Perhaps the wisest thing one of my running coaches ever told me was: “The rules of physics always trump the laws of man.”
He was specifically applying this adage to the rule: Pedestrians have the right of way over cars. Of course, knowing you’re in the right offers little consolation if you get hit by a car… even one that’s totally in the wrong.
Now don’t worry. I didn’t get hit by a car. Mostly anyway.
I’ve had several near misses with cars over the years and it’s always scary as hell.
Cut to last Thursday and I finally got back outside for a short run. I took a very familiar route near a local park (Hobgood Park) that is a rather hilly 4-mile out and back. The one thing worth noting is it’s not a protected running path, but rather a sidewalk running parallel to the road. The sidewalk path does cross several main intersections (all with traffic lights) and numerous entrances/exits to subdivisions and shopping centers. In short, this is a run where you need to always keep situational awareness.
There is one spot on this route that always makes me uber-nervous (and hyper-alert). Near one of the large local churches, they have a bit of blind driveway where cars come up an incline and have a yield sign (in front of a pedestrian crosswalk) before they merge onto the road. When the church or pre-school is letting out, this blind driveway can get quite treacherous. Drivers tend to ignore the yield sign and are only looking at on-coming traffic… not considering any pedestrians, runners, cyclists that might be approaching from the other direction.
Hey drivers: LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT… remember?
Over the last 6 months, I’ve had two close calls at this exact spot due to a driver:
- Not yielding (like the sign says they need to)
- Only looking left
- Not being aware of their surroundings
And last Thursday made it a trifecta… and this was the closest call of all.
I should add, that the blind driveway is now even further obscured by overgrown evergreen trees (they even fully block the ignored yield sign).
Last Thursday, as I approached this known danger spot, my spider senses started tingling. I saw a car stopped on the pedestrian walkway intently looking left to merge (they weren’t looking in my direction at all). So I slowed to a slow walk to let the car merge onto the main road (as you should) before entering the crosswalk.
When the car finally merged, I looked left into the driveway (as far as the trees would let me see) to make sure the coast was clear for me to enter the crosswalk. It was… for a brief moment.
With the crosswalk seemingly clear and me unable to see any cars, I started to head into the crosswalk (still hyper-alert, I might add). I hadn’t taken more than two steps when I caught a flash in my peripheral vision. It was f*cking mini-van about to barrel into the intersection. The driver wasn’t slowing at all, nor was she even looking in my direction (she was looking only at oncoming traffic). She had no idea at all that a pedestrian was in the path of her vehicle.
Holy shit. I was about to get hit by a mini-van.
I pulled myself back hard as best I could with the vehicle’s front bumper missing me by inches and the front of the vehicle whizzing past me creating the scariest game of vertical limbo you never wanted to play.
Unfortunately, the driver (who still hadn’t seen me) was merging/turning right… which was angling the mini-van even more into my path. Not to mention that I was now off-balance and still had some forward momentum.
I had no choice. I had to act or I was getting sideswiped.
I thrust my hands forward hard against the mini-van in order to get some leverage to push myself away from it as it was turning into me.
WHAM! (or any Batman sound effect you choose).
On the upside; it worked. I managed to push myself back in time. More importantly, I was uninjured. But I was scared… and pissed as hell.
The lady in the car hit her brakes when she heard the sound of my hands hitting her vehicle. She finally turned her head in my direction. Now I’d like to say I handled the situation perfectly by being calm, cool and collected. Not so much.
I yelled. Loudly. Okay, very loudly. Screaming that she needs to watch out for pedestrians and look both ways before she kills someone. In my defense, I had just missed being hit by a car totally in the wrong and escaped potentially serious injury by mere inches. And I was also now hyped up on adrenaline.
Now in the lady’s defense, she wasn’t playing chicken with me, nor was she trying to hurt me. Not at all. She just wasn’t paying attention or following the proper rules of the road. She made a mistake. But at that minute, it didn’t matter because I could have paid a steep price for her mistake.
The woman saw that I wasn’t injured, but rather than apologize at all or pull over to assess the situation, she simply drove off. If a cop was watching the incident, she would have been pulled over and ticketed for failure to yield or inattentive driving.
This whole incident kind of ruined my running vibe but I now had some excess adrenaline to burn off, so I finished my run. But once I got back to my car, I did something about it.
