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Shut up. Give me the coffee.

Car properly loaded to work and run the Road Race Series 10K – Shrine of Coffee, PB and Orange Marm sammie, tunes for the extra miles after the race (only one ear bud will be used for safety)

4:01 am.  56 degrees.

Every year, just when I give up hope, it happens.  It’s like Christmas, I finally decide that there really is no Santa and then I wake on Christmas morning.  Thursday:  103 degrees, 10 quadjillion% humidity.  Sunday: 56 degrees.  Still 97% humidity, so I’ll still sweat like an Arkansas hawg, but … it will be a clammy chilly sweat.  And, um, yay for that.

Here’s a surprise:  no matter what time I wake I’m not a morning person (pick your favorite, I couldn’t choose just one).  Back away, stay calm and leave a clear path to the coffee pot is all I ask.  Oh, and also, Shut UP.  I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to smile, I don’t actually want to breathe but that’s automatic, thank God.  Or maybe not.  Many people might be safer if I skipped breathing first thing in the morning.  Wake up, quit breathing, fall over.  Later, wake again.  It might work.

Do.  Not.  Suggest this to hubs.  He may take you up on it.

Hubs is like this: Deepest Darkest Night, alarm RINGRINGRINGRING and just as I think I will have to find a shotgun and scatter the F*ing thing into space he manages to find the button to turn it off.  Mind you, it’s the same button every damn morning, but somehow it seems to scoot to one end of the clock or the other randomly, never to be found two days in a row.

Over the years hubs has learned, and sometimes failed to remember, that I want to sleep.  Like, sleeping sleep.  Not like, “OK I’M GOING TO WORK NOW, BYE, Oh, sorry, DID I WAKE YOU?” sleep.  Because once you’ve attempted a conversation with someone, unless they are in a coma, under anesthesia or deaf then yes, YOU JUST WOKE THEM UP.  (Hubs has a hearing deficit.  I have to type loudly).  (I don’t have a hearing deficit.  I hear you in there, shaving and talking to the cat.)  (The cat is not going to answer you even if you continue to increase the volume of the conversation).  (Also, putting the cat in the shower and shutting the door does not work.  I can hear her mewing nonstop and you can, too, I know, because you keep saying, Just a MINUTE cat and I’ll let you out.  But, you don’t.)

I blame it on the 9+ months I spent without more than 3-4 hours sleep in a row, thank you so not, T1 and T2 although I know it’s not your fault that you didn’t like sleeping on your head all crammed in there together those last few months any more than I would have; altho the bed would have been more comfy for me than the recliner, it wasn’t about me.  And of course you shouldn’t be blamed for being hungry every few hours when you weighed about 6 pounds, altho it would have been nice had you timed your hunger pangs to coincide rather than splitting it up into 90 minute intervals.  This is all in the past however, and all that is left is a lingering and irrational desire not to be awakened.

As I’ve mentioned, the alarm clock has a warped sense of humor and takes delight in randomly working or not, so I set my phone alarm.  On Road Race Series mornings I’ve got to get up by 4:15am so I can get ready to run the race myself and also have all the registrations, packets, cash box, lists, etc., organized and loaded in the car.  Cat decided to be a nocturnal living alarm clock, however, and pounced on the pillow at 4:01 am.  There’s very little sense in trying to go back to sleep for 14 minutes so I got up and made coffee.  I thought something was wrong with the lights when I turned them on but then discovered I still had my eyes closed and was not, in fact, making coffee in the dark.  I was hopeful for a moment that I was sleep walking and not really awake, either, but discovered to my sorrow that I was indeed awake after a bit of hot coffee sloshed on me.  ouch.

Clutching a hot Go Cup of coffee, the Shrine of The Only Thing Right With The World At 5:15am safely buckled beside me, I head out in the cool dark morning to the race site.  I like this part, driving in the quiet early morning, hitting the freeway with the semi’s and a few out-of-state drivers apparently on vacation.  I think about where they may be going or have been. I’ve always loved driving in the dark, somehow feeling more connected to the greater world, the stars and the silence.  Well, except Thunderstruck just came up on 103 so now I have that blaring as I sip the nectar of coffee and head to the Farms.

