Okay, so this is a little bit against the whole concept of being a super-commuter, but there are some times when my after work commitments exclude me from being able to cycle home. It’s a problem that I’ve been trying to figure out for a while now, because it resulted in days where I just caught the train both ways and got absolutely no exercise.
I tried squeezing in a gym session, but the gym is SO busy in the mornings that I could hardly do a decent workout. I’ve also considered doing some floor workouts at home, but really, they’re kind of sucky. I considered riding in and catching the train home, but really that doesn’t give me enough of a workout and bikes on trains in peak hour are just a pain for everyone on board.
It then occurred to me that with my current (in)ability, running to work would actually provide more than enough of a workout for the day. Of course, running the entire ~27km to work is a little bit beyond my current capacity, so this morning I decided to get off the train at Richmond station and complete the remaining 4.5km to Docklands on foot.
Of course, deciding to do it is one thing, then actually remembering to do it is a completely different matter. There I was on the train, in all of my running gear as the train pulls into the station. I recall looking at Punt Road Oval for a few seconds before I realised I needed to get off. It really says something about how much of a routine you can get into and actually forget to be concious of your surroundings.
Anyway, I did (just) manage to get off in time, so it was just a matter of one foot after another right?
I really hadn’t quite figured out my routine, so I did up the backpack, then realised I needed my Myki to scan out, so undid the backpack, grabbed my Myki, did up the backpack, scanned out, realised that I needed to put my Myki back into my backpack, so undid it, put my Myki away, put my backpack on again, ran to the traffic lights, realised that I didn’t have my blinkie turned on (yes, I run with a blinkie in dark parks), so reached back to turn it on, but couldn’t find a convenient window to check it in, so took my pack off to check it, put it back on and THEN…
ONLY THEN…. was I ready to run.
So… one foot after another. Easy! 4.5km? Piece of cake! Right? Nope. *gasp* Can’t breathe. Short, heavy steps. *gasp* What’s going on? Okay… loosen up the backpack, swing the arms and find a pace. Ahhh much better.
It turns out that running with a backpack is a completely different kettle of fish. Normally when I ride, I can do my backpack up nice and tight so that it doesn’t swing around too much. Running, on the other hand, requires a certain amount of upper body freedom so a little bit of space seems to work better.
Finally under way
So off I go, up the little hill from Punt Road Oval to the G, nice and steady. Nothing to it really, once I found my stride and rhythm with the bouncing pack. Small surge to get up over Batman Avenue and a lovely coast down towards Birrarung Marr.
Along North Bank, I picked up a tail who sat riiiight on my heel all the way to Banana Alley. Whaaat? You mean commuting runners get wheel suckas too!? (actually, do runners have a term for this? heel sucka?) Of course, true to form, he took the opportunity to POWER past me the moment I showed a tiny sign of weakness in slowing down for some peds.
But the humiliation of my crushing defeat (hah!) had nothing against what I had to experience next. Coming down the Immigration Bridge towards the Queensbridge traffic lights, a liquid waste truck had parked itself right at end of the bridge. Now these trucks smell bad on a normal day, but approaching one when you’re exercising really has to be one of the most unpleasant ways to start the day.
Thankfully, I did manage to get past the truck without re-experiencing my breakfast (in reverse) and actually had a very enjoyable, incident free, cruise along Southbank to the office.
Pace was around 6:15, so not a whole lot slower than my usual non-backpack pace, but I’m actually just happy that I’ve found another way to mix up the commutes to keep things interesting.