September 2012 Reviewed

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I don’t want to do a separate post on today’s run or the weekly summary so, I will do everything in this post since it is the last day of September.

Today’s Run

Today it was pouring rain and I don’t have confidence in any of my current rotation shoes to not cause blisters on my feet when they get wet, so I went out in the give away box to get out my old Nike Free 4.0 v2. I know that I can run in them in the wet and they do not cause any blisters.

When I started I didn’t know if I was going to run 10 or 15, so I went out pretty slow. I was soaked a mile into the run and at 50 degrees it wasn’t real warm either. At about mile 6, I thought about doing the 15 miles and relaxed a little and just planned on plodding through the distance.

However, once I got to around 8.0 miles, I my knees started to feel tired and sore, which is why I retired the Free’s in the first place. They were beginning to bother my knees and ankles on long runs, so they will go back to the give-away pile.

Overall a decent run, but nothing special, just a long run in the pouring rain, that ended up being shorter than I really wanted.

9-30-12 RunLog

This Month

I have become a contributor Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Real Health Blog and here are my first contributions:

  • Run with Me to the Marine Corps Marathon
  • Unfinished Business with the Marine Corps Marathon (Part One)
  • Unfinished Business with the Marine Corps Marathon (Part 2)

You can subscribe to my posts there by clicking:  Subscribe to Harold Shaw’s Updates

In case you can’t tell, I am very excited about this opportunity and would love it if you would check it out.

Also this month I started volunteering to help out with a local college’s Cross Country team and am enjoying it a lot! So it has definitely been busy.

One other thing that I have changed is that I have started track workouts with my Step Son-In-Law Sean and he is pushing me to run faster than I would otherwise. I need this added motivation to push me in order to run faster and meet my time goals for the 5K and do well at my half marathon this month.

Running In September Summary 2012

  • September Total Miles Run: 190.2
  • Days Run: 27
  • Days Off: 3
  • Longest Run: 13.1 – 1:45:58 Home to Augusta Half Marathon Course – 9/10/12
  • Fastest Run: 7:02 – The Rise ‘N Shine 5K – 9/28/12
  • Best Week:  50.65 week ending 9/16/12

Most notable run: The Rise ‘N Shine 5K – where I established a PR for a 5K for this year Smile.

Sep in Review

Shoes Run In

  • Altra Instinct – They have a 153.4 miles on them now and I have been running in them a little more often, but mostly on shorter runs. I found out they were not part of the reason for my discomfort in my hamstrings, which was good news. I am still not completely sold on them for long distance running shoes, because when I get tired my form breaks down to rear foot landing style of running. These shoes are not designed to protect you as well for that style of running. I have to change my style and strengthen my legs to not break down on long runs or only use these for shorter length runs.
  • Adidas Adizero Sonic 3 – I still am not sure about these shoes and while they only have 106.2 miles on them, I just don’t have confidence in my ability to run well in these shoes, which is too bad, because they do a lot of things well, but nothing exceptional. They just seem to be a slow shoe and yesterday when I ran in the drizzle, I started to get a little hot spot on one of my heels.
  • Newton Gravity – These have 302.9 miles on them and have reached that stage when I run a little longer, my knees are getting that ache, that I get when it is time to change shoes. While I have run well in them for the most part, My shoe surgery worked and the heel counter doesn’t bother me now, but when I went to the local store that now carries Newton’s, the heel counter in the Gravity and Sir Isaac both were stiff and I am afraid would cut into my ankle again, so I have decided to look elsewhere for my next shoes.
  • Skora Base – I received these as media samples from Skora and they are definitely Minimalist shoes – here is my initial review. Skora Base Initial Impressions
  • Nike Air Flo – Yes I ran in my old racing shoes that I got back in the late 1980’s to run the 5K road race the other day and they did fine! Who know how many miles I have on them, but I do know they are starting to get a little long in the tooth and worn out.

Racing

  • 9/13/12 – Bond Brook 5K Trail Race Series
  • 9/28/12 – Rise ‘N Shine 5K Race Recap

My scheduled races in October are:  Runner’s World 5K on October 20th and the Runner’s World Half Marathon on October 21st.

