This past week I explored a new motivation to run: getting to where you need to go. This week I'm working 6 days in a row and often I lack to drive to get out of a warm bed to run before sun rise. Once I get home after along day of customer service and being on my feet I don't exactly want to go out into the dark either. With a snow storm upon us, I decided to run to and from work. The roads were pretty nasty and my road bike slips around a bit on snow and, beside, there's nothing better than running in fresh powder. It wasn't like I was going to be sweating much in the sub-10 degree temps.
There is something liberating about relying on human powered transportation. I first started thinking about it at camp when I noticed my good friend Matthew, though not a runner, running EVERYWHERE. When people asked him about it, he said it just got him to where he was going faster. In college I would occasionally walk to class with a friend who would always tell me to walk slower because she was getting sweaty. I thought this was ridiculous. What a waste of time.
Even when I'm biking to work I'm one of those people who gets ultra-competitive and if there is someone in front of me, I have to pass them. If it is a man wearing bike clothes with some sort of club or sponsorship printed on them, I feel an even greater need to pass them. All they see is a braid, a dress, and a blue road bike whizzing past. Sometimes it's fun when they recognize the challenge and try to race me. The beauty of working at Title Nine is that it doesn't matter if I'm a little bit sweaty when I get there.
When it comes down to it, though, you can't beat the simplicity of running (or walking) to and from work. Even when I have my bike, I frequently need to stop and replace a tube or do other routine maintenance. When I run, all I need to worry about is putting enough calories in my system and keeping warm enough. And the rewards are great. The other night when I was running home in the dark I saw a fox prance out of the woods and we stood and took each other in for a moment. It was serene.
The reason why I'm writing about this all today is that supposedly, according the Mayan calendar, the world was supposed to end today. Clearly that didn't happen. But in light of the recent shooting in Connecticut and ensuing talks about gun control at work, I've been thinking about how instead of preparing for a doomsday scenario by amassing weapons and hoarding food and possessions, I like to make myself more mobile. In the event of a "Red Dawn" scenario I have the ability to transport myself using my own two feet for many miles. And I have the gear and lightweight food to sustain me for quite some time. I have built up both the mental and physical toughness to do it.
Furthermore, I have surrounded myself with people who are also able to do that with me. While the masses tough it out in the city, my husband, dog and friends will be long gone toughing it out in the backcountry having the time of our lives... as long as it isn't winter. I have a down jacket for that scenario.