Finding the time to exercise is an obvious challenge. You have to make it a priority every day. Finding the time to run? I think that’s even harder.

The first solution is to wake up early. I’m not entirely opposed to this. However, two aspects of running in the wee hours of the morning give me apprehension. The first is the darkness. I’ll admit that I don’t enjoy running when it’s dark outside. Perhaps if my neighborhood was well-lit and I wasn’t clumsy, I would find the darkness serene. But, I don’t. I trip over things. (Like kid’s skate boarding ramps they leave on the sidewalk.) I also know that as much as I loathe running in the darkness, come summer I will have to suck it up. So now, in spring, I try to milk my daylight runs.

Option two is when I get home from work. This is best solution, if I don’t have plans (and ignore my hunger). However, my hunger usually wins. Or going out.

For months, I saw these as my only two options, until last week. I did the unthinkable. I ran at work. I spoke with a coworker about it and apparently he used to run at lunch and everyone was fine with it. I can’t say that alleviated much of my anxiety. When noon rolled around, I grabbed my gym bag and ran to the bathroom to change. My walk from the bathroom to the back door felt like a spy movie. I was trying to avoid being seen. But, of course, I ran into two coworkers on the way.

“…Are you… exercising?” asked one woman incredulously.

“Running. Yes. Bye.” I responded, scurrying out the door.

The run itself was great. I mapped out an easy 3-mile loop. Was it scenic? Kinda. I work in a corporate park type area so I scoped out the other companies in our vicinity. Most of the run, I rationalized my endeavor. “The editors at Runner’s World run at lunch every day! I googled “Running at Lunch” and other people do this. This is fine. Oh, no. I’m sweating.”

I have to admit something. My office doesn’t have a shower– the main source of my paranoia. Now before you mark me off as unhygienic, I brought a washcloth, wipes, and a fan to cool off. However, as hard as I tried, I couldn’t mask how red my face was. It’s genetic.

For as weird as I felt around my coworkers post-run, I also felt much happier working through the afternoon. I wasn’t thinking about squeezing in an evening run. I got to enjoy the outdoors during a workday. All in all, if I can gradually get my coworkers to accept my lunchtime ritual and prove that I still smell good, I think I may have a solution. At least until summer rolls around.

When do you find time to run or exercise?