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As I go to check off the box, marked “Other,” to register my car-less commute for Walk/Ride Day, I look wistfully at the options listed there. Walking? Not a bad idea, but that might take too long. Rollerblading—sigh, won’t that impress friends and colleagues? Canoeing, eh, wouldn’t that be the life? Truth be told, I run to work, nothing that glamorous.lb5

I started commuting by foot five-and-a-half years ago as a way to squeeze exercise into my busy schedule. I’ve held pretty steady on a daily run from Somerville to Downtown Boston, even in snow and subzero temperatures. I stopped short of running in pouring rain, but have been assured by a young, enthusiastic sales clerk at a local sporting goods store that inclement weather is no reason to impede my daily journey (he says there are products to protect my toes from rain and cold).shoe GM blog 10-13

So what does this run get me besides cardio fitness? Well let’s see…there are the amazed and shocked comments by coworkers — “You run to work?” “From where?” “Oh, my God” — remarks implying I have some sort of Superwoman status in the office (I wish!). Of course, I try to assure them that my running commute has nothing to do with super fitness, or super dedication to being “green,” it’s just a steadfast habit to preserve sanity (my own, not others’).

There are benefits of running to work, apart from fitness and the green commute. Space magically opens up on the elevator on hot days (A/K/A, days when I’m sweating in buckets), or pouring-rain days (the drowned-look is so yesterday). A quiet shuffle by bystanders to avoid contact with me opens up lots of room.lb6

Then there’s the route itself — the beauty, majesty, and historic wonder of the Longfellow Bridge, and the views it provides as I run up and over it every morning. And friendly greetings that jumpstart a positive attitude (we hope) from the regular school crossing guards in Cambridge, and from a gentleman named Glen, who is homeless: “Have a nice day, take care now.”

And finally, I have perfected some important life skills, such as how to gracefully wave off help after having tripped and fallen face-first on concrete — “No, I am fine, thank you!” and “Really, the bleeding will stop soon” — and how to blend in discreetly, when sweating and a bit disheveled, with guests at the posh hotels when in need of a potty stop on my route. But most of all I love Boston and nothing short of a natural disaster will keep me away from the awesomeness of the skyline I see every day as I crest the Longfellow. Marathoner I am not, but boy am I sane!




Written By:

Program Director for Cancer Prevention and Control at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

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