The New Run Commuters – April 2014

In this month’s TNRC feature, we profile M. Suzette from Atlanta, GA, and Presh from Washington D.C. Loving the city life and rich history of D.C., Presh talks about packing light and that familiar, sinking feeling of being passed by a runner while sitting in traffic. M. Suzette, a nurse at a children’s hospital here in Atlanta, talks about choosing run commuting over the lure of wine and long shuttle bus rides. She is also TRC’s newest contributor, so stay tuned for more on M. Suzette and her tips, tricks, and stories about running to work!

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Runner Basics

  • Name: M. Suzette Birdling
    New Run Commuter M. Suzette - Before and After

    New Run Commuter M. Suzette – Before and After

  • Age: 35
  • City/State: Atlanta, GA
  • Profession/Employer: Registered nurse at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
  • Number of years running: 5
  • # of races you participate in a year: I pay for 1 or 2 (Peachtree and one other), but I race myself every time I go out.
  • Do you prefer road or trail? I have to have a preference? I love them both! Sometimes I want to feel like a wild animal running and jumping over obstacles through the woods, and sometimes I prefer the urban wilderness, dodging cars and navigating uneven pavement.

Run Commuting Gear

M. Suzette's backpack contents

M. Suzette’s backpack contents

  • Backpack: Camelbak Mule without the bladder. 
  • Shoes: I alternate between a pair of Saucony Ride 5 and Brooks Ravenna 4
  • Clothing: Shorts, tech fabric shirt, knee socks and a lightweight pullover if it’s below 30 degrees, shorties and no pullover if it’s warmer. Occasionally if the weather is different than I anticipated, I will run home in all or part of my uniform.
  • Outerwear: I wear a Nike Run pullover hoodie for warmth. It has lots of reflective patches which is a bonus. I’ve been lucky and not had rain any day that I planned to run commute, so I actually don’t have any rain gear. I’m not sure yet how I’ll handle rain.
  • Headgear: None. I fix my hair before I leave home, and headgear would mess it up! 
  • Lights: Err, none. I have reflective things on my pack and shorts and shoes though.
  • Hydration: It’s only 2.7 miles, I just drink when I get there.

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

A couple of months ago CHOA moved a lot of our parking over to Emory. We then take a shuttle bus to the hospital. It took my 2.7 mile/ 15 min car commute to over 35 minutes. I thought about riding my bike, but then I saw The Run Commuter website and knew I’d found a great solution to multiple problems. I am a single mother and I work long shifts. Most of my runs are while the kids are at school. And after getting up at the crack, working a 12+ hour shift on my feet all day, I know that if I go home to change for a run, I am going to pour myself a glass of wine instead and hope for more energy tomorrow.  Even though my commute isn’t very far, it takes less time to run there than to drive, and I am getting in some exercise on days when I otherwise wouldn’t. Plus, I’m finding it’s incredibly cathartic to change out of my scrubs, lace up my shoes and just run away after a particularly stressful day.

How often do you run commute?

2-3 days a week. I work 12-hr shifts and tend to work them all in a row. I drive in on the first day with a few changes of scrubs, running clothes and shoes, Luna and Lara bars, some fruit like oranges or apples, and all my cleaning-up stuff. I leave it all in my locker until the last shift of the week when I drive home with all the dirty laundry.

How far is your commute?

Arriving at the office

Arriving at the office

It’s 2.7 miles by the shortest route; somehow it feels all uphill both ways. I don’t really try to go fast on the way to work. I don’t want to be a sweat ball when I get there. I have very enthusiastic sweat glands.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I do both. I also bring my breakfast. Usually a pita sandwich of some kind, a piece of fruit and an Illy coffee drink (or 2) in a can.

What do you like most about run commuting?

I like the feeling that I have accomplished at least one good thing for myself in a day. When I get to work, everyone else is still sleepy and grumpy, but I’m sweaty and smiling. My face is bright, and I am awake! 

 

Drying clothes at work

Drying clothes at work

Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?

Nope, no one. I often run past a gentleman (going the opposite direction) who looks like he might be run-commuting. We just do the “Hey, Other Runner! God that hill sucks. No way, I’m not out of breath…” two-finger wave across Briarcliff Rd though. And the way the hospital greeters look at me when I walk in, like I’ve just stepped off a spaceship, suggests that not a lot of other people run commute there.

