A fantasy fulfilledJanuary 11, 2009
In the novel Timeline by the late Michael Crichton, the character Andre Marek, a medieval historian, practices jousting as a hobby. What a quaint way to spend one’s free time, right? Yet this arcane and archaic skill becomes rather handy when Marek finds himself time-traveling back to the 14th century and being challenged to a joust!
I wonder how many runners out there harbor a fantasy that something similar will happen to them — that, one day, somebody’s life or some important cause will depend on their ability to run fast. That running, in addition to being healthy and fun and all that, will prove useful.
I like to pretend that running is useful for commuting, but that’s not really true. If the goal is to travel between home and work as quickly, cheaply, and safely as possible, cycling and busing are superior options. Except…
Except when it snows like crazy, as it did several times in Seattle last month. The roads were a mess. It was dangerous to drive and impossible to cycle. Bus service was severely reduced and delayed. And yet I didn’t miss a single day of work. I wasn’t even late. When it was time to go to work, I just put my backpack on and started running, as usual. Ditto for returning home in the evening. The snow on the sidewalks added 3-5 minutes to my 6-mile runs, but I saved about that much time at intersections, where there was no need to stop for the (nonexistent) motor vehicle traffic.
Maybe using my bipedal prowess to get to the lab on time wasn’t such a big deal. Still, it was hard not to feel smug as I ran past the abandoned cars and buses.