When I sat down to write this, I literally said aloud “I have no clue what I’m going to write about this week.” So I then thought back to my last couple of runs, trying to remember what, if anything, stuck out to me; personal experience is a great writing tool (and teacher; and mother of invention)! After approximately three seconds, I had it; something stuck out to me like a sore thumb (and before I write anything more, I want to state the old adage “do as I say, not as I do”). Anywho, I remember being equal parts mad and worried last night during my long run—darkness had once again snuck up on me (and apparently everyone else trying to cram in their runs/bike rides)—as I saw exerciser after exerciser take their own lives into their hands because they were poorly prepared for their evening venture. So here goes: pretty please (with a cherry on top) start using some common sense when you’re out running and there is even a chance that it will be dark (or even nearly dark) before you finish. As we usher Fall in, we’re going to start seeing darkness creep in earlier and longer than it had even the day(s) prior. Drivers aren’t prepared for it, just like we runners/walkers aren’t; just because you can see them coming doesn’t mean they can see you, and believe you me: if you get into a game of chicken, 2,000 pounds of metal is going to win 10 times out of 10 (or you’re going to lunge at the last minute and twist your ankle). Practice the proper rules of the road (walkers/runners against traffic, cyclists with it), wear bright, reflective colors and get yourself a cheap, clip-on strobe light to attach to your person. And for you cyclists out there, make sure you have lights on both the front and back of your bike; the speed-demon I saw yesterday, wearing all black at 8:00 PM (when it was fully dark), had something akin to a spotlight on the front of his bike, but because cyclists ride with traffic, that was going to do him very little good as a car bore down on him from behind. It’s not always about how well we can see, rather about how well we can be seen as we attempt to share the road.
Always remember that we get out there, whether it’s for one mile or twenty, because we enjoy it: we like the perks it provides us (a healthier, longer life and the ability to eat and drink what we want), but we get none of that fun if we’re injured and unable to participate. So stop being stubborn (I’m talking to myself here, just as much as you), play it safe (and smart), and live to walk/run/ride another day. You’ll be happy you did, methinks.
And thank you for listening to my rant.
- Chris Ramsey