The Long Run That Was a Long-ish Run Instead

Hi friends – happy Friday!

Matt and I have friends coming into town this weekend to stay with us (yay!), so I decided to try to get my long run (I’m training for the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in June) out of the way this morning.


I met up with my buddy Sokphal bright and early at 6:30 a.m. to get in the miles. She said she was down to do 8-ish of my planned 12 miles with me. Sweet! You guys know I don’t particularly enjoy running alone. :)


Sokphal and I decided to do a big loop – down the Mt. Vernon trail and into DC.


There was a TON of action going on downtown this morning – especially considering how early it was! At the Jefferson Memorial on the Tidal Basin, we found the Naval Academy commissioning ceremony being set up.


Over by the Capitol, an event for National Police Week was being set up.


On the National Mall, there was all sorts of construction going on.


And over by the Washington Monument, the George Washington University graduation ceremony was being set up. This is what their view will be during the ceremony – cool!


About 40 minutes into the run and I decided to bust out the fuel I brought with me. I ordered some of these Untapped pure maple syrup sport gels online last week and was excited that they arrived in time for today’s run! They are literally just 100% pure organic maple syrup. Neat idea, right? I was so intrigued!


Well, unfortunately as much as I love pure maple syrup in my baked goods, on my breakfast foods, and in drinks (especially lattes, like Matt’s Cinnamon Maple Latte, and in homemade sports drinks – I have a recipe coming in a week or so for that!), I wasn’t a huge fan of it on its own as a running fuel. It was SOOOOOO sweet. I think I’ll be sticking to my dates with nut butter or regular sport gels from now on… but it was worth a shot! The rest of the packets will go towards our normal maple syrup needs instead. :)


Anyway! It was great catching up with Sokphal, but I was feeling suuuuper tired on this morning’s run thanks to a pretty action-packed fitness week, including a great hill/speed workout yesterday.

By the time we got back to Sokphal’s place, we had covered 8.35 miles and honestly, the thought of running another 3.65 by myself seriously sounded terrible. My legs were SO tired, and so was I. You guys know I’m a big believer in working on positive mental game, and in pushing through when running is tough, but this morning I was just NOT feeling it. So you know what? I decided to stop and call it a day. Missing out on a few miles of one long run is not a big deal in the scheme of things, and I’m generally not one to bail, so I decided in the interest of keeping running a happy and positive thing for me that today it made sense to listen to my legs and quit while I was ahead. Has anyone else had days like that?

Apparently I was so tired I didn’t even realize my camera focused on my feet instead of my watch. Oops!


The other reason I’ve been so tired lately, which I’d love some advice on, is this adorable fluffy creature.

cutest cat ever

Obviously Matt and I love Zara a lot, but she has been driving us crazy at night. She’s gotten into the habit of waking us (or sometimes just me) up at around 4:30 a.m. every morning wanting to play/rampage around/be loud/etc, and doesn’t really give up until my alarm goes off. I think part of it is she probably needs more attention during the day, even though we do play with her when we’re home a fair amount. She’s just super high energy! We’ve tried shutting her out of the bedroom at night, but she claws the door/carpet outside our bedroom, and it makes us sad to not have her in there. So, another idea we had was we are actually considering getting another cat to keep her company, especially since we’re gone during the day a fair amount and feel bad that she’s all alone. The idea would be that they would play together a ton and wear each other out… although I’m sure we run the risk that the cats will hate/avoid each other, too. What do you think? Any tips/advice on a) getting her to leave us alone at night, or b) whether getting another cat helps?

Time to finish up work – our friends will be arriving soon! Have a great weekend, everyone! :)


  1. 1

    I think getting a second cat may be just what Zara needs. Cats are pretty social and it also makes it easier on them to be home with a companion when you’re gone for several days on vacation. Plus- playmate! You might consider looking into fostering so that you can see how Zara would respond to another cat without the commitment at first. That way if it doesn’t work, you were just a temporary home anyway.
    Does she have 24 hour access to food? Our cats don’t for weight-management reasons so one of them is notorious for waking us up at 4 or 5 in the morning because she’s hungry.

    • 2

      I just heard about fostering recently – that’s a really good idea in case it doesn’t work out! She does have 24 hour access to food – Zara eats mostly dry food (we used to give her wet, too, but she likes the dry better and it’s easier so we just do that now mostly) and there’s usually a little in her bowl all the time, so it’s not a food thing…

  2. 3
    Johanna B says

    My 14 year old cat wakes me up between 2 and 2:30AM. I’ve just gotten used to it. I get up, put food in his bowl and he’s a happy camper until the alarm goes off at 4AM.

