Wednesday, January 10, 2018
I am a runner. I train year round. Whenever possible, I run on the sidewalk. You may not believe this, but I prefer it. It's safer for me when I'm running and it's safer for you when you're driving. During the winter, for obvious reasons, the sidewalks are not always available to us. When they are covered in ice or packed snow they are border-line death traps (think sprained ankle). After a big storm, such as the Bomb Cycle that just hit us last week here in MA, some of them get buried completely (see below photo) and will not likely be dug out for weeks....months?? Who knows.
Thus, for this relatively brief-ish window of the year, we runners are forced out on the road. Now, some of you are probably thinking to yourself, why don't they just go inside during the winter? And it's a fair question. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to a treadmill. But those of us who can get to a gym along with the lucky ducks who have their own machine, are, in fact, probably running inside when it's necessary. Personally, I loathe the treadmill. One of the big reasons I run is to be outside, so being stuck on a hamster wheel for multiple days in a row is physical and mental torture. That said, I'll do it. Last week alone I was inside for 4 out of my 6 runs. As a marathoner, though, I have at least one day a week, sometimes more, when I am running for over 2 hours straight and that is where I have to draw the line. I just can't run on a treadmill for 20 miles. Well, I should rephrase; I can but I won't. So, one day a week, I really need to share the road with you. Keep in mind, I am a driver, too. I do understand both sides of this situation. Is it a pain? Yes. Is it annoying? It can be. Ultimately, it sucks for both drivers and runners alike. That said, I still have to ask, both for those of us who run year round and especially for the winter warriors who want...or even need...to be outside in the winter, that you throw us a bone once in a while as we're all in this together. It's not like I'm asking to run with you while you're going 70mph down I-95. I live in the suburbs where the average speed is 30mph. I don't think it's that big a deal to you to either move over a half a foot or even to slow down if there is a car on the other side of the road as I am running by. If anything, it will delay your trip 10 seconds tops. In return for this courtesy, I promise to give you this:
~ I will wear reflective gear and bright clothing so you can easily see me as I am running toward you.
~ Much to her dismay, I will not run with my dog when the conditions are bad in order to further minimize my surface area.
~ I will stay as close to the my side of the road as possible and pull into driveways when there is space.
~ I will jump up and run on the sidewalk if and when it's ever available to me.
~ I will avoid the main roads as much as I can and seek out the routes in smaller neighborhoods where the traffic is lighter.
~ I will run inside once in a while; especially when the conditions are particularly dangerous for cars and thus runners, too.
If I do all this, dear driver, will you consider letting me run on the road without fearing for my life or making me feel like I am an idiot and have completely ruined your day? Please? It's just until the weather gets better. Two months tops. For those of you who see me out there and voluntarily move over or slow down without giving me a dirty look or yelling at me, THANK YOU. It never goes unnoticed and it is greatly appreciated. Some of you (fellow runners or just really nice people in general) even smile and wave to let me know that all is well. You guys are the best. For those of you who just can't deal and won't change your tune despite this letter, well, I'm sorry. This is the way it's going to be for a little while. If it makes you feel better to honk or give me the finger, fire away. Just know that I hate it as much as you do. And come spring, perhaps we can be friends again?
Listen to this:
Panic Drills - Sleigh Bells