I drove to the church and spoke to the office about the blind spot. Since the church has lots of kids running around the grounds and is only a block from a large public library, the chances of young kids (who are not always paying attention to their surroundings) stumbling into that dangerous crosswalk are just too high to ignore. It’s an accident waiting to happen.
The office manager walked over to the intersection with me and apologized profusely when he saw the overgrown trees, the obscured yield sign, and the inability for drivers to properly see the road to the right. He assured me that the grounds crew coming this weekend would cut the trees back immensely (or even remove one or two if necessary) in order to give the drivers a clear line of sight and possibly prevent an incident in the future. I was impressed by their response and desire to fix the problem. I’ll let you know if they fixed the blind spot.
So what did I take away from this scary moment? Just the need to pass along a reminder to my fellow pavement pounders.
“The rules of physics always trump the laws of man.”
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times when you run.
- If you’re running somewhere new, be extra vigilant and on the lookout for possible danger spots.
- Be on the lookout for blind driveways, alleys, and intersections. You never know when a car is coming. Remember, if you can’t see them, they can’t see you.
- Don’t trust cars to stop or turn (even if they have their signals on) just because they have a stop sign or red light.
- Don’t put yourself in the path of a car unless you are 100% certain they see you and are slowing or stopped.
- If you must run with headphones, keep the volume low enough so you can hear traffic. Or keep one earbud out so you can always hear your surroundings.
Basically, just be careful out there everyone.
Be safe…and Run on!
Any additional safety tips you have to add?
Last week I wrote about how I had finally overcome my continuous coughing and unplanned running hiatus and was “back at it.” Well, unbeknownst to me my best-laid plans were about to go off the rails before they even really began.
My Sunday evening started with my gym bag packed and me raring to hit the pool at the crack of dawn for some much overdue lap swimming. However, the only workout I’d be doing this week involved a 4am sprint to the bathroom. Read the rest of this entry
I’ve read numerous articles about how quickly you start to lose your cardio conditioning when you’re not working out. It’s kind of scary how you can start to regress if you’re inactive for as little as two weeks.
Now, if you’re suffering from a serious injury or certain kinds of illnesses, working out is simply out of the equation. You need to rest and recover or you can make things even worse.
As for me, I’ve been nursing this nasty cough for two weeks (since the Hot Chocolate 15K on Feb. 4th). Just read my prior post (“Hackety Hack”) if you want more of the deets. I’m cranky when I miss a regularly scheduled workout… and being on the sideline for over a week was really making me bonkers. Read the rest of this entry
Last week I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in the freezing rain… or as I called it “The Slog.” Well, it seems that in addition to my tech top and finisher’s medal, I picked up an additional bit of bling. An unwanted bit of bling.
A nasty cough.
Once I got home and showered in preparation for some Super Bowl snacking, I started hacking. And I pretty much haven’t stopped.
I coughed through four fun quarters of football and commercials on Super Bowl Sunday. And that hacking kept on steadily through the night and intensified into Monday (as I rested my legs). By Monday night I was a tad bit concerned. My dad has been recovering from pneumonia for the past few weeks and the news (and social media) have been overflowing with reports of this year’s uber-nasty flu bug.
So I made a doctor’s appointment for last Tuesday afternoon and skipped my planned Tuesday morning run (which made me cranky). Come midday, I went to the doctor’s office and they slapped a flu mask on me as soon as I walked through the door (as a precaution). The nurse and then the doctor poked and prodded me and listened to my lungs. On the upside, I had no fever, my lungs were clear and I showed no signs of pneumonia or flu. I just had a bit of a cold and a nasty cough, due to the dry winter air…oh, and running a race in a freezing rain storm.
The doc recommended that I take it easy while I was hacking and feeling heavy in the chest. So for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I was on the sidelines, just coughing and resting. I think I’ll go out for a short run on Tuesday as I’m finally starting to feel better.
On the downside, a full week off from running and exercise has done nothing to help my already less-than-peak conditioning. But better to err on the side of caution than run too soon and risk getting something that will sideline me even longer. I’ve got five weeks until my next race (Atlanta Half Maraton on March 18th) so I should still be able to get myself in a semblance of shape by then.
