Sunday, June 12, 2011

Safety First

It turned out to be dreary and rainy the last couple of days. Yesterday I completed a slower paced 7 miles and today I did an 18 mile long run. Both runs went well.
Because it was a gray, gloomy morning and still dark, it made me think about running safety. Too many outdoor enthusiasts die as a result of being struck by vehicles. Keep in mind as you’re reading this blog, outdoor safety is not limited to runners. It applies to walkers and anyone who shares their paths with cars, bikes, or rollerbladers. Here are a couple of examples of recent tragedies: Triathlete Sally Meyerhoff died after being hit by a truck while she was training on her bike. And, when I was living in South Florida a young woman who was training for the Richmond Marathon was tragically killed as she was crossing an intersection during one of her early morning training runs. The benefit of running early in the day is that there are fewer cars on the road, but be aware, drivers have a tendency drive faster when there are fewer cars. In addition, they can be driving half asleep with one eye closed and even impaired after a night of having one too many. Darkness has its hazards, but being safe is not limited to the times of reduced visibility. Even safe havens in the middle of the day have their hazards.
It’s hard to find a safe place to run these days, even running paths. Here’s an interesting experience that I had: While running on a running/bike path that was “restricted to motorized vehicles” I was nearly run down by a motorized bicycle going at a high rate of speed while the rider was texting. Yikes! Can you believe that people text and ride a bike? I am challenged texting motionless let along in motion. Granted, no matter how safe you are, tragic injuries and even deaths happen, however, there are good, safe habits we can practice to protect ourselves. I call these safety contracts.
First, run against traffic. I also do not wear an MP3 player; too distracting. On long runs I’ll bring my cell phone. Added to this, I have my favorite safety gear that’s included in my contract. The safety gear I use is not limited to runners. I encourage anyone who shares their paths with cars, bikes, and rollerbladers to give these a try. The cost of the safety gear is reasonable considering what can happen to you without them.
I always wear my RoadID bracelet, no matter what time of day it is. The bracelet is really cool. You create a personal webpage with all of your pertinent information such as home address, emergency contacts, medical history, insurance, and a photo. On the back of the bracelet is a PIN. Rescuers or the hospital can access your personal information using the PIN. There is a low annual subscription for the bracelet. In addition, when it is dawn, twilight, nights, or whenever the visibility is reduced, I wear my Amphipod reflective vest and I attach one RoadID flashing light to the front and one on the back. The vest can be found in a sporting goods store or you can order any of these items online. You can find these products through my favorite websites on this page.
Hey, be safe out there. Just like you drive, run defensively

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