Lunch Rush

Occasionally, I’m stuck running on my lunch hour out of necessity. I don’t like it, and it kind of feels like a huge waste of time because I can only grind out like 3 miles, and that’s only because I’m salaried and work in an environment that gives me a lot of autonomy.

My most recent run netted me 3.5 hot, sweaty miles around the Centennial Lakes Park trails, which are usually overrun with children, strollers, lunchtime walkers (sometimes that’s me!), and maintenance carts. It’s a busy place, with not a lot of room for running. I also ended up with a horribly sweaty back once I put my dress back on. I felt pretty disgusting. I’m an engineer, so I’m not client-facing, but it was fairly unpleasant to sit at my desk feeling my dress sticking to my back.

I’ve had some time to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. The biggest problem is something I can’t really change: there are locker rooms in two of the buildings in the office park, but neither are in my building. That means about 5 minutes of my break are taken up getting to the locker room (and 5 more are taken up walking back — although, more on that later).

I bring a bag with clothes, shoes, a hat, sunglasses, my running watch, and Body Glide. I should probably just get a stick for my office as well. Bringing a bag of clothes is nothing revolutionary, but that’s what I do. I try to pack it the night before but sometimes I’m lazy or forget, so I set a reminder on my phone. At work, I have some moisturizer, sunscreen, dry shampoo, deodorant, wipes, and petroleum jelly, so I don’t have to lug that around with me all the time. I don’t wear a lot of makeup on days when I run, so I don’t worry about reapplying.

The dry shampoo seems to work. It’s an aerosol spray, so I don’t have to worry about prematurely graying if it doesn’t blend enough. My colleague told me it actually works better if applied before a workout. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do it before and after now as a result of that advice. I can’t tell if my head is less sweaty or not.

What doesn’t work? The wipes. I mean, they do, in a limited way, but they don’t work for dealing with sweat. I don’t have time to, like, chill in the locker room naked while air drying, so I ordered a quick dry towel and I guess I’ll just take the world’s quickest shower, towel off, and hope the thing actually does dry quickly.  I haven’t tried it out yet.

I’m still trying to figure out what to do about food. I don’t pack a lunch, so you might say that might be a good place to start, and I agree. I usually eat cereal at my desk for breakfast, and then by the time I’m running, I’m hungry and even a few more bites of cereal isn’t enough for me to avoid feeling like garbage post-run. I’m thinking the solution is to 1. bring a lunch (or otherwise procure my lunch in advance) and 2. eat part of my lunch before running, and part of it after. I have been meaning to bring lunches for… my entire working life, basically, without much success, so don’t hold your breath on this.

I don’t have an office, but I do have a semi-fancy cubicle that has a dinky “coat closet” built in. I hang up my sweaty clothes in there (including my underwear, because I have discovered bringing a change of underwear is A VERY GOOD IDEA), which is probably something that my coworkers find abhorrent, but I am also an unabashed office nail clipper and have even clipped my toenails at work, so my threshold of shame is very high. This works okay but I think I need to bring in some kind of fabric refresher to mitigate the stink.

Beyond what I’ve already laid out, I think the only think that would make my lunch running more appealing and more useful would be for me to get significantly faster so that I could actually get in a substantial workout at lunch. Sigh.

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