Sunday, March 27, 2011

Take a Picture; It Lasts Longer

Dear, Person Standing in the Middle of the Sidewalk, Blocking My Path, Staring Right at Me:

I know I look totally awesome as I run toward you with my sweaty salt-covered face jiggling with every jarring step, but could you kindly not stare.  I mean, I know you have probably never seen anyone so fast before.  It's called running.  You may have heard of it, but, judging by your sloth-like demeanor, perhaps you haven't.  You see me coming right toward you.  You know the sidewalk we are both using has limited space. Yet, you do not move over.  You continue to just stare.  What is it?  Even though I may look superhuman, I really am not.  I need room to run.  I cannot pass through solid objects.  And, if I must make a sudden movement to quickly dodge your cigarette/dog/child/drunk girlfriend, I may twist an ankle.  So please, step aside. 

Thank you,

P.S. I'm not afraid to throw an elbow.  :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Only Downside to the Smoking Ban

Okay, other than my extremely hightened sense of repulsion to cigarette smoke, the only real downside to the ban of smoking inside bars and restaurants in Chicago is that the gaggles of smokers congregate on the sidewalk!  This is perilous to the urban runner in many ways:

A) They're clogging the sidewalk! We live in a society, people!!
B) Um, your cigarette smoke is still offensive, especially when someone is trying to run by and is forced to take in a lung full of supposedly "fresh air."
C) The gesturing smoker is a burn threat.  Yes, this has happened to me.  I have been burned by a smoker gesturing with her cigarette.  Not fun.  Oh, and yes, I've been yelled at for putting out the cigarette---with the flesh of my arm! 

Did I mention that this is a society?  People!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tip: If You Are a Driver

If you are driving a motor vehicle and happen to see a runner waiting to cross the street, please abide by the following guidelines:

1) If you do not have a stop sign or red light, please do not stop traffic to let the runner go.  She most likely is an experienced street crosser and will wait for traffic to clear.  By stopping traffic, you are, not only pissing off the people behind you, but also putting the runner in danger. Most likely, the traffic on the other side of the street will not see the runner, so she will get hit by traffic going the other direction.  Or the people behind you, that you've stopped, will try to zoom around you, squashing said runner.  Just please drive on. Thank you.

2) If you are approaching a stop sign where a runner has already slowed down or stopped.  Please move through the intersection as quickly and safely as possible.  She has already adjusted her stride to accommodate you going through the intersection. So just go!

3)  If you think it may be a draw at the stop sign or the runner will be getting to the intersection just before you.  Please stop. Let her go.  She is calculating her pace so that she does not miss a stride.  Plus, it's a stop sign.  You're supposed to STOP! Dick.

4)  Always stop at a red light.  The runner will do the same.

Trucks Schmucks . . . There Are Bikes Out There!!

One of my most recent perilous running moments was as I was running home from the Lakefront Path, having survived 19 of the 20 miles of one of my last long runs before the Marine Corps Marathon.  I was preparing to cross an intersection at which the traffic had a stop sign.  These are usually good for runners, because most drivers will actually stop at these intersections and let you go. Well, there were a lot of cars courteously waiting at the intersection, including a very scary Mack truck.  The truck kept making that deep revving sound, as if he might start accelerating at any moment. So, I was so focused on not becoming a sweaty splotch on the pavement from getting hit by a truck that, as I entered the crosswalk, I did not see the bicycle about to slam into me!  Yes, that's right.  Some beyotch on her bike decided to ignore the rules of the road and use her powers of a-holish-ness to run right into me.  Thinking as quickly as I could, I grabbed onto her handlebars and flung myself over her front tire---hardly missing a stride.  I could not, however, think quickly enough to get the proper swear words out in time.  My cursing went something like this, "What the! . . . Holy! . . . Fuck! . . . Bitch!" As I ran across the street.  The dirty tread mark from her wheel up and down my leg was the only sign of my brush with death.  Imagine what kind of mark the Mack truck would've made.