Weight

I ended August 146 and today 9/30 the scales read 146 a – this to me is a big deal. I did get down to 144 for a day, but I am not trying to loose anymore weight and want to maintain my weight right around 145. My goal weight at the start of the year was 155, so I am doing great on this goal.

50 at least pounds lost since June 2012

Injuries

I have been fighting discomfort that was getting worse in my hamstrings, pereformis and right hip. Over the course of the month, these have gotten better, but still let me know they are not fully healed yet. These issues probably won’t be until I take a couple of weeks off after the Runner’s World half or if I decide they are good enough to wait until after Thanksgiving weekend, either way, I plan to take 2 weeks off from running.

Run Blogging

Top Ten Blog Posts for September – based on page views

  1. Tommie Copper Sleeve Review – First Impressions
  2. Nike Free 4.0 v2 – After 50 Miles
  3. 50 Mile Review of Altra Instincts
  4. My Transition Plan to Minimalist Running Shoes
  5. Newton Gravity–After 50 Miles
  6. A Challenge For Other Runners
  7. Tommie Copper – Is Working
  8. The New Nike+ Website is Up
  9. New Blog Focus–2013 Marine Corps Marathon
  10. Initial Review & Run in Adidas Vigor TR

My personal favorite post this month was: A Challenge For Other Runners

Reviews

One of the things that I really like to do is to review new gear. Whether I buy something myself or provided a product to review, I enjoy trying it out and seeing if it works as advertised or not. But more importantly – whether I like it or not and why. Blogging about running related products makes me think differently about what I am using – which is a good thing.

I have done the following product reviews this month:

  • JackRabbit Cap Review – Media Sample
  • Skora Base–Initial Impressions – Media Sample

I didn’t have many opportunities to review products this month, but that is okay, I enjoyed just focusing on my running.

FTC Disclaimer – Unless indicated by {Personal Purchase} I was provided products from these companies free of charge, to review them on my blog. I received no monetary or other forms of compensation to do the review. My opinions about each product are my honest observations, based upon my experience while using the product.

Running Goals

A slight change to my goals – is to make sure that I am enjoying running and not letting it become too much like work.

Good progress, while I worked hard at my running, I didn’t allow it to become work. I still look forward to my runs and don’t get too wound up about them if they are not what I am looking for that day :-).

This year my big goals are:

  1. Run 1,200 miles – I have 1,454.5 miles for the year – I met this goal pretty easily and am going to try for 2000 before the end of the year.
  2. Run a sub 20:00 5K  – No changes here – This will be very tough to do, I did run a 21:49 and could have gone faster, but this one is going to be a real tough nut to crack before the end of the year.
  3. Get through 2012 without any significant down time or injuries (running related or others).  Just some aches and strains so far.
  4. My unadvertised goals from the start of the year are to be able to finish a half-marathon. I am running 13 to 17 miles at least once a week, it isn’t really a question of whether I can finish a half marathon, but more what my time will be on the right course. I have registered for the Runner’s World Half Marathon on October 21st.
  5. Run a few trail races when the weather gets better – I did 4 of the Bond Brook Recreation Area 5k Trail Race series.

My long-term goal is to run the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon. I finished the 1983 MCM Marathon and to run/finish Marine Corps again 30 years later would be very cool. This is one of the major goals that I have in mind for my running and it would be even more fantastic if I could qualify for Boston that same day. Therefore, I am doing a 2 year work-up to the Marathon distance, just to see if my knee will hold up.

The reality is that

September was a very good mileage month, I just missed a 200 mile month, but I wasn’t going to hurt myself over the last week, just to get the extra 10 miles Smile.

I have asked the local running store (45 minutes away – the nearest one) to get a pair of Mizuno Ronin’s for me to try on to see if I like them. For some reason or other I am intrigued by Mizuno shoes and want to run in them again after not running in them since 2009.

I like the Altra’s but I just am not confident enough in my own ability to properly maintain my form on longer runs in them, so I am looking for a pair of running shoes that are light and can protect me from deteriorating form on a double-digit run. The Ronin’s appear to meet my requirements, but time will tell.

Got in 6.0 Miles in Cold and Rain 9/29/12

P9290007This was one of those days when I had to move things around to accommodate getting my run in.

Usually on Saturday’s I head out for a longer run around 9:30 and finish up when I finish with no pressure on the time.

