There’s another one! I just saw her on my way home from school drop-offs. I want to slam on the breaks, honk, get out and slap Each. And. Everyone. Of them. Don’t they know there are people like me on the road–trying to run them over!? Well not trying to run them over, at least not me…not on purpose anyway.
It’s hard to navigate my disgust, because on the flip side I want to cheer for her.
She’s out running. The roadsides and gyms are flooded with all the New Year’s resolutions. People determined to not let another year slip by without focussing on their fitness. Filled with all the people who got a brand new shiny FitBit or other fancy gadget to indicate they have fulfilled their 10,000 step goal. Also filled with the regular runners, bikers and other gym enthusiast that I see on a regular basis. I was her once. I want to cheer, you go girl! She is going to feel great later today, later this year (if she keeps it up). The difference is I don’t try to get run-over every time I go out on the road for a run.
You’ve seen it too right?
Runners who assume everyone drives like they do…or like they think they do…Runners, running with their backs to traffic, this girl with headphones in. I don’t care how bright your fancy running pants are, if I am distracted I will still not see you. And the big silver, 3/4 ton, Dodge diesel I drive has no fancy navigation system, it will not distinguish between off roading fun and running over a person…
If you have refocused previous efforts or are reinventing yourself entirely, especially by running or walking more, cheers to you! I won’t complain about the gym being too full, or the roads bustling with with more foot traffic. Really. I am happy for you. Stick with it. If you get distracted, pick it back up. You don’t have to wait for New Years. Just start again.
BOOM! Just like that you’re back.
In the meantime, here are some helpful tips to help you stay alive while you are out there pounding pavement:
1.) Run into traffic. Well, not literally into it, that would defeat the purpose of getting healthy. However, you should be facing oncoming traffic. Shoulders down, relaxed, chest out and head up looking at each car. (Even looking down a little restricts oxygen, that will slow you down, but not as much as getting smashed by a car.)
2.) Did you know that wearing sunglasses can reduce your field of vision by 40%? Yeah, I wear them too. I’m just cool like that. All the more reason to keep your eyes on traffic.
3.) Go without headphones. I listen to music, not every run though. When I do have my tunes I only wear one headphone and I keep it down low enough to hear my own singing over the music–sometimes I throw out my arms and sing my heart out in the middle of a run, that’s when I realize I am not as tired as I thought I was…and that everyone now knows “I’m friends with the monster under my bed…”
Some interesting things I’ve noticed, running without iTunes.
Smells are more intense. Things like daffodils in spring, and eucalyptus trees come to mind right now, wet grass, and heady lilac too, heck even brewing coffee or bar-b-q (…then there are the few times I wish I hadn’t noticed: horse farm, garbage day and slurry pits…) The sky’s a little bluer, songbirds louder, frogs happier and laughing kids, sweeter. I don’t know, it’s just a nice change.
Here’s another nice thing about no music. There can sometimes be very serene and spiritual moments to a good run–in fact, there should be. When I decide that I am dedicating a run to someone, (and run with no music) a friend in need (my neighbor with cancer), a loved one, even someone who has passed away, I tend to run further and faster with less complaints from my head and body. Try it.
That and you will hear the cars coming toward you.
4.) Get out of the bike lane, if you see a biker coming. I know, usually the rule is “lower and slower” gets the right of way but not in this instance. Bikers have their backs to traffic–if they aren’t idiot bikers–and you’re feet are more maneuverable than some of those skinny road bike wheels, so scooch over. They might even thank you but don’t expect that, in fact they may not even acknowledge you but who cares. It’s the right thing.
5.) You know what else is the right thing? Keep it to yourself. Don’t litter. Don’t throw down your water bottles, or empty Gu packs (If you’re doing this-you are a tool and maybe you deserve to get run over). Really. Fact is that unless you are running for more than an hour, you’ll survive without both…you will also be tougher. Stick that gooey package back where you had it stashed, even if you had it in your sports bra, you’ll survive and you’re going to need a shower pill anyway.
6.) Reflect. Weather morning or night it’s easy to not notice how dark it might be to a driver if the sun is waxing or waning…I feel silly running with a reflective vest but I’m not so cool that I don’t when I choose runs late in the evening. Besides…I think it makes me faster, if only to hush the nay-sayers.
7.) I’ve discovered that running buddies also make me stronger, keep me safer, and are a good distraction around mile five or six…for some reason after forty or fifty minutes I start getting bored, that and on a really long run (10-12 miles, I sometimes end up out in BFE-alone-that creeps me out a little.)
When I have a buddy it’s always better. I’m lucky, I have a teenage kiddo who makes a (mostly) reliable and good running partner and I’ve been collecting others!
Regardless, fast or slow, you’re doing it. That’s what counts in the end!
I am happy to see new faces out on my runs, just stay safe.