For as long as I’ve been a runner, I envied people who ran at lunch. I always had to wake up early to run so I could get home in time to stretch and shower before the kids were up, while lunch runners were sleeping in (presumably), eating pancakes for breakfast (again, presumably), driving fancy two-seaters to work and essentially taking their sweet-ass time knowing that they bang out an easy 6 at lunch. What infuriated me most, though, was that when I stopped to consider how much time I was wasting at lunch doing nothing, it seemed criminal that I couldn’t waste that time running instead. So what was stopping me? Several things:
1. My office is in a terrible running area; it’s on a four-lane, shoulderless, sporadically-sidewalked road.
2. There aren’t showers in my building.
Just two things, I guess.
So I continued to run before the sun was up, imprisoned by my narrow definition of running which included fifteen minutes of stretching and a shower afterward. I continued to secretly hate lunch runners and curse the world for my unjust predicament. I was also a little more of a dick to family and friends. What choice did I have?
One day at work about two years ago I was wasting time on Google maps looking at satellite views of those silly man-made islands off the cost of Dubai. After briefly then peeking at the pyramids, I dragged my mouse halfway around the Earth to my childhood neighborhood before wondering what the top of my office building looked like from space. And that’s when I saw it – a thin gray line cutting through woods and backyards near my office. It was labeled Chester Valley Trail. WHAAAAA??!?!?
I drove past the trail on my way home from work that day; it was brand new, paved, dead flat and only a half mile from the office. Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod. I quickly decided the time had come to run at lunch. Clearly, this trail was created in my honor; to not run on it would be abhorrent. By the time I got home I’d already come up with a plan to get changed and sneak out of the office unobserved, in order to assuage my perpetual fear of being noticed.