Playing in traffic

I get the craziest running stuff in the mail.

Sometimes it’s race information for a marathon I’ve never heard of halfway across the country. Other times, it’s a coupon for a free sample of the latest over-priced energy drink.

But yesterday was a real eye-opener. The Road Runners Club of America sent me a copy of their magazine, “Club Running.”

Excuse me — Road Runners? Do you people have any idea what Trail Boy thinks about pavement?

Can this guy make it across the street without getting hit, or losing his temper? The Road Runners Club has some advice for people like him.

But I was curious, so I began leafing through the magazine. Boy, did it bring back some bad memories of the days when I did most of my running on roads.

The first article was called “Road Rage Management.” It was all about how to make sure you don’t get hit by a car — or get into a screaming match  with a motorist.

Let me quote a few sentences:

“No matter how frustrated you are, don’t bang on car hoods or windows if you catch up with an offending motorist at an intersection, driveway or parking lot.”

“Learn to memorize license plates so you can report incidents such as hit-and-runs.”

“Kick a curb or signpost if you must absolutely make contact with something to manage your anger.”

“Keeping yourself in control can be the difference between a good workout, a trip to the slammer, or even worse, the morgue.”

“There’s nothing more important than making it home from your run alive and in one piece.”

I'll never understand why some people think it's fun to run on busy streets.

Whoa, whoa — time out!

What kind of running experience is this? Running past a parking lot? Kicking curbs? Banging on car hoods? Reporting a hit and run?

I don’t whether to  laugh or cry. Oh, poor, poor road runners. You have no idea what you’re missing. You’re looking for endorphins in all the wrong places.

For another look at what running should look like, please click here. 

Learn to love the trails. You’ll never have to worry about kicking a curb again.

Tree stumps, yes. Curbs, no.

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Speaking of trails versus roads, I had a good laugh on this subject last month.

It happened as I was running the Buckeye Trail 50K with a friend. The race course is 95 percent on trails, but there are a half-dozen or so road crossings.

At one point, after running for an hour or so on singletrack, deep in the woods, my friend and I found ourselves at a road crossing. We looked both ways (it was a quiet, rural road) and trotted across.

My friend said: “Wouldn’t it be ironic to get hit by a car during a trail race?”

That struck me as the funniest thing I had heard all day. I chuckled for several minutes.

Later, I wondered if it’s ever happened. I can see how you can let your guard down on a trail, start day-dreaming, get real tired, and then you plod across a road without looking and — wham! — you get creamed by a truck.

OK, so on this point, I agree with the Road Runners Club of America. There’s nothing more important than making it home from your run alive.

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Now that I’ve shot my mouth off about road running, you might be wondering: So what trail did you run today?

Well (cough, mumble, mumble), I didn’t have time for a trail run. Part of being a daddy is to stand at a bus stop near my house for 10-15 minutes every weekday morning, throwing a football with my 10-year-old son.

When the bus finally comes, I have about an hour left to eat, shower, dress and get out the door to work. So I often just run the quiet roads around my house for 45 minutes or so.

OK, OK, I could get up earlier and drive to a park. And sometimes I do. But during the week, I’m usually a road runner,  like it or not.

This morning I ran three times around a 1.5-mile bowtie loop near my house. My times were 14:38, 13:50 and 13:13.

Not bad for a road run. But after a full week of this, it makes weekends on trails so much sweeter.

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One Response to “Playing in traffic”

  1. Banging on car hoods? That brings back memories from my cycling days…

    I also wonder about those poor sidewalk runners, especially in places where there are great trails nearby.

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