Today I was helping out with a local college’s cross country team and needed to leave the house at 10:00 to pick up a runner. So no long run this morning.

Did I say how much I enjoy helping out and watching college kids run? Well I do and I am learning a lot about different running forms and getting to be a spectator is different than being a participant. However, one thing about being a spectator is that you are not running/moving and with the temps in the 40’s, a steady rain and a little wind made it chilly.

By the time I got home, I was thoroughly chilled and couldn’t seem to get warm. Finally, I got to go running around 4:00 and decided to only do 6.0 and do my longer run tomorrow. So I didn’t bother trying out the Injini today, I want to run a long run in them. Plus the weather hadn’t gotten any better, after the first 100 yards, I had already taken my glasses off, just couldn’t see anything and I could see better without them – scary huh.

I also ran in my Adidas Adizero Sonic 3 for the first time in a while and while I can run very comfortably in them, I also run very slow in them??? They are a great shoe for me to run in when I don’t really care about how fast I run, but not if I want to hit a faster time goal. My splits were:

  • Mile 1.0 – 8:57
  • Mile 2.0 – 18:05 (9:07)
  • Notta Road Turn Around – 22:20 (4.15)
  • Mile 3.0 – 26:25 (4:05)
  • Mile 4.0 – 35:50 (9:24)
  • Mile 5.0 – 46:07 (10:17)
  • Mile 6.0 – 55:07 (9:00)

I lost focus between miles 4-5 and coasted too much in that are, then I picked it back up when I got off the dirt road.

Overall I was happy that I got the run in, because I came very close to bagging it and not worrying about running at all today. Will do my longer run tomorrow, somewhere between 10-15, depending on how I am feeling at the time.

RunLog 9-29-12

What is Fast and Does It Matter

Running 1985Does it really matter how fast you are?

By the way who decides what is and who is fast?

Okay Harold where are you going with this? You write an awful lot on this blog about your efforts to run farther, faster.

To be honest I am not sure and this post has brought more questions to my mind than answers and I need your help to sort it out.

Definition

So what is fast?

Think about this first:

One person’s slow is another’s fast and it could be that another person’s fast is someone else’s slow.

In my experience – defining fast running, depends more on the person who is doing the running and their perspective, than a particular time. Are you talking about a professional Olympic caliber runner, local race winner, middle of the pack runners, a 70 year-old runner who has run for 50 years, a runner who doesn’t race or a runner who is finishing their first Couch to 5K?

Is there a common definition of what should be considered fast? How do you account for the different variables of age, course, terrain, weather, distance, etc., to determine fast? What standard are we comparing it to or is it that we know fast when we see it or read about it.

A good example of this is taking the race I ran in yesterday. The winning time was 17:58 for a 5K, a sub 6:00 minute pace which isn’t slow, but in many larger races that wouldn’t even get a top 20 or 50 finish, so is it fast or not?

It depends on the course, who is doing the running and the level of the competition.

The 1st place I got in my age group for yesterday’s 5K, was almost 4:00 minutes behind the winner and my overall place was 28th. If I go to a different race, I could finish lower or higher – depending upon the number of runners and level of the competition that I would be racing against that day with the same time.

So does my 21:49 for a 5K make me a fast runner or a slow runner?

Does it depend on who I am talking to?

So Why run faster?

The Challenge

To me trying to run faster is all about challenging myself – nothing more and nothing less.

I want to see if I can improve over what I have done before. The idea of winning a race (which isn’t going to happen) or taking an age group once in a while by accident (which is what really happens) isn’t the reason that I try to run faster – it is more about my personal satisfaction.

The reality is that

Most runners keep trying to run faster, but their faster is more about how they run, not anyone else. Yesterday, I thought that I ran fast even though I finished 28th in the race and then while talking to many people who finished with slower times, they were equally very happy with their “fast” times. While some runners who finished with faster times were totally dissatisfied with their “slow” times.

Running fast it seems is relative and all about perspective.

What do you think?

  • What is your definition of fast?
  • Do you consider yourself fast? Why or Why Not?
  • Are you trying to run faster than you do now? Why?
  • Which is more important to you continuing to run PR’s or running when you are 70 or older?

