When I first got into this running thing, I was an ‘after work’ runner. I’d either tie up the laces in my office and run on the streets of Middletown, or I’d wait until I got home and would run on the roads near my house. Occasionally, I’d really mix things up and meet friends at UConn in order to run around campus. (Especially during the dark winter months, the well-lit sidewalks of a college campus have come in very handy.)
One of the things I struggled with the most with the late afternoon run was nutrition. I tried countless different types of pre-run snacks, toyed with different combinations of foods and experimented with the timing. More often than not, I’d experience a sugar crash around the 2-2.5 mile mark. My energy level would plummet and I’d start to feel weak and shaky. Sometimes I could push through it, and other times I would have to eat a Gu in order to make it back to my start point.
Somewhere along the way, I decided to try early-morning running and see if that made a difference. I’d always thought that early-morning runners were a bit daft. Losing precious sleep to get up and run in the dark just didn’t appeal to me. I could barely drag myself out of bed to get to work on time. Then I became that daft runner, in the dorky reflective vest with the bright, shining headlamp, taking up valuable space on the narrow roads with no shoulders at 5:30 a.m. No sugar crashes, no energy plummets. That has been the norm for the better part of last years, at least.
Until now. It seems that my timing is all off. I was working odd hours for about 8 months and ever since then, I cannot reset my internal clock. Further thwarting this effort has been the wicked winter and the lingering rhinovirus that just won’t quit. Every morning, I set the alarm. It goes off, and I listen to the wind outside and decide that I will run after work instead. Except that promise is only kept about 50% of the time, which is leaving my running log looking a little thin. Plus, with the return of the late afternoon run, the nutrition problems have returned.
On the rare mornings that I can convince myself that I still am ‘hardcore’ and 15-degrees Fahrenheit isn’t *that* cold, it takes me the better part of 30 minutes to actually get out the door. Gone are the days when I rolled out of bed, stepped into my running clothes, threw coffee towards my mouth and hit the bricks. These days, it takes 10 minutes for me to remember why I am even awake at that hour, another 10 minutes to pull on the 10,321 layers that I need to face The Tundra, and at least 10 minutes to enjoy that first cup of hot, steaming, delicious coffee.
The goal for this month will be to reset the clock and get back into a routine. I operate better with a little more structure in my life. I’d best get building then!