I was finishing up a 20-mile bike ride yesterday morning when I had a brainstorm.

It was about 6am, I’d been in the park since 5am (illegally, I might add,) and was feeling amazing. My time was about a 3:30 minute per mile pace, and I was pleased. As I slowed down and headed towards the park exit, I saw a handful of “same jerseys” enter the park and start their ride. “The “same jersey” people are the small groups of six or eight people who ride and train together. They’re not pro cyclists, but they take it very, very seriously. They’re ridiculously fast, because all they seem to do is work and train. Which is awesome, but not for me. They’re much, much faster than me, and I usually only see them from behind, as I’m moving over to the right amid shouts of “ON YOUR LEFT!” as they pass me.

The issue, though, is that I’m VERY competitive. And I’ve talked to other people similar to me, also diagnosed, who are also VERY competitive. The problem then becomes this: When I’m biking, and I get passed by someone, my ADHD goes into overdrive, and I spend the rest of my ride thinking about how I got passed, how I’m going to catch up, how I shouldn’t have had that pizza three weeks ago, how my skipping that one day of gym class in seventh grade is responsible for what happened today, and etc., etc., until it’s been two hours and my training has gone into the toilet because I’m too much up in my own head, instead of putting that energy into my workout.

Turn on your images!

But 5am in the park? No one is there! I’m racing not against other people, but against myself! Not against the same-jersey people, but against how I did yesterday. When I’m by myself (or at least not surrounded by hundreds of faster people,) I can focus on me, on making myself stronger, and making myself better than I was last time.

The less I have to think about the outside world, the more I can think about improving myself. And the best way to do that? Get it done before anyone else is there.

Yet another reason earlier is better when you have ADHD.