This is the scene that unfolds every single morning in the Shaman household:
4.42: Shaman lying in bed, sleeping.
4.47: Cat number one goes to the litter tray, poops, tries to cover up its poop, misses and ends up clawing the wall, the floor, the cardboard box that contains the tray. Everything but the sand in the tray. Produces a lot of noise.
4.48: Shaman covers head with pillow to drown out the noise. Feels blood pressure rising.
4.51: Cat is still digging on cardboard. Noise leaks in through the pillow.
4.52: Blood pressure gets dangerously high. Brain starts an automatic, subconscious effort to send Shaman back to sleep by flooding itself with thoughts.
4.53: Thoughts chosen by brain are not calm, happy thoughts, about summer meadows bathed in golden sunlight and birds chirping, a puppy licking my face or a walk through the woods. Thoughts chosen by brain are about what needs to be done at work on that particular day and the laundry that is piling up in the laundry basket. Something obviously wrong with brain.
4.54: Brain is far from asleep. Brain is more awake than ever. Shaman gives up, gets up to make some breakfast.
4.59:00: Shaman sits down with a cup of coffee and some delicious yoghurt, ready to enjoy the most peaceful moment of the day.
4.59:01: Cat number two goes to the litter tray.
Every. Single. Morning.
Sleeping in is an alien concept for me. I know babies who sleep in longer than me. I'm used to it, and let's face it, I am a morning person, so I don't usually suffer from it. Not that I don't need to sleep in sometimes. Having just recently increased the quality runs from one per week to two, my body needs the sleep to repair itself.
Last night, hill repeats were on the AIK schedule. 36 runners met up to run up and down a 700-metre long hill as fast as possible. I managed to do 4,5 repeats before the 30 minutes of effective training were up. It was hard work, especially while trying to keep all the contents of my stomach in my stomach. As with last Thursday's training, I paired up with a couple of runners I thought I was of pretty much equal ability to, which helped me to keep an even pace and make it to the top each time without drowning my thigh muscles in lactic acid.
The thing that amazes me the most is how quickly my body is adapting to different forms of training. Less than a year ago, during the first Wednesday trail run of the season (which includes many tough climbs), I had to walk up most of the hills. This year, I can't wait for the challenge. I know I will do better. Especially if my cats let me sleep longer in the mornings.