I’ll Take the Long Road

If every evil villain subplot in the history of Hollywood has taught me anything, it’s that there’s always an easy way and a hard way, and the hard way makes for significantly better entertainment.

(Spoiler alerts ahead, although, honestly, you really should have seen all these movies by now.)

Why destroy Gotham in one fell swoop when you can detonate a fusion bomb with a five-month countdown? Why use your superpowers to cripple The Avengers when you can devise a roundabout plan to get Bruce Banner angry? Why kill infant Simba when you can exile him from the Pridelands with the hope he doesn’t make a triumphant third-act return as an adult lion to retake his place as rightful king?

Likewise, there’s an easy way and a hard way home to my apartment after work. The easy way involves three stops on an express train for a total travel time of about 18 minutes. The hard way involves multiple treks across Manhattan’s suspension bridges for a total travel time of about 145 minutes. Last Friday night, I opted for the latter, and tomorrow, I’m planning a reprise.

What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment.

That, and I’m eight weeks into marathon training. Though really, I think we can all agree those are pretty much the same thing.

My past experiences with run-commuting – awkwardly dubbed runnuting by this wordsmith – have been largely negative: changing at work, weaving through tourists, regretting my stomach-annihilating lunch decisions. But with enough planning, I’ve learned a double-digit post-work runnute is not only achievable; it’s actually preferable to a Saturday morning long run. That’s because a Saturday morning long run destroys an entire weekend – early to bed on Friday night and exhausted on Saturday night – while a Friday long run preserves the promise of a real, honest-to-god Saturday night on the town.

Or Sunday afternoon on the town. Whatever.

Both of these extra-large beers may or may not have belonged to this girl. I’ll let you be the judge.

For anyone else considering making the switch, here are my tips:

PACK AHEAD. You’ll want to bring the bare minimum with you to work and wear clothes you don’t mind leaving in your desk drawer for an entire weekend. Last Friday, I arrived at work with the following in a reusable bag:

  • Metro card/workplace ID/license/credit card/$20, all cinched together with a hair tie, instead of a full-blown wallet.
  • Running shorts/tank/bra/socks/shoes/headband.
  • iPhone.
  • GUs.
  • House keys.
  • Running belt with small pocket to hold all of the above while I made my way home.

EAT THOUGHTFULLY. Traditionally a morning runner, I’m not used to logging miles with anything more than the previous night’s dinner in my stomach. That means I had to remain mindful as I snacked throughout the day ahead of my evening long run. I opted for a normal breakfast; an early, carby lunch; and a light snack about an hour before the workday ended. When I got home at 9 p.m. after logging 14 miles, I also proceeded to eat the entire contents of my refrigerator. No big deal.

PLAN YOUR ROUTE CAREFULLY. Running up Lexington Ave. or down Wall Street or through Times Square at rush hour is a surefire way to ruin your life. Opt instead for the East or West Side highways or the less-traversed avenues like 1st Ave or 10th Ave. And whether or not you have a Garmin, plot your course before leaving the office, or you may find yourself 14-miles in and still in Brooklyn. And I can imagine no worse fate.

PARTY HARD ON SATURDAY. Seriously. Make it worth the hurt.

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