Progress in the face of ...sleepy-face.
4:00 AM is not a time. It’s a pattern of behavior. Perseverance exemplified. Choosing immediate discomfort for the reward of a much greater feeling later on. I will get out of bed because I promised myself I would. I am determined to bank time on the bike/pavement/pool before my other obligations come calling. Because ultimately, persistence makes me happy. And a happier me means that I am better at helping others.
So what is your 4:00 AM? Is it a medal from a race? A picture of a finish line? Is it a pair of goggles by your gym bag? A coffee mug? A picture of your family? A pair of socks?
Whatever little sign, memento or time of day captures your own sense of determination, take it and plant it in sight in the most figurative and literal ways. See it clearly, live it as best you can, and keep moving forward.
Because there is a whole lot of living that goes on at 4:00 AM.
Final Thought:"It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." Sir Edmund Hilary
Latigo Canyon: In order to get this view, you have to climb 10miles/2000ft at 5:30 AM. It’s worth it.