This part I love, too – arriving at the race site in the 5:30am dark.  The finish line crew is already there, some are out on the course setting cones, some are getting the finish line set up.  This crazy bunch of nutjobs are not even all runners any more, due to injuries and issues, yet there they are, laughing, setting things up, playing jokes on one another.  Over the past 5-1/2 years of doing my job we’ve all shared ups and downs, we’ve laughed together, cried together.  They are there long before the race starts and long after the last runner crosses the finish line; they are my second family.

The stars slowly fade as the sun peeks up over the park.  There is mist rising off the ponds and I see the horses from the stable jogging along the fence as they see the runners begin to line up behind the start.  Runners stretch out in front and behind me, a rainbow of multi-hued tech shirts and hats, Garmins beeping as they locate the Mother Ship, feet shuffling.

I see Lane climb the stepladder with the bullhorn.  “GOOOOOOOOOOOD MOOOOOOOOOOORNING RUNNNNNNNNNNNNNERS!” he shouts.  The race is on, the day begins.

September 12, 2010 – the horses raced along the fence as the runners took off.  Photo Credit John Bookas.

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14 thoughts on “Shut up. Give me the coffee.

  1. Ha! I think you and I have the same husband! He simply cannot find the alarm button, no matter how many times he’s turned off the darn thing. It’s upsetting.

    I think if you can get up and run, you’re more of a morning person than many other people out there, you Racer Girl, you!

  2. I envy your job. It sounds invigorating. As for my wife’s last comment–it’s a running joke in our house that I cannot set the alarm (I can), and I can never find the off button (sadly this is so very true). While the buttons don’t move, I swear their functionality shifts (I think it’s a candid camera clock radio). I’m scared I’m going to be one of those people who hit the gas pedal while looking for the brake–it might be the same disease.
    Please don’t tell me you manage all that coffee and manage to run–that bad boy is huge.

  3. I love my job 99% of the time. Today the RRS results didn’t get posted to the website correctly and judging by the emails and FB posts you would think the world is ending NOW because the pace was calculated incorrectly. Obviously, altho we post results every weekend, this will be the one time we are incapable of correcting anything. Take a chill pill, peeps, if a local 10K keeps you out of Boston we’ll write a letter.

    I agree on the alarm buttons. I think the adrenalin released when the things go off must have something to do with it.

    Nope, didn’t drink it all, just a couple cups – and it’s half caf or I’d probably levitate!

    • We have a little neighborhood race/tri twice a summer, and I will be taking on responsibilty for the timing. Do you know of any software packages (cheap or free) that do this? I’ve tried webscorer, but it does not do wave starts – Thanks in advance.

      • I’m going to do some checking around, I’ve emailed our results guy to see if he has any ideas.

        • Daryl, the first two suggestions I got were Runscore or Race Director but
          they are both around $300, I don’t know if that’s cheap or not. I’m still checking around.

          • $300 is high for a fun neighborhood race. I might try and give each wave a independent number (prefix) and just adjust the finish times in Excel based on the difference in time between starts. Thanks for checking.

            • No prob – I wonder if you could find it used somewhere? Also I asked another of the FL guys and he replied with this info, which I’ll pass along just in case, altho I suspect you already know this.

              “In order to answer that question a person would need to know what timing equip. and volunteers he has available. He could do a small race with display clocks (or stopwatches), bib numbers and ‘tic sheets’. He could probably make up or maybe find a spreadsheet to add up the cumulative times. Races like this usually do a ‘time trial start’ if it’s a pool swim so getting people in the pool at the right time is key.”

  4. The best thing about being retired is I don’t ever HAVE to get up! Course Lovely Rita doesn’t realize I’m retired, so when I’m still shut-eye at 5:01 she has an anxiety attack and repeatedly taps 5 teeny (but very sharp) claws on my eyelid until, yes, I HAVE to get up. lol….sorta…..

  5. Awesome! Laugh-out-loud read-to-the-husband-who-thinks-I’m-bonkers fun.
    Still your biggest fan! Too stalkerish?

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