The Shortest Distance Between Two Points is a Rail Trail

Today I did something that I’ve never done before: I ran to work.

My Ironman plan said that I needed to run for a bit more than two hours, but we’re going out of town this weekend, and a run that long really didn’t fit well with the trip. I looked at how far I might run in 2:15 (roughly 15-16 miles, or 24-26km), thought about the distance to the office (16 miles), and decided to combine my commute and my long run.

This wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. There’s no way it could be. I can carry a bunch of stuff in my backpack when I bike to work, but I didn’t want to do the same thing when I run. So I brought clothes to the office on Thursday and made a plan to have Lisa pick me up after work on our way out of town. (My original plan—to drive my bike to work on Wednesday, ride it home that evening, run on Thursday morning, and then drive myself home—was thwarted by rain in the weather forecast. It never rained.)

In addition to about 40 oz (1L) of water, I only carried things with me this morning which I absolutely needed and which would fit in my minimalist hydration pack:

  • My phone
  • Some cash
  • My wallet and access key for the office
  • BG meter, test strips, lancing device
  • 4 Hammer Nutrition gels
  • A pack of Clif ShotBloks
  • Glucose tablets

The first part of my run was really beautiful. There’s a rail trail with branches that run north and east from the center of my town. Taking the eastern line, I can run about 8 miles completely free of traffic. The part in my town is paved, and the neighboring town is gradually improving its section. So I ran on pavement and then crushed stone and then single-track for the first hour-plus of the journey. At one point I ran through a tunnel (in the shape of a tall tanker rail-car) that someone had put fairy lights around. A little while later, I was looking down on the cars who were hopefully looking up and seeing some crazy guy.

Eventually the trail ended and I had to turn onto the highway. The nice thing about those 3.5 miles was that they’re very flat and went directly toward my office. The unpleasant aspect was that there’s no sidewalk and not even much of a shoulder. The next time I do this, I’ll try to find some quiet, flat back roads (which probably don’t exist). Drivers were very courteous, and I did my best to stay out of their way. By this time I was pretty much soaked clear through from sweat, and I was feeling very happy that the office has a nice gym with showers.

When I got to Sherborn Center, I picked up a sidewalk for about a mile before heading into another mile-long stretch without one. Fortunately, almost everyone was driving the other way. Plus, it was Friday, which meant traffic was rather light. I had pretty much been in the zone until this point, not really thinking about much of anything as I kept a steady rhythm. But once I got into Natick (the town where I work) I was starting to wonder how many miles I actually had left. “Let’s see. I can get from Sherborn to the office in about 15 minutes. That’s going about 20 mph. And I’m running about 1/3 that fast, so 45 minutes. Really? Damn. How long ago was I in the center of Sherborn. Ugh.”

I was quite happy to arrive in downtown Natick, because I knew exactly how far I had left to go: 1.7 miles. They would be all uphill, of course, but I knew that, so somehow it didn’t seem so bad. Two hours and twenty-two minutes and 16.2 miles (26.1 km) after leaving home I arrived at the office. I decided to take the elevator to my office on the third floor to retrieve the clothes I had cached there yesterday.

I passed by the office of one of my coworkers, who has a bowl of fun-sized candies on the edge of her desk. “Mmm . . . candy,” I said trying to grab something and quickly leave without sweating on anything.

“Did you ride in today?”

“Actually, I ran.”

“You ran?! Take as much as you want!” she said while pushing the bowl in my direction.

Mmm . .  candy.

This entry was posted in Reluctant Triathlete, Running. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>