Thursday, November 12, 2009

Musings: Nighttime Coach v. Morning Coach

Jerry Seinfeld claims that within everyone there's a "nighttime guy" and a "morning guy." The nighttime guy always screws over the morning guy. The nighttime guy wants to stay up late, have a couple more beers, finish watching the next eight episodes on the "Sopranos" DVD. The nighttime guy always tries to eat into the morning guy's time. The morning guy can't do much about this. He just has to deal with the consequences. It sounds funnier and wittier coming from Seinfeld, of course.

Well, I've got a nighttime coach and a morning coach within me. The nighttime coach is a hard ass, a retired Green Beret drill sergeant. Last night, he told me - no, he ordered me ... barked at me, actually - that I had to jump out of bed at 5:30 this morning, eat a little something, then get on the bike for a hard one-hour ride before work. I was to do this regardless of the weather. Simple orders, just do the ride. Right, sir. I got it.

But the alarm went off, and the morning coach was on duty. He's more like my mother. The first I heard from him was: "Hmmmm, sounds like it's raining outside. Maybe going out isn't a good idea." I went to the balcony and checked the weather. Nothing was coming down but we obviously had showers during the night, and I could see big puddles on the streets. The wimpy morning coach said, "Streets will be slippery. Could be dangerous." Then, the wimpy morning coach said, "How ya feeling? You're looking kind of tired. Maybe you should take the day off. Ride tomorrow instead. You don't want to catch anything." Hmmmm, I said, maybe you're right. Before I knew it, I was back in bed, drifting off to sleep.

An hour later at breakfast, I was hating myself for skipping the workout. I felt fine and would have been finishing the ride just about then if I would have tuned out the morning coach. The morning coach is most effective during the first 10 minutes after the alarm goes off. That's when I'm most vulnerable. If I can just get out of bed and start doing my routine, the morning coach begins to fade away. It's best if I just tell myself that if I do the ride, I'll feel great. The whole day will be better. The real trick is to keep an empty Zen mind for those first 10 minutes of the day. Just be. Don't think. Don't assess. Then take it from there.

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