  3. 4

    I have a half coming up on Sunday and the longest I have run is 7 miles. It should make for an interesting race…definitely will be able to write a bunch of posts about it no matter what happens!

  4. 6

    Thank goodness we have a cat who likes to sleep long after we wake up! haha I would not be able to handle being woken up at 4:30. I hope you guys figure out a solution that works for you and Zara. Is she allowed allowed on your bed? I’m a back sleeper and Punkin loves to curl up on my chest and sleep until I have to wake up and then take my spot on the bed. If it wouldn’t be super weird for you to have a cat curled up on you, I think it gives Punkin together time with me while I still get my rest!

  5. 8

    Our cat also goes through periods where he wakes us up every day between 4:30 and 5. If shutting your cat out of the bedroom is not an option (maybe just when she does it in the morning?), one thing that has worked for us is to make sure we feed our cat before bedtime (we realized he was waking us up because he was hungry). We have also found that ignoring him, although super difficult, does lead to him giving up on trying to get us up. We also try to give him lots and lots of praise when he DOESN’T wake us up (“do this…not that”).

    Also, as much as we humans love the idea of our cat having a cat friend to hang out with during the day, I’ve read that often times this is pretty stressful for our cats to lose out on some of their own “territory” to another cat. It can lead to a lot of negative competitive behaviors between the cats – not just physical fighting, but also not using the liter box properly and fighting for food/attention. If you do decide to get another cat, there’s some great resources out there for how to best introduce a new cat to the family, like
    Good luck!

  6. 10

    My cat was doing this to me, and when I tried to do research on how to calm him down I discovered that 4:30 AM is kind of a cat’s natural wake-up time – they’re corpuscular animals, and so dawn is when they’re the most active. So in order to fix it, you have to tire them out during the day, so that you reset their clock. I bought a laser pointer and a few times a day – especially at night before bed – I would play with him until he was panting and worn out or lost interest. That really helped, and now he sleeps through the night most of the time. I also started feeding him a little morning snack of wet food right when I get up. Now that he’s settled into that routine, he knows he’s not getting fed until I get out of bed, and he’s more content to wait. Forget about ever sleeping past his normal feeding time though!

    • 11

      We have noticed that days we really make a point to seriously tire Zara out – like you said to the point of panting, losing interest – that she does sleep better. We need to get better about making sure to give her a TON of play time, I think, to solve this problem!

  7. 12
    Chris Anne says

    Hi! I def recommend getting another kitten. BC my Sonoma was the same way when she was a kitten. I ended up having to lock her out of the bedroom when I slept b/c she would do the same thing as a kitten or purr so loudly/lick herself that it would wake me up. I had enough! (I’ve had her 15 years now). Once she gets out of that kitten/toddler/child stage it’s better. I do wish I would have gotten her a buddy, but she’s just too old now and getting her a buddy now would stress her out.

  8. 14

    My first thought was feeding. Do you feed her in the morning? Our cat started waking us up earlier and earlier because we have her half of her food in the morning. Another cat could help? Our cat was totally fine with our dog but when we moved in with my sister temporarily, the cats fought like crazy. My sister’s cat had been on her own for a long time and very much preferred that.

    • 15

      Zara eats mostly dry food (we used to give her wet, too, but she likes the dry better and it’s easier so we just do that now mostly) and there’s usually a little in her bowl all the time, so it’s not a food thing, I don’t think…

  9. 16
    Libby Oed says

    I think Zara might learn not to do it, if you were consistent with not responding. I house sat for people earlier this year who warned me that their cat woke them up every morning between 2 and 4am. They let it into their bedroom, but I was mean and didn’t because he set of my allergies. For the first week (maybe a bit more) he meowed outside the door every morning and I felt totally horrible not getting up to pat him. I didn’t though and he did learn not to do it after that initial period. I did what you are doing and tried to make sure I was giving him as much attention as I could during the day / in the evening. I also left biscuits out for him so I knew he wasn’t hungry. I think he was bored / lonely and wanted to play, but I didn’t at that time of night and was really grateful when he stopped doing it! I have only ever tried this with this one cat though so I don’t know if it is something that would work more universally. Whatever it is I hope you do find something that works and are able to get in some more uninterrupted sleep! Being woken up at that time every morning would not be fun at all!

    • 17

      Yeah, I bet if we stuck to our guns and kept her out of the room for longer than a night before caving it would probably work… good advice!

  10. 18

    another cat is a great option. When our older boy was having some minor behavioral issues, our vet recommended thinking about getting another cat. We did and things are great -all the minor issues gone (which was mainly him treating us like cats!). Having said that, they do seasonally wake us up at crazy hours- it really only happens in spring/summer. They seem to sleep in over fall and winter! I think it has something to do with the light/birds, etc but who knows!

