We’ve been trolling through The Run Commuter archives in our Wayback Machine, seeking every tidbit possible of women-specific comments, questions, and advice. This is a comment shared by run commuter Sabby, December 2011. She readily gave the OK for us to share it, allowing, too, for us to “pretty it up” or edit as needed, as she presented it as an unstructured ramble. We are all for stream of consciousness, so we are going to let it run wild and free.
She touches on shoes and hair, but we will present up front Sabby’s most valuable takeaway, something other women run commuters have echoed: double-check that you’ve packed your bra, or keep a spare at the office. And it wasn’t until perhaps my third read-through that I understood what she meant by, “… if you still have to worry about Shark Week it’s easy enough to keep a supply of bandages at work.” This is one of the finest menstrual euphemisms I have encountered.
For readers’ ease and quick-scrolling reference, I have put into bold text those items in Sabby’s narrative that would be of most interest or specificity to a lady’s run commute. We will pull much of this together for an entry in our Become a Run Commuter page.
Now, TAKE IT AWAY, SABBY.
Let me tell you my run-commute routine, which is also my bike-commute routine.
I’ll preface by saying: I’m a 37 year old woman, runner since May 2008, run commuter since February 2009, but so far only in the winter/spring. In the summer/fall I bike commute. As soon as I can figure out how to build up heat tolerance (I have special issues so I can’t do it the recommended way) I will run commute in the summer and fall.
Furthermore – this is a ramble. Unstructured and long.
I pack all of my clothes, including shoes, in my backpack/saddlebag, packing it up the night before. I’ve thought about leaving shoes at work but that means committing to one or two pairs. But, if I think about it I really only rotate 4 pairs. And I don’t wear those pairs for anything else. So perhaps I should store all 4 at work (must think of space).
In my backpack I carry my lunch. I prefer to carry foods that are easy to stuff into a bag – sammiches, granola bars, apples, the occasional can of soup on a cold day. I eat several small 200 calorie meals a day so this is pretty easy to do. Also in my backpack are any work supplies I need EXCEPT for my computer. I am wary of running with a fragile hard drive strapped to my back. So on days I need to bring my computer I bike, but those days are rare.
Now, I should probably also mention that I am a fairly low-maintenance woman. I don’t wear makeup or jewelry on a daily basis, and I have short hair. But, I do keep some makeup for emergencies, face soap, face wipes, deodorant, baby wipes, a towel, and some hair wax (aka pomade) at work. I have one filing cabinet drawer dedicated to my personal grooming stuff. Also, if you still have to worry about Shark Week it’s easy enough to keep a supply of bandages at work.
Luckily, at my workplace we have a single-person bathroom to accommodate wheelchairs, yet no one at work uses a wheelchair. So, it has become my locker room.
But first, let me tell you what happens when I get to work after a 6 mile run. I am as sweaty as a racehorse, including nasty hair. I go to my desk, log in, and answer emails and such for 30 minutes while I cool down. My workplace is pretty tolerant of this because my workplace is the CDC
Anyway, after I’ve cooled down, stopped sweating, I take my gym bag of stuff and head to my personal locker. I, too, take a sink bath, though I’ve called it a sailor’s bath. In the winter this just means wiping down with baby wipes, deodorant, work dress, washing the face, wetting and fixing my short hair with my fingers, and off I go. In warmer weather I’ve been known to actually use a few paper towels and soap to clean up.
Now, I used to have waist length hair. I have to admit I never figured out what to do with it other than this: I wore it in a bun nearly all the time. I’d strap it down with several hair bands for the run. And when I got to work I’d make a looser bun. Because my hair would be sweaty and I was not washing and drying it at work. So, I’d finger rinse the hairline and wrap it back up. Made for a boring style. But when I’d go to some work social after hours and show up with my hair all fluffy and down to my waist I’d get all the ooohs and aaahs.
Honestly, though, one reason I cut all that hair off was because it didn’t fit into my lifestyle anymore.
But ladies, please don’t forget to pack your bra. I know it seems silly to say it, but I’ve managed to do this more than once. Problem is, I am of not-insignificant endowment. And I’ve had a kid. AND I’m middle aged. NOBODY wants to see that shit.
Fortunately, I keep a big voluminous button up funky lime green hoodie sweater (not sweatshirt) on the back of my chair. It does a GREAT job providing me with coverage when this happens. Even in meetings. I just tell everyone I’m cold. And with the temperamental thermostat (pun) at my office, people believe it.
Lastly, what if you have to run errands or pick up the kids? Well, honestly, most times I don’t have to worry about it. I’ve adopted a lifestyle where I run most errands on the weekend. I only have one kid so it makes it easy. He goes to an afterschool childcare program 3 days a week. So when I get home from work I sometimes have to drive to get him. But most times my husband, whose work is 18 miles away and he drives, will pick him up on his way home. And now that our son is 10 he’s pretty independent and the days he doesn’t go to his aftercare he walks home from school (a half mile), and lets himself into the house.
If you, either mom or dad, have adopted a habit of doing it all with regards to kids stuff, whether because it’s necessary or because you just took it all on, then you’re going to have to either figure out a way to share the load a bit, or work around it all. The latter may mean you can only do a partial run/bike commute. But just think – once you’ve run or biked to work you don’t have to leave home or work to go to the gym, which you know you all dread. Working out a gym always felt like a chore to me. It’s EXERCISE and I hate exercise. By run or bike commuting you can save money and time on that gym membership.
AND, by the time you get home you’ve wrung any work related tension out, leaving you relaxed for your evening.