I bet some of these answers will depend upon the age of the person answering too Winking smile. I know that my answers have changed over the years.

Personally, I don’t worry so much about whether I am considered fast or not by others. I worry more about being able to run, enjoy it and whether I am meeting the goals that I set for myself.

What about you?

Rise ‘N Shine Race Recap–9/26/12

P9280002BRRRRRRRR! That is the first thing that entered my mind when I left the house this morning. The Forester’s outside temperature gauge said it was anywhere from 32-34 on the way into the Rise ‘N Shine Race in Augusta this morning!

I am glad that I had my long sleeve tech shirt and my gloves with me – The gloves especially! My hands get cold pretty easy and I almost always wear gloves when it is below 40. Plus it gives me someplace to put the car keys.

This is my first road race since June and I was wondering if I had improved any with my track workouts and the mileage I have been doing?

One thing that I made a promise to myself for the race this morning was that I wouldn’t kick at the end P9280001and just finish with a nice even pace! I kept my word to myself, because that seems to be when I tend to injure myself, when I get up on my toes and sprint too much.

It was one of the the hardest things for me to do, because 2 people passed me in the last 100 yards!

That hardly ever happens, but I didn’t go with them, I kept my steady pace and held tightly onto the reins.

My first mile was in 6:40, which is right where I want to be for the entire race, but the first part is down hill, so that time wasn’t quite as fast as it sounds. During the race I could feel myself slowing down a little and then when we had to come back up the hill, I lost my chance for sub 7:00 pace. I finished in 21:42 with a 7:02 final pace. Next time I hope to get under 7:00 minute pace for a 5K race!

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I was surprised when I looked at the results!!! I finished 28/340 participants and 1st in my age group (55-59)! Very cool!

Overall I was extremely happy with my time and effort, which was a PR for the 5K this year, but could I have done better – Yes! Next time I need to get a little deeper into the racing zone, instead of just staying at the fringe, but that comes with racing more and knowing how far I can push myself. I really want to break that 7:00 minute per mile pace barrier. Smile

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Overall winner – sorry about cutting off his head.

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Women’s Winner – she raced a lot at Bond Brook trail races this summer

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Race Director – Mark from Kennebec Savings Bank. The proceeds from this race benefit the Augusta YMCA, so it was a good cause and a great way to support it.

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This was my first year I have run this race and I found it to be very well organized (going up to my bank teller window and getting my race packet felt strange), but it was cool. The volunteers were amazing, they were there before 6:00 A.M. and did everything they could to ensure that the runners had a great experience. So thank you very much to all the volunteers!

I even ran into a couple of neighbors who ran in the race, which was great to see and some other runners that I have gotten to know over the summer. That is the part that I am enjoying the most about running in races again, is the social side of running.

When I thought about what shoes I wanted to wear today, I really don’t have a pair of racing flats, so I went ahead and dug out my old Nike Air Flo’s that I bought back in the late 80’s and ran in them. It was kind of funny to think that I was running in a pair of shoes that were older than quite a few of the participants!

They did great! However, they are getting rather long in the tooth and I think I will look around to buy a new pair of racing flats over the next few weeks, so that I will have them for the Runner’s World 5K on 10/20/12.

Overall, it was a great race and I was very happy with how I did!

Bond Brook Trail Exploration Run–9/27/12

P9270004Today I went over to Bond Brook and did most of the 5K course plus a lot of other parts of the trail system.

When I went over to the new access road, WOW!!! is all I can say. I am very impressed with how well it turned out, I will get some pictures, so I can show before and after.

Then I took a right to see where the other dirt road went, but by the time I got to Gate 6, I knew that I would go over the time limit I had set and turned around.

Turn around

The run itself was nice, the weather was in the 60’s, sunny with a light breeze, all in all a perfect day for running. The best part was that I got to run trails, the day before a my big 5K tomorrow – The Rise ‘N Shine 5K in Augusta.

I am not going to put any extra pressure on myself but I am going to try to resurrect some of my past glory and wear my Nike Air Flo’s that I bought for racing back in the late 80’s. We will see how that goes Smile. I would like to break 22:00 for the 5K, but as long as I have fun, it really doesn’t matter.

I probably went further than 5.5 today, but the distance is close enough.

