Yeah, it’s been awhile, but I’m still alive and running.
About three weeks ago I started utilizing public transportation to get to and from work. Portland has a pretty amazing public transportation system – having lived in San Francisco for many years and experienced their stellar public transportation I feel I’m qualified to give Portland their props.
Many years ago (like 20) I took the bus to and from work from Lake Oswego. L.O. is about 15 minutes (if you jump on the freeway) from Portland. It was pleasant. I read a lot of books, talked to a lot of people, made some good friends, etc. Then the firm I worked for moved to L.O. and my commute became all of 5 minutes, by car. Subsequently my then-husband and I moved even further out in the burbs and ended up where I am still, today. I’ve been out there for a little more than 9 years. For all 9 of those years I’ve driven myself to work. The company I work for now is located in downtown Portland, and my commute to work can be 40 minutes in the morning (at 6:15 a.m.) and as much as 1 hour 20 minutes in the evening (at 4:00 p.m.). Time, gas, money, stress. I hate traffic. Anyway, due to multiple circumstances I decided to revisit commuting on public transportation.
The first week was rough. My hours are 7 – 4. For me to get to work in a timely fashion I had to get on the bus at 5:46 a.m., which meant I had to get up at 4:00 a.m., walk my dog, shower, get dressed and get out of the house by 5 to walk the 1.75 miles to the bus. I got to work at 6:50. It was pretty easy (aside from getting up at 4 a.m.) but I was annoyed by three other bus riders.
Yeah, that’s right. I was annoyed. Some people are annoying. There were three riders, two women and one man who sat together, kind of, and talked and laughed the whole ride in. It wasn’t the talking and the laughing that annoyed me. If I’m being brutally honest what annoyed me is the man reminded me of my ex-husband. He was loud, everybody’s best friend, obnoxious and thrived on the attention of these two women – who gladly gave it to him. I wondered, as I sat there enduring their ridiculousness, if the guy’s wife knew how chummy he was with these two women he saw on the bus every day. I highly doubted it. But who knows. . .
After three days of enduring that freak show I made the conscious decision to catch the bus that came at 5:32 a.m. It didn’t mean changing anything really, it just meant I couldn’t casually walk to the bus, I had to walk with purpose. Once I did that, I was golden. The bus was pleasant and I arrived at work annoyance free, which was good for everyone.
At the end of the week I evaluated the situation and determined I honestly enjoyed riding the bus. I enjoyed not dealing with the traffic, I enjoyed getting in almost 4 miles of walking every day, I enjoyed reading books again – what I didn’t enjoy is the inability to fit running into the mix. I tried to figure that out and came up with some pretty lame ideas, like getting up at 3 a.m. to run. Um, no, I don’t think so.
In a conversation with a man I work with, who lives in my same town and sometimes bikes to work, I gained valuable information. If I signed up as a bike commuter, and paid a one-time fee of $5 for a key to the bike room, I would also get access to the weight room/showers from 6-9 a.m. every day. SCORE.
For the second week I decided to give running a try. I got up at 4, put my running clothes on, took my dog for a walk, put on my hydration backpack (replacing the bladder with work clothes, shoes, etc.) and I ran. I ended my run at 5:30 at the bus stop, got on the bus a little smelly, got to the office at 6:40, took a shower and was in my office by 7. It was pretty amazing. I did it twice. Only issues were the backpack was freaking heavy and I was pretty sure I would catch pneumonia from getting on a highly air conditioned bus with full body sweat. But I was running, so I figured I could live with the issues. I ran 5 miles one day, 6 miles another. Fretted about how I would get longer runs in with such a time crunch, but then we all know I like to fret.
It’s only day 2 of the third week, but today was pretty spectacular – which is why I’m writing this blog post.
Yesterday when I came to work I brought two sets of extra clothes and hung them in my office. I also brought two additional days worth of food and stuck that in the fridge. Then this morning I got up at 4, put my running clothes on and at 4:20 I drove myself the almost 2 miles to the bus stop park and ride (a splurge I’ve only allowed myself on Fridays). I got on the 4:30 bus and made my way to Portland. I got off the bus by 5:15 and ran into downtown. My pack was really light because there wasn’t much in it and the temperature was perfect somewhere around 60. I ran towards the waterfront and realized that the way I drive into downtown is not conducive to running so I had to snake through a neighborhood or two before I made it to the waterfront but when I finally got there (1½ miles in) it was glorious. GLORIOUS! I ran the length of the waterfront (which ends right in front of my office building) and went to take a shower.
This picture is from my morning run . . . .
I got into my office at 6:30, which is way too freaking early, but I felt wonderful and excited about tomorrow. I plan to run further, probably cross a bridge or two – since I now know how much time I’ll have and how to actually get to the waterfront – I’m so excited.
Never thought I’d hear myself say that about getting up at 4:00 a.m. and taking the bus to work – but it’s amazing what you can get used to!!
I heart Portland, Oregon so very much. I owe my ex-husband great thanks for bringing me here. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, even when it’s raining, and the running community is so very large and supportive.
I’m happy, healthy and quite content with my life. I’m finding my joy in running and being an Oregonian, while saving money and a great deal of stress at the same time.
You can’t beat happy and content.