And on the upside, I have had a chance to read a book or two, clean up my e-mail inbox and binge watch a couple of Netflix series that I’m behind on. So it’s not a total loss. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go see what hijinks Eleven and those boys from Hawkins are up to.
Hack up, avoid the Demogorgon… and Run on!
Have you been sidelined at all with an illness this Winter? And what’s your favorite current “binge” show?
Slog: A long laborious walk or march.
I’ve run races in the cold before. I’ve run races in the rain before.
But before this weekend, I had never run a race in the cold cold cold rain. Unlike a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, rain and cold are not two great tastes that go great together.
On Sunday, I ran the Atlanta Hot Chocolate 15K (that’s 9.32 miles to you and me) in a downpour while the weather at the start was rather nippy. Needless to say, it was an experience I’ll remember. Or as I like to refer to it… a slog.
All week I had been monitoring the forecast for the race, checking my weather app almost hourly. Rain had been predicted for days, but I hoped that maybe the conditions would shift and we’d be spared from getting dumped on. Read the rest of this entry
Running outside in cold winter weather kinda sucks. There, I said it.
On Saturday I did a 10-mile long run down near the Chattahoochee River as the temperature had finally climbed into the 40s. It was the first time I’d run outside in over two weeks. Thanks to the rather chilly and windy conditions here in Atlanta, I’d been doing all of my running workouts on the treadmill (or “Dreadmill” as one of my friends says).
While I prefer running outside to plodding along on that never-ending rubber loop, the treadmill is certainly a good option when the alternative is pounding frozen pavement while reminiscing about the joys of having feeling in your extremities.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been rather spoiled running the last 9 years in Los Angeles. While most of the country has the standard four seasons (spring, summer, winter & fall), LA’s weather seems to pretty much consist of one lone 365-day season that I like to call “very nice.” Read the rest of this entry
I know it’s been a while… okay, a long while… but I’m finally back. Actually, I never went totally away but without a post in several months, I’m sure many of you wondered if I’d tripped my last Kenyan.
And as you probably gathered from past posts, 2017 was a huge year of transition for me. Pretty much everything in my life has changed and mostly for the better. For starters, I’ve relocated from Los Angeles to Atlanta (for several reasons.) While I still love LA, over the last few years, the ATL has become a very viable film market and presents me with some great new opportunities. I do still plan to spend time in LA whenever possible (looking to hopefully be bicoastal) but Atlanta will be my homebase (the place where I hang my hat) for the foreseeable future. And my whole family lives in Atlanta, so that’s a huge bonus.
In addition, I’ve gone from being stuck in a less-than-satisfying longterm relationship to once again being a happy single guy. I’ve also got a new ride (out with the old SUV in with the new) and many many other changes. Read the rest of this entry
Remember the end of the movie CAST AWAY, where Tom Hanks’ character is literally standing at the crossroads, trying to decide which way to go next in his life.
That’s kind of where I am at this moment.
For the past six weeks I’ve been navigating some unexpected waters in my life and I’m finally starting to come out the other side. I’ve been focusing solely on the day-to-day things, hence the reason “Tripping The Kenyans” has been unexpectedly dark.
During this turbulent time, I haven’t been running my normal amount (nowhere close actually) and I know my fitness has slipped. On the plus side, I have run a pair of races in the last month: The REVEL Mt. Charleston Half Marathon in Las Vegas and the Memorial Day 10K in Atlanta. Both were a lot of fun. Read the rest of this entry
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks (hence the lack of posts). But since I last posted, following the LA Marathon, I’ve run the Hollywood Half Marathon for the 6th time (which was a bit of a redemption run). And I also recently had a freakout moment.
Let me ‘splain.
This past week I had to fly to Georgia for business. It was also a chance to see my family during the trip (a sweet bonus). As I packed, still recovering from the H’wood Half, I wondered whether or not to bring my running gear on the trip. I was vacillating back and forth between taking a four day break (I’ve been training hard this year and could certainly use a breather) or bringing along some gear and doing a short run if the opportunity presented itself. Which to do? Read the rest of this entry
As I sit here with my tired legs still recovering from last Sunday’s Los Angeles Marathon, my mind keeps drifting back to the race. I had grand plans, including the hopes of a marathon PR. Unfortunately, it was not one of my better running days. All my best laid plans (of mice and men) went very much awry.
