Running Pet Peeve #3

TwoWaySign

Running Pet Peeve #3: Wrong-Side Runners on the Trail

Typically, in most situations, almost always, vehicle drivers tend to stick to the appropriate side of the road—normally.  Exceptions to this rule may include police officers, firefighters, EMTs, roadside construction workers, the occasional car thief leading a high speed chase southbound on the I-5 North in LA complete with overhead news choppers—yes, that happens—and maybe drivers for marathon lead cars.  As of yet, I have not witnessed a fellow runner, wearing moisture wick shorts and a heart monitor, sprinting toward me on the wrong side of the path while being pursued by a squadron of on-foot police officers and helicopters buzzing overhead.  If I had, I may have given them a one-time pass for running on the wrong side of the trail.

If you are on a pedestrian/bike trail, path running mirrors road driving.  If you drive your car on the right side of the road, then move your bootie on the right side of the trail.  Imagine driving a winding country road at night where overhanging branches of surrounding trees blot out the pale moonlight.  As you steer around a sharp corner, the high beams of an oncoming car blind you and spook the silent deer grazing on the weedy roadside.  You wouldn’t want to bash into a deer that way and you wouldn’t want to smack into a fellow runner either.  Turning a trail corner and running straight into an unwary person on the wrong side of the path could possibly, by chance, very likely, most definitely put a serious hitch in your training schedule.

If the oncoming right-side runner effectively navigates around the wrong-side runner, the right-side runner faces multiple risks.  They may expend extra energy, lose their rhythm, get hit by a cyclist, or potentially trip on trailside detritus like rocks, broken glass, half-eaten protein bars, and periodic roadkill along the bike path.

Regulations differ for running along a vehicle road, but as for trail running, don’t let your fellow runner end up in the ditch or slip on a dead squirrel.  Run on the right-side.

**Watch my blog for future postings of Running Pet Peeves.  Even better, share yours below in the comments.**

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Running Pet Peeve #2

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Running Peeve #2: Off-lead Dogs

This peeve, truly a pet peeve, involves pets of the canine variety. Not to be culturally insensitive to dog owners, but off-lead dogs scare the bejesus out of me while running. Let’s be clear: I love dogs. I own two bulldogs myself—one raised from puppyhood, the other a rescue…neither of whom, surprisingly enough, run (okay, no bulldogs run but if you ever happen to meet a bulldog that runs, please let me know. That shit would crack me up.).

Most pet owners who walk or run with their dogs unleashed utterly trust their dogs. They do not expect their perfectly calm and focused pooch to startle at a runner coming up from behind. They do not expect their fully obedient dog to bark at a runner headed toward them. They do not even consider the possibility of their sweet, affectionate hound lunging with no warning at the throat of said runner, ripping out the carotid artery of this potentially dangerous creature with their sharp canines, spurting the human threat’s dark red blood all over the pavement, to protect their person whom they love without boundaries. I, said runner/potentially dangerous creature, on the other hand, do.

As a runner, I take responsibility for my own body and well-being. Car drivers may not see me, cyclists may not see me, horses or dogs may not see, hear or smell me…so I try my best to be aware in advance of any obstacles or dangers and steer safely around them. When I see a dog, any dog on or off lead, I slow down. If it’s not obvious, I ask the dog walker which side they would like me to pass on. If the dog owner has no control over their dog, I have no routes for safe passage. I would rather turn on my heels and change direction than chance a leg or throat on the judgement of some random person who, for all I know, could be a wily serial killer that uses their dog as a weapon to immobilize innocent victims.  Not a likely scenario, but, please once again see the part about taking “responsibility for my own body and well-being.” I have to consider all the options.

I recognize this running pet peeve will raise some dog owners’ hackles. However, as a dog owner, I know unequivocally that any dog can bite, even if not all will during their time on earth. Having been a runner and known runners who have had off-lead dogs bark at them, chase them, run at them, or some combination of the above, I’d rather see owners err on the safe side. Most do. Many keep walking calmly with their dog on leash as I run past. Many move with their dogs to the side of the path for me. Many stop, even kindly sit their dogs as I run by. I will continue respectfully to give dogs a wide berth and I know most owners will reciprocate because who knows? I just may be that random runner who happens to be a wily serial killer.

**Watch my blog for future postings of Running Pet Peeves.  Even better, share yours below in the comments.**

My Top Running Pet Peeves #1

 GregKatieRaceJustFeet

Maybe it’s sticky gum on the sidewalk slowing you down; perhaps it’s the neighbor’s sprinklers angling straight for your eyes; or maybe it’s that pesky rattlesnake sunning in the middle of the trail ready to strike where your foot will strike next—whatever it may be, we runners all have our personal pet peeves. I’ll share mine if you share yours…

Running Pet Peeve #1: Side by Side by Side (by Side) Walkers

To start, I respect walkers. Most walkers seem friendly. They smile as I run past, they wave, they exchange simple, quick pleasantries with me: “How are you doing?” “Nice day!” “Hey!” “Have a great run!” “Watch out for that telephone pole!” “Come on – I can walk faster than you run. Push it!”  Walkers can be encouraging—sometimes they offer me a high five, a thumbs up or a bottle of Guinness (well, I’m still hoping for that day to come).

However, walkers, in particular horizontal groups of walkers, have on occasion been the bane of my training. This particular scenario presents itself in all terrain: sidewalks, hiking trails, running tracks, paved bike/pedestrian paths—if you can run it, they can walk it side by side by side (by side). I understand these trails do not exist for my personal running experience. Walkers can and should use these public transportation routes for exercise and enjoyment too.

On the other hand, if your assembly of bottoms span the entire width of the track, take a step back—at least one or two of you so I can squeeze my bottom through. After I pass, feel free to recollect your rumps in a side by side by side (by side) pattern. Just please be aware of those of us who aren’t interested in butting up on your conversations about cat litter or suffering serious road rash as we unsuccessfully attempt to squash around your army. We (I) will appreciate it.

**Watch my blog for future postings of Running Pet Peeves.  Even better, share yours below in the comments.**