Thursday, April 16, 2009

Run Safe

Last night I had a wild and crazy dream; the kind that was extremely vivid, woke me up, and that I should have written down. But I am never so prepared in the middle of the night, even though I believe that kind of journaling could make a good practice.

In the dream, there was a new order in town. It was actually a kind of lawlessness: Men, dressed in traditional western cowboy garb were patrolling the community in pairs. Some were on foot, others in vehicles, and they were fully armed with guns in holsters, even lassos! They were selectively stalking people and taking them hostage!

Are you still with me? I know it's bizarre but it was too vivid to ignore. There was a pair of dudes that at first blush caused me to raise my antennae, if you will. There was immediately something dangerous about them, and indeed, I became a target. It was during the second interaction that I outran them, even while dragging my daughter along. It really ticked one of them off because he was running as hard as he could, and I knew then I was in trouble.

I was sitting at an outdoor cafe when he came by again, saw me, flashed a light in my face and said "You're coming with me." I resisted, and of course woke up. No need to go any further down that scary path!

The reason I am sharing this with you on the heels of a blog about confidence, is because it's important to remember that no matter how confident we are, some situations are just not safe.

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a runner and she thought I might want to write about safety. She ran all winter in the peace and quiet of the woods on packed snowmobile trails. Now that the snow is mostly gone and mud season is making it's way back to our world, she has hit the streets again. Here's some of what she said:

Now that I am back on the roads I feel like I am playing "Russian roulette." I have had more close calls with cars and trucks this Spring than my entire 25 years of running. People are on their phones! I saw a woman with a cigarette and a cup of Dunkin' in one hand, and a phone in the other....who was driving? I always run early, facing traffic, well off the road and try to stay away from busy trafficked roads. I wear BRIGHT clothing, a reflective vest in limited lighting, but it is down right dangerous out there. I yell, I jump out of the way, I wave my arms, "Hey, here I am!" Some drivers are completely oblivious.

So we can be confident and we can be capable, but we have got to stay alert and trust our instinct when it informs us that something is not right. Runners have a responsibility to run safely and wisely, practice good judgment and follow the rules of the road. And if an internal alarm goes off, pay attention.

Most of us are drivers too, and it'd be swell if we could remember the Golden Rule. I hope to see you out there!

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