How do people manage to get up at 4:30 am and exercise for 1 hour and a half each morning? I used to envy those people, and thought that I would never be part of that group (I also used to never think that I would be able to say that I am a runner, but that is another story). The concept of run commuting has changed my life and my exercise routine. And, you can get in an hour and a half of exercise without waking up extra early.
I’m lucky to be able to live in San Francisco, and in a place where I do have a safe and fairly direct route to work. I like to think that this is part of the benefits of the arm-and-leg that I’m paying in rent. So, if you’re living outside of a major, expensive US city, take comfort – you’re probably paying as much for your mortgage as I am for my apartment rent each month.
Back to run commuting. The idea dawned on me after I felt frustrated and exhausted after making the one hour commute by bus from my apartment to my office. Can you imagine – 1 hour of commute when you’re commuting within your own city? That is the joy we call Muni in San Francisco – though, all jokes aside, my apartment did spill out onto a quiet street with a stunning view of the international orange-painted Golden Gate Bridge.
I had walked to work from previous apartments, which had seemed more reasonable – a 2 1/2 mile walk to work, downhill, is not too bad. But running to work for a total distance of 7 miles?
I’ve noticed the similar vein of reactions that I receive when I tell people that I run 7 miles to work once a week.
“What? Don’t you get all sweaty and gross for work?”
“How do you show up for work like that?”
I explain that the distance isn’t too bad – as someone who has run half marathons, 7 miles is a moderate long run, and there is only a bit of uphill in the route I take. I get a scenic tour of San Francisco as I run through Golden Gate Park and a colorful journey when I traverse Market Street from the Castro.
I bought a hiking backpack, thanks to the influence of an ex-boyfriend, about two years ago. I nearly donated it a few times, but luckily had some idea that I would hike again some day. The backpack, a 30 gallon backpack purchased from REI, offers a waist and upper body strap to keep the weight on my hips and to stop excessive bouncing. With the counter intuitive packing technique of light things at the bottom, heavy on top, I do strategize carefully to bring only the essentials – likely a dress, flat shoes, other necessities and only my wallet plus padlock.
Crucial to making the run commuting work, I belong to a gym where I’m provided a shower, towel, soap and shampoo. So, no need to show up to work gross, and I’m even provided a place to store my smelly clothes and backpack.
Voila – run commuting. It’s a strange sport that I love – functional and not yet mainstream.
Have you thought about run commuting? San Franciscans, would like to join me in my current run commute from my new home in the Mission District to SoMA?