I’m not a natural morning person.
Nocturnal productivity runs through the women in my family. My Mom and Grandma both have notorious night owl tendencies and my natural pattern of behavior in my early twenties was that of a late-to-bed, help late-to-rise. It’s a long standing joke with my friend Lisa that we planned the 2005 Kin Games in their entirety between 9:00pm- 1:00am. We joke – but it’s not a joke – that’s actually when we did almost all our planning.
Waking before 6:00am was limited only to taking flights – that’s it.
In the early years of triathlon I got away swimming at noon or after work. This suited my late-to-bed lifestyle perfectly. As I added more workouts, help and my work became increasingly demanding, I noted that I would have to swim in the mornings if I wanted to fit everything in. Begrudgingly I began getting up early to swim.
I hated it.
Hated the dark, and hated the cold. I hated plunging myself into that pool while it was dark and cold. I hated the first 1,000 meters of swimming. I hated getting out of the pool when it was still dark, and now I was cold. I was wet, it was dark, I was cold.
Several months passed and this attitude stuck. I began to understand that if I chose to continue pursuing triathlon (or literally any version of endurance sport) I was going to need to train in the morning.
I considered this: if I couldn’t change the swim workout time, the dark, or the cold, what could I change to make the difference? Shift in attitude, certainly. Something else? I couldn’t change the time, or the dark, but I could do something about the cold.
Now when I get out of the pool I immediately wrap myself in a towel, and when I’m in the locker room post-shower I wrap myself in a second (totally dry) towel. This two-towel system has enhanced my morning swim happiness in a way I can’t even explain.
Morning swims are a fixture in my routine and have been for years. I use the two-towel system to great success, with much less loathing than before. It often makes me wonder, when faced with another situation anywhere in life where I feel hate, loathing or disgust, how could I apply the simplicity of adding a second towel to change the entire outlook of this?
I’m always looking for the second towel solution.