RunLog 9-27-12

Oh yeah, I did go out and buy some Injini toe socks this morning and tried them out, it was interesting and I plan to do a review on them after running a long run in them this weekend. I will tell you I wasn’t very disappointed, once I got the darn things on Winking smile.

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Skora Base–Initial Impressions

IMG_0512I was talking with a Skora representative on Twitter last week and was offered the opportunity to review the Skora Base running shoes.

They arrived this morning and I couldn’t wait to try them on (disclaimer: they were provided at no cost to me and what I write about them are my opinions about the shoe).

As TheWife would say they look like “Harold” shoes. The Base are slip-ons, that have a Velcro strap to tighten them if you need to. I really like the looks of the Base and couldn’t wait to try them on.

Before I did, I looked them over very closely and found that the construction and the quality of the fit and materials was all great. When I tried them on they fit like a glove, but with plenty of room in the toe box, which can be a problem with a lot of shoes for me.

I took them on a 3.0 mile walk in the rain Smile.

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The walk went great, they had great grip on wet tar and on wet dirt road with a little slimy mud here and there. The Base were very comfortable while walking and I did change my stride a little, to what felt comfortable for this shoe. My experience is that most shoes will slightly change how you walk and you need to find the “right way” of walking for that shoe. I noticed a while after I got back that my calves were a little tighter than usual.

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Make no mistake about it, the Skora Base are a minimalist running shoe and will require a period of readjustment to being able to use them as your everyday running shoes or even long-walk shoe. I thought where I had been running in zero drop shoes for a while that I wouldn’t need a long transition and planned on doing 1-3 miles in them after my walk.

I got out and started running in them and quickly realized that there was no way, that I was going to even run 1.0 mile in them right off the bat. I ended up doing about a 1/2 mile in them and was glad that I turned around when I did! If I hadn’t my calves would have definitely complained to the management about what I was doing to them.

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So I plan to go very slow and transition correctly to get used to these minimalist shoes.

Unfortunately, this means that I won’t be running very far in them any time soon. So for now, I will use the Skora Base as my primary walking shoes, gradually building up to running more in them by running in them after my primary run and doing a lot of running form work. I have a feeling running in these shoes will strengthen my legs and feet, as well as force me to improve my form.

Also, because of their design, I think that they would make fantastic shoes to use at the gym or during crossfit workouts! When I get used to the shoe, I have a feeling that they will be really good for racing (they are light and have great ground feel).

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Will I ever completely switch over to minimalist shoes for running?

I really don’t know, according to a lot of things that I have read it has a lot of advantages if you can do it, but when I get tired on longer runs my form deteriorates badly and I still need the cushioning provided by more traditional running shoes to keep running comfortably. Time will tell on this one.

Personally, I found them so comfortable, that I am fairly certain that they are the shoes that I will be wearing most of the time for casual wear. They after all – according to TheWife, “Harold” shoes Winking smile.

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Track Repeats and Trail Run Not What I Was Hoping For 9/25/12

Colby Track 9-25-12This morning I did quarter mile repeats at Colby with Sean. Yep he kicked my butt yet again, no surprises there!

What was a surprise was that this week I was on average about 5 second slower per fast lap and that was without doing a fast mile before my quarter repeats.

There were a couple of differences:

  • I ran the repeats in my Altra Instincts
  • Two of the gates that were open last week were both closed forcing me to run in lane 4 most of the workout.

The second difference probably accounted for a little of why I was slower, but I have to wonder how much the change in shoes contributed to the slower times. The Instincts are actually lighter 9.1 oz., but it felt as though I was working a LOT harder today to get these times!

Below are the splits and  each repeat had a quarter rest in between.

Warm-up 1.0 – 8:59

  1. 1/4 – 01:30:04
  2. 1/4 – 01:35:93
  3. 1/4 – 01:33:62
  4. 1/4 – 01:36:74
  5. 1/4 – 01:39:80
  6. 1/4 – 01:39:55
  7. 1/4 – 01:37:78
  8. 1/4 – 01:39:64

I was sucking air pretty good on a couple of the laps. Over a mile those 5.0 seconds or so slower per quarter can add up to 20 seconds and over a 5K would be over an extra minute (I know that the times don’t always extrapolate out this way in a real run, but it makes you stop and think about it.