But rather than focus on why the wheels came off during my marathon, I’d rather highlight how a friend helped me and how I was able to pass that help along.
I had started feeling fatigued way too early in the marathon, around mile 7 (not a good sign) and by mile 12 I knew my day was in the midst of going completely south. All strategy and game plans I had made went right out the window. I was in survival mode (relegated to power walking) with only one goal in mind: finish. Read the rest of this entry
This past Sunday morning I donned my T2 shirt and cap in preparation to run the Los Angeles Marathon as a proud member of the Team To End AIDS. It was my 8th time running this great race with T2. Unfortunately, it’s also the last time I will be running a marathon with them.
Sadly, 2017 is the last year of the Team To End AIDS endurance training charity program.
Granted, the entire team knew this bitter fact when we started our training for the 2017 race back in October. We vowed to have one helluva final season. But now that the training is over and the race has been run, the harsh reality has finally hit me.
I’ve been involved with charities before, all of them worthwhile, but T2 wasn’t just another cause I supported. I looked forward to seeing the T2 gang on Saturday the way you look forward to meeting up with your best buddies and hanging out. They were an important part of my life. They were my running family. Read the rest of this entry
Race week is finally upon us. On Sunday March 19th, myself and approximately 24,999 other pavement pounders will be lacing ’em up for the annual Los Angeles Marathon to trek the 26.2 miles from Dodgers Stadium all the way to the Santa Monica Pier.
For those of you who don’t know about the LA Marathon and its scenic “stadium to the sea” route, you should check it out. It really is quite a sight. Think of it as a running tour of the city.
Okay, actually think of it as a multi-hour sweaty, trying not to heave up your lungs and crash to the ground ending up in the fetal position, running tour of the city. As you question your worth as a human being, you’ll pass by: Dodger Stadium, Disney Hall, The Chinese Theater, Sunset Blvd., Rodeo Drive, the lovely Pacific Ocean and many other sights. Here’s the course map. Read the rest of this entry
There’s a short story I remember from my childhood called “The Fifty First Dragon” by Heywood Broun. Click on the picture to the right to give it a read.
It tells the story of a nervous knight named Gawaine le Cœur-Hardy and how he found confidence thanks to the magic word “Rumplesnitz” given to him by the headmaster. Gawaine went on to slay more dragons than anyone.
Good story, isn’t it.
It’s kind of funny because my original running coach, Scott Boliver, used to talk about “slaying the dragon” when it came to running… and in life. As for Coach Scott, he truly was a dragonslayer.
As I mentioned in a recent post, I completed my 50th half marathon (aka slayed 50 dragons) back in December. So the half marathon I ran this past Sunday was my own 51st dragon. Read the rest of this entry
Been swamped the past few weeks. But real life can keep you running ragged (that’s a different type of marathon). So just time for a quick update today.
My Los Angeles Marathon training is going full tilt boogie as my running coach is doing his best to see if he can make my legs explode. Between speed work and hill training, I’m definitely putting my man gams through some serious workouts. Here’s hoping all of the hard work pays off.
I’ve got the Surf City Half Marathon next Sunday (my first race of 2017). Now I wasn’t originally planning on running Surf City this year, but my coach wants me to use this race as a gauge to see what I should realistically be shooting for with the LA Marathon. So he wants me to run Surf City… hard. Real hard. Hell yeah!
And tomorrow morning our T2 team will be gathering pre-dawn as we log 21 glorious miles running all over Burbank and Glendale. It’s the second longest training run of the season (the 23 mile monster is in 3 weeks) and should be a fun four-hour jaunt. Read the rest of this entry
I hope everyone had a great holiday season and that your 2017 is off to a rousing start complete with an exciting list of “New Year’s resolutions.”
For those dawdlers who have yet to start on your resolutions, worry not. This is really the first full week of 2017… Jan. 1 falling on a Sunday and the “official” holiday being on a Monday kinda made the whole week feel a tad wonky. So pick this week as your starting point.
As for me, my Los Angeles marathon training got a resolution-sized kick in the pants this past week courtesy of my running coach. We’re just past the halfway point in our 5-month training prep and James informed myself and the rest of the T2 gang that we are now entering “Phase 2.” Read the rest of this entry