August 22, 2014

How to Get More Exercise? Hide Your Car!

Since moving to Colorado, one of the challenges I’ve faced is figuring out how to go out for drinks… or more accurately, how to get home after doing so. In New York City, it was so easy – I took the subway, Citibike, or a taxi pretty much wherever I went, so driving wasn’t even an option. But in Colorado, I’ve had to do a lot of planning ahead to make sure that I stay safe.

Beatnik St. Julien
The ridiculously delicious Beetnik cocktail at the St. Julien is well worth all that planning though! Ingredients: beet juice, vodka, Domaine de Canton, and rosemary.

When I was apartment-hunting in Colorado, one key criterion was the proximity to a Park N Ride bus stop. (This is the closest thing that the Colorado suburbs have to mass transit.) The place I ended up living is really perfect in that regard – I’m a one mile walk (on pleasant sidewalks) from a Park N Ride, which only takes a few minutes if I’m driving and 15 minutes if I’m walking. From there, it’s $4 and about 20 minutes on the bus to the middle of either Boulder or Denver, and I’m able to read a book, catch up on email, etc on the way. Not a bad deal!

I’m still working out the kinks in this plan, though, and this week I stumbled upon one. I was cutting it really close to get to the Park N Ride before the scheduled departure, and although I got there two minutes early, it turned out that the bus had already come and gone. After some research, I learned that RTD guarantees the bus will leave the station at the designated time, but after that it’s just an estimate – and they don’t wait at a stop to “catch up” if they are early. Lesson learned: I need to be early too!

This time, though, I would have had to wait 20 minutes for the next bus… so I decided to activate plan B. I drove my car up to Boulder, parked in a lot that didn’t start metering again in the morning until 8am, and then at the end of the night, caught a ride home with a friend (as planned). If I had taken the bus, that would have meant that I’d do a quick walk/jog over to the Park N Ride in the morning to get my car, but this time, it meant that I jogged to the Park N Ride, took the bus back up to Boulder, and then retrieved my car from there.

Since that was a bit annoying after I had gone to the trouble of checking the bus schedule and heading to the Park N Ride the night before, I decided to sweeten the deal and give it some purpose. I set my alarm extra early (first bus = 5:30am), then took my car just a little bit further past Boulder and went for a morning hike up Mount Sanitas. Yes, it kind of sucked getting up that early when I didn’t have to, but I was rewarded for my efforts with a really amazing view!

Mt Sanitas Early AM
One of these days I’m going to bring my laptop and MiFi and just do all my work from the top of this rock pile. Hopefully the hippies don’t hate me for bringing corporate America to the mountain.

Some people move their alarm clock to the other side of the room to force themselves to get up and workout. I move my car to the other side of town to force myself to get out and hike 🙂 I think I will be leaving my car in Boulder and hiking in the morning before work more often!


8 thoughts on “How to Get More Exercise? Hide Your Car!”

  1. One time I was at a party at a friend’s house and had too much to drink. I left my car there and got a ride home. In the morning, I ran back to get my car. I stayed safe and got an extra workout.

    1. To be honest, I really have fallen off the running bandwagon lately, in favor of (slow) hiking. I really need to get back to it in time for the fall marathon season!

    1. Yes, I think I need to embrace the run-to-car! If I avoid highways and take runnable roads, Boulder is about 12 miles and Denver is 19 miles. That’s a nice way to work up a sweat before brunch 🙂

  2. Getting home safe in Denver is definitely difficult. It was the same in AZ, and they didn’t have good public transit at all. I live about 3/4 a mile from a light rail stop, which helps a ton. Your parking plan seems totally worth it with that view!

    1. This is my first time living somewhere I’ve had to deal with it, so it’s just interesting to me to see all the different strategies people use!

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