Up until the past 12 months, whenever I would run around my home, it was always on sidewalks. This has brought me more than my share of unpleasant experiences. I tripped over uneven sidewalks, I slipped and slid on sidewalks that weren’t shoveled or de-iced, I high stepped through inches and inches of unshoveled snow and I hurdled and hurkey’d over snow-covered corners. All the time I thought this was winter running and I had to deal with it. But once we moved to our new digs, digs that do not contain sidewalks, I saw a whole new world to winter running. I no longer have to carry a flashlight with me to see the uneven surface of the sidewalks because I now run on the nice and flat road that doesn’t contain uneven “seams”. I don’t have to curse out the neighbors for not shoveling and I don’t have to make an embarrassing scene at the local liquor store that didn’t have their walks shoveled. Instead, I run on the nicely plowed roads. And when the roads aren’t nicely plowed or the edge of the road contains too much snow for my comfort, I just move farther into the street and run where it’s clear and snow free. I’ve been secretly gloating about my new-found sidewalk freedom and have been wishing my other sidewalk neighborhood friends could experience this joy and freedom too.
But just as I’ve been about to go public with my love for street running and to sing its praises I’ve been recently reminded that while I don’t have to worry about tripping over sidewalk seams, I may in fact have a much greater worry on my hands. Getting hit by a 3 ton (how much do cars weigh, am I close?) moving vehicle racing towards me at a high-speed. I live in a very curvy area and people just drive like Mario Andreotti around these corners and I’ve, more than once, had to jump into a snow bank to “save myself”. And yes, I did then turn around in disgust, throw my arms up and give these drivers the “what the fuck?” gesture. I figure if I don’t make a big point about the fact that they almost hit me, they won’t care and will continue to drive like assholes. But if they get the “on my god, you almost killed me, you jack ass driver and while you’re at it get off your fricken phone so you don’t kill the next runner” attitude from me, they’ll never learn. So I feel I’m providing a service to all non-sidewalk runners every where by over reacting and making a scene. (Side note: when a vehicle is any where in the near vicinity to me, oh hell, when they are actually in eye sight of me, I make a point of getting as close to the shoulder of the road as I can get. I am not running in the middle of street when I almost get hit… just to be clear!)
So, while I do NOT miss running on sidewalks, I do miss the ability to be reassured while I run that I won’t bounce off of someone’s bumper. Because as many action adventure movies of Bruce Willis’ that I’ve seen and as many times as I’ve seen him gracefully roll over the hood of a car to land on the other side with nothing but a bloody lip, I’m pretty sure I can’t pull off that move. So I just better, in general, do all I can to avoid getting hit… sidewalk or no sidewalk.
Until next time… gotta run.