Yes I know that not every workout is going to be better than the last one, but it sucks when you feel as though you are working harder and not getting the same results – oh well back to it next week.

After I finished up at the track, I eventually went back to Colby and did a real easy run on the Upper Trails, I just didn’t feel like I was done yet and needed a little more. In reality that was a mistake and I should have just went home did the work that I was supposed to get done – done.

My pace was really good on the trails, but when I got to the hill in the field, I just fell apart and I ended up walking up most of the hill. First time this year that I have really just given up on a run, especially on a hill, but it happens and I own it. After I got to the top of the hill, I did finish up pretty well.

Tomorrow will be a better day! Smile.

RunLog 9-25-12

Double Workout and Good Runs 9/24/12

Today was a pretty unusual day for me, early in the day I decided that I wanted to do a double workout.

The Runner’s World 5K and Half Marathon are less than a month away and I have to figure out what shoes I will be wearing during those races.

In the first run I wanted to find out if my Newton’s were coming to the end of their reign as my primary running shoes and during the second run I wanted to find out if my Altra’s would bother me on a faster paced run, where I focused on my form, while trying to go under an 8:00 minute pace with tired legs.

FIRST RUN

That awful clicking noise that the Newton’s were making on Saturday thankfully wasn’t there today! If it had been, they would have been retired tonight. So that part was good, however I have been starting to notice more discomfort in my knees lately when running in them and this feeling of discomfort are the ones that I have come to associate with a pair of shoes that are no longer providing the protection from the flaws in my running form especially on the longer runs.

Today’s run my knees were noticeably more sore during the run than they have been in the past.

The run felt pretty good, but I just never really got into a good rhythm and struggled to maintain good form. It was one of those runs that you just do, put it in the log and move on to the next one. Nothing special and nothing bad, just a decent run at a steady pace.

SECOND RUN

I wanted to see if the Altra Instinct’s bothered me in any way, while I was running faster in them this afternoon. I had gotten done the first run at about 12:15 and then shoveled 5 wheelbarrows of manure into the spring garden, so my legs were good and tired by the time I ran.

My lap splits were (each lap is .8):

  • 1 – 6:29
  • 2 – 12:30
  • 3 – 18:31
  • 4 – 24:33

For 3.2 total miles at a 7:40 pace and a pretty happy runner. My legs were definitely tired, but I didn’t feel the pain in my knees like I had in the morning, so that part was good news. The other good news was that I felt a lot more comfortable maintaining a good pace in the Altra’s today than I did yesterday. It was a very good steady paced run, not a race pace tempo run, but still a good one.

That being said I am still leery about using them for my long runs. When I get tired my form deteriorates and I revert to a heel landing running style. Unfortunately, the Altra’s are not as protective as other shoes are for this style of running. So it is something that I will be working on in the future. However, for shorter runs, they seem to be doing a great job.

RunLog 9-24-12

Overall I learned a lot today about my shoes and how my body is reacting to them Smile. I have a feeling that the Newton’s are just about done and I am going to need a pair of running shoes that I can use for my long runs.

I can always use the Adidas Adizero Sonic 3’s that I have in the closet as a bridge shoe, they don’t bother me on the long runs, other than they just feel slow. But they will give me a chance to figure out what shoes I will want to finish up my training for the #RWHalf in a month and run in during that half marathon.

I need to figure this out by next Wednesday, so I can have some time to run in the shoes that I will be running in during that race.

Sorry Runners–Vehicles Win

P8010008This post probably isn’t going to win me any friends in the running community, but it might save someone from some pain and suffering.

Over the time that I have been back to running, I have been hearing all the complaints about how many bad drivers there are in cars, from other runners online.

I have to admit I have had a few incidents myself. Were I have felt the need to salute certain drivers in what I thought was an appropriate response to their actions, stupidity or carelessness.

However, for the most part – I would say that 98% of the drivers on the road are pretty decent about sharing the road with runners. Where I live and run in Maine, there are not a lot of tarred shoulders or sidewalks and if you get off the road, you are either in a ditch, dirt or high grass. Most drivers I have found will try to move over and let you stay on the road – when they can.

That is the big point – when they can.

