OK, today is the kind of day that blogs were made for. Let's start at 5:45am: I head out for a 6 or 7 miler on my favorite course...rural, quiet, and hilly. 1 mile in, I hear 2 "large-sounding" barking dogs. It's foggy and I can only make out their silhouettes. They look big. I yell out "STOP!" and they stop moving towards me but continue their loud barking standing in the middle of the road. Let me say this...I travel this route often and without incident. Today, I stood there for a solid 10 minutes while no owner or anyone did a thing. Each movement I made towards OR away from them and they moved towards me. It only takes getting chased once by a dog to be very defensive in this position....and that I have. Eventually, the neighbor leaves for work and says they are harmless...yea right! It's dark and 2 loud barking dogs are blocking my way...what would YOU do?! With this neighbor pulling out onto the road, the dogs backed off enough so I could turn around the retrace my steps towards home.
Now, I feel like a fish-out-of-water. My "routine" has been disrupted and my preferred loop for the day is a no-go. I head back towards my subdivision and map out a 7 miler in my head and continue on. Unfortunately, I'm now stuck traveling in the UN-preferred direction for morning traffic. I live in Rootstown...a small rural town with minimal berm to run on so yes, it's dangerous. More cars/TRUCKS than not don't move over or give any consideration to me whatsoever. In fact, it is commonplace to hear an engine rev when they see me and actually move TOWARDS me. I kid you not and this is normal for a run. For the rare person who gives way to me, I give a thankful wave to them as I am most gracious. Please know...I always get off the road if I can and if two cars are passing while passing me, I will exit the road. I don't play chicken or stupid out there! Guess what...car/truck/semi vs. little 'ol me = a dead me!
OK, I got off on a tangent but I've been wanting to blog that for awhile. Jump ahead, I'm doing a mini time-trial to learn my marathon goal pace without looking at my Garmin 205....just to know what it feels like. I'm about 5.5 miles into my run and I come to the intersection of Cook Rd. and New Milford Rd. in Rootstown...I'm heading south on New Milford and turning right on Cook Rd. I have no stop sign and the crossing Cook Rd. traffic does. As I make the right turn, I become thankful I used the bathroom before running today. To my left is yet another truck LOCKING up its brakes and sliding through the stop sign. Understand the title of today's blog, now? If I didn't have my Brooks jacket on, I absolutely would have been flattened out. I was so stunned that I just waved him on as I stood there. The run home became a different kind of time trial as I was furious but thankful to be alive. I just wanted to get home in one piece now. It's as if I wasn't supposed to be running today or something. What? Stay home? After running in this town consistently through every kind of weather, using regular routes, and generally the same times of day, you'd think over time the courtesies of fellow residents would get better, but they don't.
Don't let anyone or anything stop you from getting your run in today...it's the normalcy and solace of the run that keeps us all grounded and focused. Some embrace this and some call us crazy. Call me crazy but I'll keep on heading out to the roads...dogs, trucks, snow, ice...whatever. I'll be safe and take every precaution but I will still head out.
Keep on running, friends!
- available at Vertical Runner in Hudson, OH