Struggling to find a better morning routine

Yesterday I woke up early and decided to go hiking before work. My plan was to start up the hill in the early morning, get a little exercise and perspective to start the day. But the logistics of it didn’t work:

 At 5:35 my alarm goes off — damn it’s really dark at 5:35. I check sunrise on the Internet: 7:33 — damn. I stall, make coffee, play with the cats and leave at 6am, determined, headlamp in tow. I’m headed to Spencer’s Butte, a wooded hill that overlooks Eugene from the South. It’s still pitch black when I get to the parking lot — even darker then when I left the house. I get out of my car, the only one in the lot, strap on my headlamp and start up the trail.

 About 3 seconds into my hike, I run into a yellow tape. There is construction on the trail and my puny headlamp only cuts through about 3 feet in front of me. I don’t even recognize the spot I’m standing in. What in the hell am I doing? The wind is whipping through the canopy above me. I feel like cougar bait. I turn around and run back to my car.

 I need a morning routine that is better than spilling out of bed, feeding cats and answering emails till coffee is ready. I could start going to the gym early, but that’s pretty sterile (and the gym is busy). I could get up and go running, but I have to face it, that’s not a self-perpetuating behavior. I dont’ get enough out of that and can’t force myself to do it.

 I had this idea that I’d be sitting on top of Spencer’s Butte every morning, writing in my notebook — like a Nicholson Baker Box of Matches thing. It’d be great. A thermos of coffee and a granola bar too! And I still don’t think that’s a bad idea, but the timing is off. I could rearrange my work schedule so I start at 9 or wait till summer to do it I guess. Thoughts?


About mstansberry

Matt Stansberry currently lives in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and son.
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6 Responses to Struggling to find a better morning routine

  1. Alex says:

    I think you need a buddy — someone or even something to keep you honest. Shadow would prefer that I took him for a run or walk in the morning instead of simply let him out (except for the subzero days here in New Englad) but he’ll let me slide.

    I don’t know if getting a dog is the answer — and to be fair, a puppy or hound is probably not a perfect fit for your fishing expeditions, at least not right away, but a hardy fellow traveler might help keep you feeling more secure about being cougar casserole or a bear breakfast bar

    If a buddy isn’t forthcoming, I dig cycling to work as a way to mix up runs with hiking, xc skiing or swimming, in season.

    I mostly agree about running… it’s not sustainable for me or my knees more than once or twice a week. Listening to podcasts or choosing routes in the most unspoiled nature handy have made it more palatable.

    I used to play more basketball and soccer; I don’t know if there’s a Y or the like near you but there might be a league.
    Beats gym ratting it.

    Or…you could cowboy up, strap on your gaiters, make sure you have extra headlamp batteries (along with a Bowie knife?) and head back up that trail the next morning.

    You can even bring a bell to keep away the beasties.

  2. David says:

    Check it…

    Read that article. I’ve kind of tried the work out. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. It’s only 15 minutes a day but it’s a struggle. If you can motivate yourself to get through it and keep going I think it might help you out. Let me know how it goes if you try it.


  3. You should go fishing before work!

  4. Stone says:

    You could do what we use to do…
    1. Wake up
    2. Rec center
    3. Giant Eagle
    4. Make an elaborate lunch (rember the dirty spinach?)
    5. Go to work
    6. Get Drunk
    7. Repeat

    I still pretty much follow this routine, 10 years later even.


  5. Pete says:

    The closest I can get to this ideal is a 20 minute walk from the train station through Hell’s Kitchen to my office. Not exactly good conditions for reflective solitude.

  6. Dude…
    you already are livin’ the workin’ (wo)man’s dream IMO…
    you gotta go and rub in the hikin’ thing before work? The only thing I’m hikin’ in the morning are my pantyhose up over my ass…

    quitcherbitchin 🙂

    but on another note, I totally hear ya and feel the same way…

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