Mountain Run to Work

It’s 2pm. Mid-meeting, I start to feel an insatiable hunger and I wonder if there are any snacks left in my bag. Shit. There aren’t. It’s a sinking feeling and I’m sure you’ve been there, distracted by the hunger for second lunch. So I turn to foodie teammate Brian Pederson and plead,

Brian, have you seen any carbs?!

A typical midnight snack example. Full-fat ice cream, blueberry juice, & red wine for anti-inflammatory purposes!

A typical midnight snack example. Full-fat ice cream, blueberry juice, & red wine for anti-inflammatory purposes!

With nearly 900 people around, we know that birthday cakes are somewhere in the building. Usually in Merchandising, on their high table. Today I’m in luck, Brian tells me that he has dates in the big fridge around the corner, and in between my next phone call I rush around to the fridge in a very primal manner. As expected from Brian, these dates are of the finest quality.

My Dreamy Active Commute  

my favourite bridge view in the world

my favourite bridge view in the world

I did the math in my head today and thanks to my active commute and a growing obsession with lunch yoga and inversions, I spend half of my day in active state. And I have an office job, like some of you.

For a long time, my vision was to frolick on my favourite trails for a good chunk of time every single day. But there was a disconnect; I remember thinking, how do I make this happen? I for sure didn’t want to be a park ranger and I loved my job, which involved inventing as a team everyday. I thought, do I work doing research from a wifi caravan parked woodside? Probably not… It was a lifestyle that I couldn’t quite grasp.

The start of my daily adventure! I live up here,

The start of my daily adventure! I live up here, I work down there… just behind the tall buildings!

I followed my vision and moved to the North Shore of Vancouver– as high up as I could go on the mountainside while still being on the grid. My street is a trailhead, where real darkness emerges for the stars to play, along with some friendly bears. 😉

I get to run the beautiful Skyline every day!

Is this commute for real?! No traffic jams here…

When I moved up to here in August from Kitsilano, my new roommates laughed at my idea of biking or running to work back in Kits. But I’m pretty stubborn, and I knew I would make it happen if I could find the trails to do it. I wasn’t about to drive to work, and bussing to work seemed like nothing exciting. For sure it would be a challenge, but that made it all the more appealing. Why do anything normal if you’re going to be awake before 9am?

So for the past four months I’ve been prototyping my active commute through different strategies:

Strategy 1, August … Road-run both ways to work (approx. 10-12 miles each way)
Result: FAIL after 1 day.
Failure report: This commute was hard on the eyes and even more so on the body. Not feeling fun yet!

photo 4

Strategy 2, September … Road-cycle both ways to work
Result: FAIL after 1.5 months.
Failure report: Cycling every which way was going well, until one day I ran home and my legs got jealous of that experience… for me, running uphill is so much more pleasant than biking up!

Strategy 3, October … Duathlon to/from work
More on this:
I set up a duathlon where I left my bike, helmet, and cycling shoes about 5 miles down the hill from my house at Sian and Ross’ place, then I would run down a nice trail, use their house as a transition zone, then ride in, and do the reverse on the way home.
Result: Fun, alas! But I’m slow at transitions, and then I thought of the next idea and couldn’t contain my excitment…

still getting the hang of mid-run photography. On Capilano Pacific Trail!

Still getting the hang of mid-run photography. On Capilano Pacific Trail!

Strategy 4, November & still going! Mountain Running to work / hitchhiking home
More on this: 
I run my favourite trails to work everyday! I take Baden Powell and Skyline to the Grouse Mountain base, run down Nancy Greene Way then onto Capilano Pacific Trail, over Lionsgate Bridge and then a myriad of Stanley Park trails, before finally hitting a beach run to round out the ~20k. With a heavy pack I take my time and enjoy the scenery. The voyage home at night is all about rest and relaxation, I get to kick back as someone else chauffeurs me (usually the bus). I love it, the way home is optimized for weeknight parties, with no nice bike to worry about getting stolen, and no worries about having a drink or two.
Result: loving it!

Toward the end of my commute in... English Bay on an epic windstorm day!

Toward the end of my commute in I am greeted by a beautiful English Bay on an epic wind storm day!

Back at the office…

the office.

Typical coat rack specimen; the office.

You’ve been eating constantly since I’ve seen you, says Sian.

It’s true. It’s 3pm and when I reflect on the facts, that statement may be true. But if you check out my mileage from November and consider the good times I’m having every day in the forest, you’ll know it’s worth it.

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3 thoughts on “Mountain Run to Work

  1. Soo glad you are writing these posts! Gives me (beginning runner – only trails) hope it’ll get easier, like hiking. And I’ve had the exact same conversation with myself about ‘how do I spend time in the woods/mountains daily when I like my office job’, laughed out loud at this whole thing. Thank you! 🙂

    And, dang, north shore to kits is far, you are awesome.

    • hey Sophie! Glad you laughed at my antics.

      Cool that you’re a beginner runner! Where do you run? And ya, it gets way easier! It’s cool to feel the progress. I recently left the office job and joined a startup, with fridays off and that gives me way more trail time. In fact, I’ve been overdosing with the extra time! The gift of the office is, if you’re like me, it gives us a healthy constraint and helps us rest enough. Hah! Hence my post about the achilles injury in june. Oh well, learning self restraint now!

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