Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Hello, morning.

A few weeks ago I made the decision to voluntarily wake at 5:30 a.m. Yes, yes, I did. Sounds crazy, right? The boys have finally found some satisfying form of sleep and there is no reason to rise at that ungodly hour. But I have been doing that twice a week. Why, you might ask? Because it is all about the endorphins.

I have always held to my yoga classes; given through my gym, but really quite good. I love the yoga and know it gives me balance and strength. Without it my back aches, my arms get heavy, I just do not feel centered. But one thing yoga does not give me is cardiovascular health. I do sweat in class, but it is not the same sweat as a heart pounding work out. And without the cardio, well, I do not see my waist getting any less present.

I decided to see what else the gym provides and found a spin class. You know, those crazy bike classes where an instructor takes you through an hour of various torturous circuits of riding accompanied by pounding music, all on a stationary bike. And the only time I was willing to give was the a.m. slot. The class at 5:45 a.m.

When I worked in L.A. many years ago I used to wake up at 5 every morning in order to catch the train and avoid any driving. I had forgotten what that time of day feels is so quiet, you feel intimately close to the sky and the day. I live close enough to walk to the gym, so after dragging myself out of bed and a quick sip of coffee and a bite of granola, I head out. The mornings are lightening, but it is still dim and hushed and really quite beautiful.

The class is a killer. I barely make it through the hour and rarely can keep up with all the commands to stand, run, hover and walk on your bike. But the soundtrack of Coldplay and the Offspring and the feel of the heart racing does something to me. It wakes me up, gets me going in a way I have not felt in ages, it seems. It makes me dizzy and happy and excited. Excited to see change and to feel it. And on the walk home, I feel the endorphin surge and ride it all day long.

I am coming to cherish these mornings. The solitude of the walk, the camaraderie in class between the early risers, the peppy teacher that knows my name and the walk home, when I contemplate the day ahead.

When I get home, my Mama is up with coffee brewing, we set the table for breakfast as we are trying to establish family meals, I have a few minutes to read or finish paperwork or plan a project. It feels good to reconnect to the morning and I have a feeling I will be in this class for a long time to come. It may not have the adrenaline rush of a single track downhill trail, but it is helping so many things; my waist, my heart and my mind.

I plan on grabbing the camera to get a few dawn shots but it may take some time to remember it. I love the morning but that does not mean I wake functioning.

You did not think I would use a picture of myself, up at dawn, sans make up and dressed in god knows what apparel trying to get to class on time, did you? Those are the seed flats, ready to awaken to their new days. I am so excited about them, it is a bit ridiculous. Mmmm, beets and carrots and tomatoes and lettuce and....


lori z said...

you go girl!

of late I've been going to bed later and letting myself sleep in until I'm ready to get up. i'm still sick, after 4 weeks of cold/allergy/sinus infection. hopefully it will clear up soon and I'll be on your early exercise program.

recently I did start tracking calories. I've always resisted that. but I decided if I cannot exercise, I can at least do that. I've been using Spark People, which is free. So far, I'm really happy with the set up. Its eye opening realizing how many calories (and grams of fat) is the food I eat.

I'm inspired by you!

Oh, and yeah, that time of morning is glorious!

lori z said...

One more thing: I don't know if you guys subscribe to Netflix, but I recently found out that in "instant view" they have exercise videos. some are cheesy. but there are multiple pilates and yoga videos.

LauraC said...

You just described how I feel after running. I wish I could run in a group but I love listening to my own thoughts and my NPR podcasts while I trudge along. In mothering, I often feel that I am in the moment but I am in the moment WITH people. Running is my time to be in the moment with myself.

Pete and Shelley said...

Aww, that sounds awesome! I did spin classes during the winters a few years back.....when I used to race mountain bikes. They are HARD!!!! Now we live out in BFE, so no gyms with spin classes. Maybe I just need to drag my butt out of bed, put my bike on the stationary trainer and do it!!!!!! I haven't done any mtn bike races since the babies were born, so that is a goal at the very back of my mind. We'll see..... :-)

Anonymous said...

You're so awesome!!

Okay, I must be doing something wrong, because I wake up at 5:30 and I'm not finding it nearly as delightful as you. Maybe it's because I'm getting ready for work and driving an hour thereafter. Yeah, not as many endorphins involved in that activity, I guess. ;) I REALLY need to get back into yoga. I just really don't know when. My schedule really blows.

Goddess in Progress said...

Go you! I may have to bite the bullet and do that, myself. I used to love spinning, and I think early morning is at least as likely as any other time. I've started waking up before the kids a few times recently (now that they're sleeping later), and it gives the day a whole different feel when I start it on my own terms.

Bea said...

Good Job!! I'm thinking about doing the same thing, I've been doing yoga, and spin, but I want to change my spin class to early morning since I'm back at work.

I love the feeling I get after an intense workout!

Gabrielle said...

That sounds wonderful - glad it is working so well for you. I wish I was a morning person but am just not - my husband is probably glad, as it means he gets to go for a run every day at 6am. Still, I do enjoy exercise and will have to find a way to fit it back in for my own peace of mind and waistline!

Lesley said...

I recently joined a gym and really want to try spin, but am SO scared that I won't be able to walk after. =) I started mat Pilates and so far I feel like you. Better, more focused, centered, and energized. You have given me the inspiration I needed to try my first spin class next week. Wish me luck!