Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Beware the Wily Road Warrior

So, it almost happened again: I was almost hit by a car. But first, the early week.

Stress and stuff was still irking me on Monday and Tuesday, but I hit the road on Monday for five miles. I decided to ditch the marathon training assignments until after the half because my stress-waddiness and lack of energy haven’t blended at all with the concept of running 30+ miles a week or coming home to run over ten miles after work.

LBJ needed a break on Tuesday tooGo with what works, right?

Despite every intention to run again on Tuesday, I fell for the Cleveland sports spell and lay on my living room floor mesmerized by playoffs and Yankee spankings. Lucky for me, my resistance bands, yoga mat and weights lay also on the living room floor near the television.

Cross-training Tuesday it was! I returned to some serious stretching, ab work and lower-back exercises, which will have to become part of my everyday once our relocation is complete.

Wednesday morning seemed really promising. I walked into work around 7 a.m. and almost took a detour into my gym bag. There hasn’t been a more perfect morning this year, and somehow I didn’t run through it.

If you live in NEOhio or love the Weather Channel, you’ll know it was all downhill from there. Clouds, wind, storms, rain. You name it.

The walk to workWhen I left work, however, it seemed to brighten up (no, not because of me) outside, and I decided to drive to Hudson, park at the grocery store, run a few and then pick up dinner.

It’s about an hour drive, so you can imagine the weather, my energy and my bladder were completely different versions of themselves by the time I pulled into Heinen’s. Unfortunately, the only bathroom in downtown Hudson I know of is the one at Main Street Cupcakes, and I just can’t visit until after the Half.

Yet on I ran.

I followed a 6-mile triangular double loop that traveled from Main Street down Aurora to North Hayden and up Streetsboro, if you’re familiar with the area.

It had some climbs and I took a few semi-detours up some hills, but encountered the biggest challenges from the wind, rain and automobiles.

On my second trip around the triangle, I was crossing a side street just as a Jaguar was headed for a stop sign. Or so I thought.

There I was, wearing fire-engine red shorts, a sunny yellow T-shirt and a blindly orange baseball cap, crossing the street. I couldn’t have been more noticeable if I had been wearing enflamed, bottomless chaps with a neon arrow sign that said “Look at me.” But alas, the driver missed both the stop sign and the runner.

Downtown HudsonIt didn’t take me long to know I should watch all cars—stationary or rolling—in front of which I am crossing. And it still blows my mind when you’re staring at a car and its driver, and they both keep moving.

The driver finally noticed the glowing beacon of don’t-hit-me crossing in front of her car and stopped. Meanwhile, I was turned halfway toward the car (ready to brace myself and crash into the windshield instead of going under) with a WTF look on my face. Then WHAM!

The ground hit me.

When I turned away from the car, I momentarily lost my orientation, stumbled and totally wiped out. Thankfully, I didn’t fall on my knees again this time (I’m tired of looking like a nine-year-old girl with scraped knees), but crashed onto my left hip and both palms. I’m a little scraped and bumped; I’m OK for now.

My neck whipped when I hit the ground, so I was wholly disorientated when I finally crawled onto my feet. Not to mention the whip of embarrassment.

Unlike the last car incident, this driver didn’t get out and scream at me. She followed me down the street, pulled into a driveway and offered me a ride. Another driver also pulled up to offer a ride along the way. I must have been a pathetic sight. So, two points for Hudson.

Once I collected myself and stopped my whimpering and limpering, I started back into my three-mile loop just as the ran really started to pour. I was just about the start feeling all Eeyore again, but I’m kind of bored with feeling sorry for myself. And off I ran.

My right felt a little tweaky; my head and neck felt a little off; and my left hammy just wasn’t right. Nevertheless, I finished the trek around Hudson and walked into my favorite grocery store, semi-sweaty, rained-on, dirty, a little bloody and really scraped. I can only imagine the meticulous produce boys weren’t digging my digging for good apples today.

All this falling and car-dodging got me thinking, though: how do communities rate for runner courtesy? Obviously singular circumstances with individuals don’t speak to the whole community, but I wonder what a thorough investigation might find.

I think I want this whole thing to myself on May 18The two times I had incidents in Stow, for example, I was yelled at when I was hit by a car, ignored when I wiped out near an intersection and beeped at when I slowly crossed the street all bloody and limping.

I wiped out on Babbitt Road in Euclid last summer, and the passers-by couldn’t have been more helpful. All traffic stopped (I was on the sidewalk), two people offered me a ride, another offered to call an ambulance, one person came out of his house to help and another woman parked her car and came to me with a First Aid kit. Impressive.

I’ll give Hudson the benefit of the doubt this time. Besides, they do have some pretty good cupcakes. Have I ever mentioned that? While they don’t seem to have the same stop-at-stop-signs tradition we follow in other parts of the country, I did get two offers of help. And that’s not so bad.

If nothing else, today was perfect training for incidents, injuries and inclement weather. I had a mean stitch miles 1-3 and kind of started praying for a bathroom when I was 2.5 miles out. Diving face-first into the cement, however, totally made me lose the stitch and forget about my bladder. So, next time you’re in a bad running situation… you know what to do ;-)


E-Speed said...

Girl it sounds like you are a car magnet. Hope you are okay!

natalie said...
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GP said...

Wow, Natalie, I didn't expect any of that lecture from you... ;-)

natalie said...
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JenC said...

Wow, I think we need to put a flashing light and a siren on you from now on. Be careful out there. Or, come join us more often at N. Chagrin on the paths away from traffic.

triguyjt said...

so...if I happen to see you running at NorthChagrin, I should run the other way????/
You never know, a stray horse might come right at you,!!!

Hope you are okay..

ramblings of a runnner said...

i have a fear of being hit by cars - but i thought it was totally unfounded and irrational -- i guess not though!!! be careful! maybe we should strap blinking lights all over you when you run!

Dana said...

Nothing like eating pavement to make you forget whatever else may be ailing you. Thank goodness you're ok & it sounds like w/ this latest incident at least you had good samaritans to help you out. The peeps in my hood usually are courteous & will stop(once they notice you) & generally lookout for runners. But I have had close calls w/ some who just weren't paying attention.

kelsalynn said...

I think that's a really good question- there's probably a website out there that rates cities right? If not, there should be, and if I knew anything about how to build said website, I would, but that's not exactly my forte!

Great job on the run and way to control your desire to walk into the cupcake store!!! That's discipline right there!

Landon said...

I thought this might be relevant: Overheard in New York