    • 19

      Yeah, that makes sense! At least if the window is open, it helps distract Zara because she likes watching the birds. :)

  11. 20

    I’d definitely recommend another cat. Our cat was doing something similar and we got him a buddy – that was 4 years ago and they get along fantastically! They both like to socialize with us, but it’s definitely helped with the neediness when we get home from work and are trying to sleep. One thing that worked very well for us was going to the humane society (I’m a DC local too, we went to the WAHS on New York Avenue) and getting a cat that was already at least a year old. We described the cat we already had to the people there and said it was really important to us that they got along – they were able to recommend a cat of similar age and temperament. The first week was a little touchy as they got to know each other. We didn’t leave them alone together at night or while we were at work, in case they started fighting and needed to be separated. But we gave them time to get used to each other and now I can honestly say that they are best friends – they nap together, groom each other and roughhouse, but in a playful and gentle manner. The humane society people really get to know the cats well and can help you find one that will be a good fit with your kitty!

    • 21

      Aw, that’s so cute! Thanks for the tips! We got Zara from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and really liked them, too!

  12. 22

    Glad you listened to your body; it knows best. 8+ miles is still an accomplishment!

  13. 23

    Seeing your post confirmed that we ran right by each other this morning. I knew I had seen you somewhere before, and it’s from reading your blog! Sorry your run didn’t go as planned! It was definitely a great morning to get out regardless :)

  14. 25

    more cats! #catlady.
    once i went out for a 12-miler and turned around at mile 1.5 for 3 miles total. i just wasn’t feeling it. some days you just gotta do what you gotta do (or not do) and listen to your body. love sokphal’s boston shirt!

  15. 26

    It’s very encouraging to hear that such a seasoned runner like yourself has off days like the rest of us! I’m coming off a serious sprained ankle and 25 minutes is my max so far, any more and my foot starts to ache. It’s a good reminder that we have to listen to our bodies =)

    I’ve noticed that our cat Ruby has trouble adjusting to seasonal changes. Now that the sun is up much earlier, it may be throwing Zara off a bit. Her internal clock says 6am, but its really only 4am. As others have suggested, completely ignoring her is key, don’t even move. It shouldn’t take long for her to adjust. I also agree with nighttime feeding or an automatic feeder, both have been lifesavers for us…or should I say sleep-savers?

    • 27

      I bet that’s what it is – the season! It definitely seems like it’s gotten worse lately which would make sense since it’s light out sooner!

  16. 28

    I have a Zara twin! She actually used to eat the fur out of her back when I was gone long hours when I lived alone. I decided to try an adult cat and it was HORRIBLE! Worst match ever and my poor Kitty was so stressed out! I actually got rid of that cat (because it was so terribly behaved) and ended up getting a kitten by chance shortly after. The kitten went over MUCH better, although it took plenty of adjustment. I thought Kitty would love company because she was always all over ME, but it still isn’t really the case. Kitty definitely prefers me over the other cat and is still a momma’s girl. She doesn’t seem to mind the addition (who is now 2) anymore, but I don’t know that they play much. If we go out of town, Kitty still eats her fur as a stress response, regardless of Cat #2. I think some cats like having the company of other pets, but I think some cats just really want the attention of their owners! And Cat #2 now is the one who wakes us up at night wanting love! So we didn’t even get relief from the midnight wakings! Cats will be cats.

    • 29

      Ha, oh man! That’s definitely what we are afraid of – she seems very attached to us so not sure another cat would help or not!

  17. 30

    More kittehs !!! Go for it. I had 2 cats for a long time for the same reason. (1 passed away a couple years ago and my other little guy would be like a crotchety old man if I tried to bring another one into the mix now.). They were super cute together.

  18. 31

    Another cat is a great idea —- I would go with an outgoing, confident kitten; she should be female, too. At the beginning, keep them apart for about a week or see how it goes. They need to get used to each other. Zara will hiss and be territorial, initially. But with a kitten, Zara’s mommy instinct will come out and she will feel less threatened than with a grown-up cat. At the beginning only supervised playtime. The kitten should be in a room by herself for a few days (of course, with you guys, playing with her!). Once Zara just sits and watches the kitten, or starts playing with her, you are golden.

    My cats don’t necessary love each other, but I think they still enjoy each others company when I am gone to work. When they get bored they challenge each other into chase games, which is a great release for indoor cats.

  19. 33

    I’ve grown up with cats my whole life and now married with an almost 1 year old, we have a cat who wakes us up more than the baby. I don’t think your cat is all that unique. Every cat we have had sleeps most of the day and is awake at night. They want attention!

