Like Night and Day

There are several core truths about myself I hold to be true. I’m right handed. I’m a dog person. I’m afraid of ET. I’m team Peeta, team Jacob and team embarrassed to have read so many novels originally written for 12-year-old girls.

One more core truth: I am a morning runner.

For as long as I can remember, fitness has been a morning activity for me. I mostly chalk it up to my disciplined mother’s standing 5:30 a.m. date with the YMCA, but even without her good influence, I understand the appeal of daybreak workouts: I’m well rested, I don’t have a full stomach, I’m not exhausted from a day at the office, and the roads before sun-up are mine alone.

Setting a pre-dawn alarm clock isn’t always fun, but it’s rewarding to finish a workout before your first cup of coffee.

That’s why this week has been so darn challenging: because of a shift in my work schedule, I haven’t been able to work out at my usual hour. For the first time in Lord knows how many years, I’ve discarded the core tenet of my fitness routine and logged my miles at night.

And you know what? It wasn’t that bad.

I had been bracing for the worst situation imaginable, from being so full from a day’s worth of eating that I’d cramp up at mile 3 to being so hungry before dinner that I’d pass out mid-loop. (Yes, most of the scenarios I pictured involved me being carted out of the park on a stretcher. Another core truth: I have an overactive imagination.)

Now I’m not going to lie: it wasn’t easy coming home from an 11-hour workday and changing into Spandex instead of sweatpants. Every single day this week, I tried to come up with excuses to take a last-minute rest day, from it being too dark out to run safely to my Netflix being too lonely if I delayed our New Girl date an hour.

But once I got myself out the door, putting one leg in front of the other wasn’t actually all that different at 7 p.m. vs. 7 a.m. The biggest roadblock was my own mindset, and once I got past that, I was grateful to have gotten those miles in after all. They say the only workout you regret is the one you didn’t do, and even though I wouldn’t have chosen the timing, I’m glad I got those evening miles in.

I guess you can teach a dog new tricks. (Let’s be honest: you were all waiting for this.)

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