The Art of the Dusk Patrol

Most people spend their nights bitching about having to go to work the next day.  Don't be most people; most people suck.  Follow these three simple steps and make the most of your 5 to 9.

Step 1: Avoid the Couch

I am not a scientist, nor have I ever claimed to be one.  But although I can't really do simple math without a calculator and my grade in college physics was the worst I've ever received, I can state with mathematical certainty that the gravitational constant between a human and a couch is one of the strongest forces known to man (sorry Mahatma Gandhi, but love doesn't even come close).  On most weeknights, there's a point in time, usually about an hour before I head home from work, where my will power to do anything but take my pants off and sink deep into that sweet, sweet Restoration Hardware goodness is at a stunning low.  However, the trick to avoiding the couch is simple-- treat it like your ex-lover and pretend like it doesn't exist.  Butt cannot meet couch cushion if they are never in the same room together.  So whether it's hitting the climbing gym on your way home from work or going straight to the trailhead for your run, avoiding a stop at the house means avoiding an excuse to not show up.

Yeah, that's a moon rise.  Good luck seeing that from your couch.

Step 2: Plan Ahead

Not stopping at home means you don't have a chance to pick up your gear before heading out.  Which means you'll have to plan ahead.  Sounds simple, right? Well, sometimes it is-- like when your Dusk Patrol mission means a summer trail run where all you need are some shorts and your running shoes. (Shirts are optional, right? Anton Krupicka doesn't own a shirt and he's wicked fast.)  But when your sunset endeavor involves skiing or biking in the winter when the sun goes down before it's time to leave work, the planning and gear involved gets complicated.  Skinning up the local ski hill for some night turns? Skis, boots, skins, poles, ski clothes, gloves, headlamps and a nip of bourbon are all de rigueur.  If you expect to remember to put all of that in the truck at 7 a.m. the day of, expect to show up without a critical piece of gear.  Pack the night before and hit the snooze button the next morning comforted by the knowledge that you're ready to roll come quitting time.

Timing is Everything: Stopping at home for that sock you forgot could mean missing the show.

Step 3: Go Big or Go Home

Sure, I like to suffer.  Why else would I spend my time after work running 12 miles in the dark over loose, rocky trails? Or driving an hour each way to schlep up 3,200 vertical feet on skis for two runs in the cold of night?  But going big isn't about distance or vertical gain.  It's about making that Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday night something to remember.   What's better than that amazing trail run? Grilling up hot dogs and drinking a beer in the parking lot afterwards.  How do you turn that uphill ski slog into more than just a really cold sufferfest?  Cook up a JetBoil feast to enjoy in the hut between laps.  I promise that you won't give a shit about going to work the next morning.  Because while everyone at your office gave into the gravitational pull of the couch, you were out there kicking ass and eating hot dogs. And nothing is better than hot dogs.  Nothing.

Veggie udon bowls in the Snow Plume Hut at Arapahoe Basin between Dusk Patrol Laps