Greetings fellow run commuters (and wannabe run commuters)! I’m so happy that Josh asked me to contribute to this blog, writing about my own experiences with run commuting, and how things are a bit different for me, being that I live in Alaska.
I first started run commuting early this spring, so I’ve been doing it for several months now. One of the main reasons why I started was simply to get in some more miles while training for the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon last month here in Anchorage. Besides work, I have a wife and 2 kids at home, so it’s not always easy to find time to go for a run. During the week, that typically means running either early in the morning or late at night. I’ve always been more of a morning person anyways, so getting up early and running to work made sense to me.
Usually I run commute 2-3 days a week, which I typically alternate with bike commuting. I live about 4 ¼ miles from my work, so that gives me a good 8 ½ miles roundtrip on the days that I run to work. One of the big drawbacks for me is that I don’t have any shower facilities at my office. Luckily, living in Alaska, even in the summer, it’s typically still pretty cool in the morning (low to mid 40’s). I also make a point to not push my pace too much on my run into work in the morning, to keep me from sweating any more than necessary. If I feel like getting in some speed work, there’s always the run home in the afternoon! I also keep a box of baby wipes and a stick of deodorant in my desk at work to freshen up with when I get there. So far at least, being a sweaty stinky mess at work really hasn’t been an issue.
One thing I have to deal with in Alaska is the very real possibility of encountering moose or bears on my run commute. Luckily I’ve never had a run-in with a bear (yet), but I have come across plenty of moose on my runs. Usually they’re content to just keep munching away on some branches and mostly ignore you, but you always hear the horror stories of people being charged or even trampled by an angry moose. It may not be much, but I always carry I knife with me on my runs. I’ve never had to use it, but I figure that in a jam, it could be just enough to save my hide.
With the weather being what it is in Alaska, I’m going to have to take advantage of my ability to run commute while I can. By the end of October, we’ll likely have plenty of snow on the ground, and the temperatures will be dipping down well below freezing. At that point, you won’t see me run commuting again until sometime next April :)