 When not run commuting, how do you get to work?

I just drive, park with the rest of the red-headed stepchildren, and ride das Bus.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be?

Once you get yourself organized, it’s easier than you think. You’re not going to stink, and no one cares if your hair is perfect anyway. 

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 Runner Basics

  • Name: Presh (“Precious”)
Presh ready to run

New Run Commuter Presh

  • Age:  31
  • City/State: Washington, D.C.
  • Profession/Employer:  Regulatory Affairs, Georgetown University Medical Center
  • Number of years running:  8 years on and off
  • # of races you participate in a year: 0
  • Do you prefer road or trail?  I find road running the most stimulating.  I’ve given trails a shot, but I’m energized by the city, and people walking, riding bikes, shopping, etc.
  • Run Commuting Gear

    • Backpack: I converted a spacious Targus laptop bag with a snug chest belt.  Winter was brutal, so the bag made it tons easier to carry clothes, my coat and lunch in separate compartments.  To keep the load light, I keep a few pairs of pumps at the office.  For summer, I plan to upgrade to an Osprey.
    • Shoes: Champion Lattice runner
    • Clothing: Random long- and short-sleeve shirts, and my fave Aspire running tights.  Overall, I keep it pretty simple.
    • Outerwear: A light wool sweater to wick sweat, since I tend to warm up rather quickly.
    • Headgear: 180s fleece ear warmers on really cold days; otherwise nothing.
    • Lights: None
    • Hydration: None

    On Run Commuting

    Logan Circle in the morning

    Logan Circle in the morning

    Why did you decide to start run commuting?   

    Last fall, I started running to work for a handful of reasons.  Using public transit, I might spend two hours round-trip just sitting, which is awful.  Add to that anxiety from the heavy AM and PM rush and delays caused by bad driving and motorcades. Lastly, it made sense to integrate my workout into the early part of my day, instead of wasting more time at the gym later.

    How often do you run commute?

    So far, four times a week, but eventually I’d like to run all morning and evening commutes.

    How far is your commute?

    The total distance from home to the office is 6.5 miles, but I run 3.6 miles from home to Georgetown’s shuttle stop in Dupont Circle in the morning, or vice versa in the evening.  

    Do you pack or buy a lunch?

    I pack – helps me save cash and eat a lot healthier.  On non-running days, I replenish my office calorie stash with staples like oatmeal, fruit and nuts.

    What do you like most about run commuting?

    Freedom to enjoy the beauty of Washington, DC at a leisurely pace!  The city has so many architectural jewels off the beaten path of the Mall; it’s hard not to drool during my runs.  Also, every run is a mid-week victory, even when I finish feeling battered by the day.  Not only am I clearing four 5Ks a week but do so with almost zero emissions compared to driving.  And since exercise is built into my day, I no longer have the luxury of finding excuses not to workout.

    Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?

    Dupont - Autumn

    Dupont – Autumn

    No, but here and there I spot a few other run commuters along my route, which is always encouraging.

    When not run commuting, how do you get to work? 

    As an urban dweller, I prefer to leave the car (and the road rage) parked at home, so I take Metrobus.  Unfortunately, the hour-long haul makes me a bit stir crazy.  Every time a runner zooms past the bus, I inwardly cringe and wish I’d brought my running shoes and backpack.

    If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be?

    If you’re on the fence, just go for it.  The distance between home and work is probably feasible, so it’s worth it to run, especially if you’re constantly getting stuck in traffic and then park yourself at a desk all day.  Plus, all your friends will envy your strong legs, and you’ll also feel awesome when your doctor applauds you for a low resting heart rate.

    Anything else that you would like to include?

    Protect your back and hips: invest in a good backpack and pack light!

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    Are you interested in being featured in an upcoming The New Run Commuters feature? If so, please let us know by filling out the form below.

    (Note: “New” can be anywhere from a week to a year.)

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    By |2016-10-22T20:26:41+00:00April 17th, 2014|Categories: General, News, People|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

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    About the Author:

    Josh
    Editor-in-Chief of The Run Commuter by night, paralegal by day. Father of three boys. Husband to the world's greatest bicycle advocate. Avid runner. Lover of beer and urban gardening. Can be found running with a backpack around the streets of Atlanta, Georgia. Contact Josh at info@theruncommuter.com

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