Jen's post is very timely. Be sure to take a minute to read it.
This past Saturday I was scheduled for an easy 4 mile run, my last 'Saturday' run until my race, and I talked a friend of mine into to running with me.
I've been trying to find someone to go on long runs with me at least occasionally, but I haven't had much luck. The running club I belong to is filled with people who run 'an easy 15 miles at an 8:30 pace.' Um, yea, in my dreams maybe. And my moms-who-run friends think my pace is too fast...if they only knew that I really am as slow as I say I am!
So anyway, one of my friends is running the Disney Half in January and realized she'd better get started with her training if she's going to be able to keep up with her racing partners so she agreed to run with me. Yea!
We planned to meet at her house at 6 am and run on a dirt road nearby. We had to be back at her house at 7 sharp so we didn't have a lot of wiggle room on the schedule. I looked at the map to make sure this particular road would fit our mileage which it would and I didn't think any more about it.
Well at 6 it was still pretty dark and she didn't feel comfortable running along that particular road since there are no street lights, lots of trees/bushes and just a few houses. So instead of turning left, we turned right and winged it from there.
We ended up on a road with no shoulder and a 50 mph speed limit - which means everyone drives 60+. You'd think there wouldn't be much traffic at 6 am on a Saturday morning in the middle of nowhere, but apparently there was some sort of meeting or convention everyone in the area needed to get to....quickly.
For the most part the cars would move over and give us some space. A few even slowed down a little. But there were some who did not budge one inch forcing us into the grass - which was mowed thankfully! At one point I all but pushed my friend off the road as one truck seemed to veer TOWARDS us without slowing down.
Were we dressed in all black running in the middle of the road? Nope. White shirts on both of us. And I was wearing my reflective sleeves and bands and carrying my light.
Thankfully it ended well. We didn't end up as a hood ornament or road kill, but there are a couple of things I will definitely do differently next time.
1. Have a plan B. On my drive home I saw that if we had turned the other direction on the 50mph road, there was a 30mph road just a 100 yards farther that we could have turned onto. It had more houses and wasn't as tree covered so it wouldn't have been as dark.
2. Wear my vest (mine is orange) and my blinky light. I didn't think I'd need them because I thought we were going to be on a lightly traveled road.
Hopefully my friend will run with me again despite our near death experience because it was a really nice change to have a running partner.
It's so easy to get lost in thought or to think the driver sees you and will move over. A car vs. runner scenario will almost never end well for the runner so stay alert out there!