  20. 34

    I wouldn’t get another cat just yet. Most cats prefer to be only cats. The time to get 2 cats is when they are kittens and can grow up together. Besides, Zara thinks of you and your husband as big cats anyway. Do you feed her in the morning? Some cats that are fed in the morning learn to torture their people earlier and earlier in order to get food. You might try taking her outside on a leash for some outdoor fun. Cats get bored just like the rest of us.

  21. 35
    Roadrunner says

    Time for a little tough love for Zara! But will be tough for her “parents” for a while… And good call on the run; wonder if it was the heat?

  22. 36

    My cat would do the same thing. Now I sleep with a fan on and keep my door shut. The fan blocks out the scratching noise. It’s not good for sleep hygeine to have a cat sleep in your room! Another option, my mom puts the cat in his “room” every night aka the laundry room where his food,litter, and bed are. He knows when it’s getting late and time to get his wet food and go to bed every night, and will even sleep in his bed during the day when we are home. Sounds mean, but remember, its only 6-8 hours a night in one room!Works for us. Cats are mostly nocturnal, and Zara’s behavior likely does not have much to do with how much you play with her during the day. Therefore, two cats might just be a gamble :-/

  23. 37

    I’ve definitely have been having runs like that lately and 100% agree that listening to our bodies over a training plan at times, is most important. Have a fun weekend with your guests!

  24. 38

    Definitely make sure the food bowl is full before you go to bed. Being consistent with your behavior is key. They develop routines based on whatever response they received with their late night antics. My cat kept wanting to be let out onto our bedroom balcony in the middle of the night. I ended up keeping rolled up socks by my pillow so I could lob them in her direction to deter her behavior. It worked, she hasn’t done it in over a year. (I didn’t aim for her and I didn’t throw them hard)

  25. 39

    My roommate Karen used to have this problem with her fatty cat Patches. Solution was getting an automatic feeder/ water dispenser thingy with food drop at 4am and flowing water all the time- this kept Patches occupied in the kitchen and kept him from pawing Karen’s face every morning at 4am.

  26. 40

    I went through the same thing with my cat (still occassionally do), and suggest (as have others upthread) giving her a really tiring play session right before turning in. If you don’t already have one, “Da Bird” (a string toy with feathers attached at the end to flutter) is great for getting your cat moving. If you are considering getting another cat, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington is in the midst of “kitty season” right now, so its a good time to bring a cat into your home for a short period of time to see how they do. Good luck!

  27. 42

    My husband and I have been having the EXACT same problem with our cat. She’s a single fur-child as well, and I’m sure she could use the company, but the idea of putting another animal in our tiny apartment isn’t too appealing. About every other evening my husband just gives in to her and goes out to sleep on the couch from 3-5am, which seems to appease her but obviously isn’t a solution. Glad to hear we aren’t the only ones with this issue – looking forward to reading through the suggestions!

  28. 43

    I’ve never had a cat but could you try spraying her with water when she tries to wake you up? Most cats hate water being sprayed on them and maybe she’ll back off. This just makes me extra grateful for my dog who loves to sleep in and snooze whenever we do!

  29. 45

    We actually just went through the same thing recently with our cat Nik. He went through cycles of wanting to play in the middle of the night to being really lethargic–even more than cats normally are. So we got him a friend a couple of months, Albert. Nik is 4 years old and we got Al when he was 8 months old–old enough to hold his own, but young enough to give Nik a good playmate. It has been the BEST! We have a fairly small apartment in Alexandria, but were able to gradually introduce them and it’s been 3 months and they are best buddies. We focused on giving both of them lots of attention to ease the process and so Nik wouldn’t feel like his humans were neglecting him.

    We adopted Nik from the Alexandria Animal Welfare League and we adopted Al from the Tree of Life Cat Rescue out of Woodbridge–Shawna is fantastic. I would highly recommend if you decide Zara needs a playmate!

  30. 47

    I totally get where you’re at with the whole long run cut short thing. I go through it when I run or even in spin class sometimes. Is it my body telling me it needs rest, or am I just mentally not in the mood to work out? In the first case it’s smart to back off but in the second case sometimes you just need to push through! I actually went through that in a spin class yesterday. I think of course if you don’t regularly cut workouts short, you’re just being smart and kind to yourself. If it becomes a habit, then maybe you’d need to put more of a mental effort it, in but I know that is not your case! :) Hard to find that balance though!

  31. 49

    Cats are so craycray! Its like having a baby :) Are you getting a lot of light in the bedroom? She might be confused as its getting bright out so early. Try blackout shades!

    • 50

      We tried having the shades shut in the room but she actually behaves better if we leave the shade up so she can sit and look out the window in the mornings once it’s light out!

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