One year ago I saw Bill McKibben speak about the global climate crisis. He basically said, “We are not doing well and if we don’t change then things are going to get very bad.”
The next day I ran to work and then ran home. The day after that I ran to work again. For the past year I’ve run to and from work every day. I think my coworkers think I’m partially insane.
Running has become my main form of transportation. I don’t own a car or a bike. I rarely use public transportation. The only thing I rely on is my legs and feet. The more I use them the stronger my body feels.
I am fortunate to live a little over two miles from my workplace. The local urban grocery store where I shop is less than a mile from my apartment. On the weekend, I go to the farmer’s market which is on the other side of town—five miles away. Everywhere I need to go I can get to on foot. Before running became my main form of transportation, I used to run to stay fit, but it always felt like an extra, unnecessary chore that I would only do a couple times a week after work when I wasn’t too tired.
At various points in my life I tried gym memberships, but it never felt sustainable. In my early twenties I worked out religiously, six days a week. I owned a car back then and would drive myself fifteen miles to the gym. At some point, I gave it up and then spent most of my mid-twenties being out of shape. Looking back, I am very embarrassed by the irresponsible gym membership periods of my life. In general, I am embarrassed for every human that has a gym membership and who travels in a personal automobile to the gym so they can run on a machine that uses electricity. Sometimes I have a strong urge to shake these people and tell them they’re doing it wrong.
The greatest thing about running to work is that my human need for exercise is filled by my chosen method of transportation. I will never need a gym membership again. There will never be a need to go for a jog when I get home. Many days, I find that I get home quicker than I would have if I waited to take the bus.
On days that it rains, my coworkers will sometimes ask if I ran to work. Or on days when it snows. Or on days when it’s really hot. I usually just nod. I no longer know of any other way to get to work. I’ve come to accept weather for what it is and enjoy each aspect of weather as its own unique and beautiful thing. Every kind of weather can be beautiful.
Last winter when a blizzard shut down public transportation and made driving impossible—I ran across town to my favorite diner, found it had been closed, and ran home.
It usually takes me fifteen to twenty minutes to get from my front door to my office desk. When I get to work I go in the bathroom to cleanup with a washcloth and change into my work clothes.
People always seem curious when I run by them. I’ve overheard children, waiting at the bus stop, refer to me as “that guy that always runs.”
Once, last summer, when I ran to my favorite ice cream shop on one of the hottest days of the year, the ice cream shop almost refused to serve me because I was sweating so much. Running related incidents like these used to bother me, but the more I run and the more I sweat, the more I fall in love with the way I live my life. In contrast, the rest of the world—built on its framework of automobiles and their byproducts of carbon—seems to be getting more and more insane.
Things will probably happen on the internet today. Please remember that the internet is a place that is attached to your brain. If your brain does too much internet then it can lead to destructive qualities in your life. Keep in mind that the internet is a place, but like all places (for example: america, earth, sun, pluto) it does not exist outside your mind.
I found this video because of annie keithline. She is walking across/around/through america. A little while ago, while walking, she met the guy from this video who is also walking across/around/through america
The picture on the left is what I look like when I get to work. The picture on the right is what I look like after I put work clothes on.
Running to work is both the greatest gift I can give to the world and the world can give to me.
The last two mornings I’ve been trying to run so fast that I fall on my face. It’s very exciting and fun to run so fast that you feel like you’re going to fall on your face the whole time.
I’ve been finding enjoyment in trying to somehow outrun my legs by a few miles so they give up and go home and I no longer have legs.
My legs have been sore because I’ve been making them go so fast. The rest of my body doesn’t care and only wants to go faster.
This new philosophy is much different than how I was raised to run. I used to lead with my legs which made my legs very proud. They would sprint out in front of the rest of my body and show off and get tired very quickly and then say, “Okay, I’m done. Let’s go home.” And we would go home.
My legs no longer determine how or where I’m going to run. I try to only run with my brain or with nothing at all.
When I run with my brain I get the most enjoyment when it thinks, “Wow, good job, don’t ever give up. Keep improving your form. Nice job. I wonder what’s going to happen next. Let’s keep getting better. Your form is improving so much. We are still in search of the perfect footstep. It has not yet been attained. I am confident we will one day find it.”
I have given up barefoot running for the year. About a week ago I started wearing these glove shoes. I like them because I can wash them in the washing machine.
As a graduate and current employee of brown university, I am saddened, angered, and embarrassed to learn this morning that brown university will not be divesting from coal. The brown corporation has decided to continue funding coal companies as they turn the world into one giant slurry mountain.
The divestment movement in itself was not going to defeat the coal industry, but it was one of many steps that all institutions must take if we are ever going to be able to defeat fossil fuel companies and global climate change.
Coal divestment at brown had a chance to become the snow pebble that eventually turned into an avalanche that suffocated fossil fuel companies, but instead the brown corporation sat around a table and breathed on this snow pebble until it melted. When it had finished melting, the corporation pointed at the puddle and said, “Bad dog.”
I’m embarrassed to be associated with a place like brown. It’s always been a mountain of privilege built on piles of old money that were created from coal and slaves and everything else that money in america is generally made of, but the prospect that brown might divest from coal gave me hope that I could be proud of the place where I got an education and where I work. Instead, I have lost faith in brown university as anything more than the mountain of privilege that it’s always been.
Today, while running to work barefoot, I saw someone else who was barefoot. He was walking. His pants legs and shirt sleeves were rolled up. I kind of made an excited gurgle sound and gave him a high five.
It was thirty-five degrees outside this morning. I only wore shorts and a t-shirt. I keep waiting for the day when I think, “This is it,” and I start wearing a jacket and pants. Eventually, I’ll probably have to wear a jacket and pants if I want to continue running to work, but I think running barefoot helps regulate my body temperature.
One guy on a bike said, “Woah,” as I ran past him today.
Two people at a bus stop eating little candies looked at me and said, “Damn.”
I am hopeful that someday my feet will be so strong that I’ll be able to run a distance of four hundred thousand abraham lincolns (~454 miles*) or at least be able to run across the surface of a hot spot like Mercury or Venus.
Today, while running, I thought, “This is it,” which I interpreted to mean, “This might be as good as it will ever get.” I was okay with this idea. My life has always been pretty good and if it never gets any better or I never manage to travel even one abraham lincoln on a planet significantly hotter than the surface of earth then I will still be pretty satisfied with everything.
*An abraham lincoln is a measure of about six feet. Four hundred thousand abraham lincolns would be 2.4 million. That number divided by 5,280 equals about 454.
Something crawled on my desk while I was eating a sunflower seed this morning. It said, “What’s earth like over here?” I did not trust this thing that crawled on my desk because I had been taught a long time ago not to trust things that crawl. I killed the thing that crawled on my desk. Someday, I hope I will learn how to not kill curious things and instead teach them that earth is pretty much the same everywhere.