  • If another vehicle is coming, they have to stay in their lane and it always seems that the two vehicles meet when right beside a runner. Murphy’s Law of Running in Traffic.
  • If a vehicle is going up a hill, they have to stay in their lane.
  • If a vehicle is coming to a corner, they have to stay in their lane
  • If a vehicle is in a blind turn and suddenly come up on you, it sucks to be the runner.

At those points the runner needs to be aware of where they are and regardless of how much it destroys their rhythm or pace, get off the damn road and let the vehicle go by – for everyone’s safety, especially their own.

However, many times this past summer, when I have been driving by runners in those situations, they don’t yield and have caused unsafe conditions for me as a driver, other vehicles and them as runners. Then they give me that wonderful one-finger salute, because I couldn’t move over the center line at that point and time due to safety reasons, not because I was being an asshat.

As a courtesy when I see fellow runners on the road I tend to slow down, especially when I see more than one, however, when one of the conditions I listed above are happening and the runner does not yield and get off the tarred road, it becomes a dicey or dangerous situation. Yes I know that sometimes getting off the road isn’t fun and it is easy to twist an ankle or knee, but it is a lot better than getting hit by a vehicle.

So runners while there are crazy/stupid drivers out there, from what I have seen there are also a few crazy/stupid runners, who create unsafe conditions on the road as well. I believe that most of us have experienced both.

My tips for running safely in areas where there is traffic and only dirt, grass or ditches on the shoulder are:

  • Run facing traffic. You want to be able to see what might be coming at you.
  • Don’t be arrogant and think you own the road. Just because YOU happen to be running don’t believe that you have the right of way in all situations – YOU don’t.
  • Be aware of traffic – you can hear them or see their lights on the telephone wires a long time before you see a vehicle.
  • Visibility can the driver see you? Are you wearing bright colors that contrast with the surrounding area, is it dawn, dusk or night time while you are running? Are you carrying a light of some kind?
  • Be aware of the traffic coming up on you from behind (especially in a passing zone), a car might be passing another and take the piece of road you are running on. Remember to listen for traffic behind you as well as in front of you.
  • Know where you are and areas that could be dangerous for drivers (i.e. hills, corners, driveways, etc.). Be proactive in these areas for your own safety and don’t endanger others.
  • Road conditions and weather can make a difference in how drivers and you react while on the road.
  • If running with a group on a busy road go single file in areas with a lot of traffic or areas where sudden vehicle confrontations might happen without warning – danger zones
  • If you are running with headphones on have the volume turned way down. A better idea when running in these areas is not to wear your headphones or music.
  • BE PREPARED TO GET OFF THE ROAD AT A MOMENT’S NOTICE.

It also doesn’t hurt to wave a quick thank you to the vehicles that do go out around you – as a simple courtesy. Who knows they might be more willing to give up some of the road to you or some other runner again next time, if they see us as being courteous to them?

Be proactive about your possible encounters with vehicles – if you notice a vehicle, tractor trailer or dump truck coming towards you and it isn’t moving over, don’t force the issue. Get off the damn road for your own safety. There maybe a vehicle that you can’t hear coming from the other direction.

The reality is that

Runners really need to think about where and what they are doing while running, especially where road shoulders or sidewalks are non-existent.

I don’t mean to sound like I am bashing runners, because I definitely am one and run on the roads a lot. At the same time runners need to be aware of situations that they sometimes put themselves into when running in traffic.

If we all think back, it isn’t always the vehicle’s fault for the confrontation we have had. What could you have have done differently, before the situation occurred. Would it have been easier to have stepped 3 feet into the dirt shoulder or ditch and then resumed your run, rather than forcing an unsafe condition to happen and reacting with the middle finger wave if you survived it? I think many times this could be the case.

I know I hate reading about runners being hit by cars and don’t want any of my fellow runners to become just another statistic.

The bottom-line is that in a car/runner everyone looses, but the runner is the one that will most likely end up in the hospital or morgue, if they are hit by a vehicle.

Keep running, but run safely and be aware of where you are.

  • What do you think, have you encountered runners being inconsiderate when you are driving?

I know that most of us all have had bad encounters with vehicles, but looking with 20/20 hindsight have you ever contributed or created a dangerous situation while running? I have.