Sunday, January 31, 2010

Don't Make Me Squash You, Maggot

I’m quite pleased that so many of you are still out there running while the winds of winter snatch at your snatches*.

However.

Unless you are running between the hours of, say, 8am and 4pm, you should know that if you are not properly attired, NO ONE CAN SEE YOU, MAGGOTS.

A couple of weeks ago, I made a nice, legal, slow turn onto my block, only to have to slam on my brakes for a jayrunner attired entirely in black. Who then had the gall to flip me the bird. I felt like stopping and yelling “You’re lucky I LIKE runners, Maggot!”

There is a tricky turn near my house where two lanes of cars must try to enter a street on which there is already a salmon stream of cars jockeying for position. Anyone with the temerity to cross the street on foot risks going under the wheels of a driver who has suddenly spotted a tiny hiccup in the flow and guns it. Recently, as I took a quick look to see if there were any pedestrians about to make a squirrel-dash before I turned, I spotted one of my best friends poised at the curb. I managed not to flatten her, but it gave me the vapors. Later she cheerfully said “Of course you saw me, I was wearing bright pink!”

Um, sweetie, you know I love you, but as Ben Franklin said, in the dark all cats are gray. So I immediately ordered her one of these.

If you ever run in the dusk or dawn or dark in a place where you could cross paths with a car or even a bike, you MUST have one. (No, I am not being paid to say this. In fact, I’ve paid for three of them myself already.) Wearing this, I feel like I’ve gained a super power. It practically makes you visible from the space shuttle; I can hear cars hesitating when they’re still blocks away. One time I forgot to wear it, and suddenly felt like someone had put a bounty on me—why are all these cars trying to kill me? And it’s much less annoying to wear than a traditional vest, which flaps and twists.

Of course, it’s possible to get taken out at any time of day by someone who’s, say, steering with their knees while lighting up a crack pipe. So you might think about purchasing one of these as well. I’ve got one that attaches to my shoe; it has my name and birth date and my husband’s name and cell number. My husband has a wristband version for when he’s on his (goddamn) bicycle. It was a pity that a teammate of his didn’t have one last month, when he crashed and got concussed and couldn’t remember his own name. (Oh and I have a discount code good for 20% off in the month of February: PC613486BBAF.)

Go ahead and ignore my orders if you want, but just know that if I squash you flat and you’re taken to a hospital as Runner Doe, it’ll totally be your own damn fault.

*or packages.

26 comments:

CJ said...

Those tags are excellent. Thanks for the link.

I went running outside on the street today! Due to schedule and dislike of running 40 minutes in the pitch black, I'm using a treadmill at the gym.

No cars, admittedly, but I'm tracking when dawn will be 6am for my lat/long.

Emmanuelle said...

Glad to give you blogging material...

m said...

years ago i gave a similar item to a friend who ran; she thought it was dopey and refused to wear it. then she got hit by a car!

(she was not hurt but lesson learned)

Carrie said...

If you carry a cell phone when you run, make sure you have your emergency contacts numbers listed under "ICE" in your phone book ("in case of emergency"). Responders are being trained to look for that now. Also, instead of putting your spouse in just by name, list him/her with title first, like "Husband John". You can put in "Mom Kathy" or "Daughter Sarah" too. The cops may actually dial from your phone, and one of the first things they do is look through your contacts. But yeah, try not to get hit in the first place.

Old MD Girl said...

Great idea!

Maybe we can give them to the drug dealers on the Schulykill path too so I can give them especially wide berth when I pass them at night.

mary said...

What's your take on the whole running barefoot thing?

DoctorMama said...

Barefoot running -- I dunno. The idea seems to crop up every now and again but never really catches on. Probably some people benefit from it and some don't. Obviously one can’t run truly barefoot unless you know for sure the path is hazard-free, and while I’m sure those new foot-glove things are wildly sexy, they do change the position of your foot unless you’re naturally spread-toed, so I’m not so sure they really count as barefoot. Anyway I’m sticking with real shoes for the foreseeable future.

Karen said...

It's a good thiing it's way to cold for any human being to run outside this time of year in Alaska. I will stick to my treadmill so no crack smoking folks plow me down on the way to the nun bus.

8junebugs said...

MaggotJen reporting on day 3 of Running at Pace of Arthritic Sloth, Treadmill-style, Every Other Day. Feeling addicted to running and...better. All over. I'm able to run about 25-27 of the 30 minutes, which I take to mean I could run the 30 if I wanted to push it (I don't. Yet.)

If I switch to outside running at some point, I promise to wear reflective and/or safety gear as needed...for I am a morning running with bi aspirations.

Artful Lawyer said...

Lawyer maggot thought of this post last night and got out for 35 minutes this am before work. It was around 20 degrees, which is comfy when dressed appropriately and with a face guard to take up and down as necessary. Feeling better and less like I'll murder a client (or colleague) today.

ozma said...

Running at night. In the wintertime. I guess that's how I know I'm old. I can't do that anymore. I think I did do it once upon a time.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

I love these amphipod things too! And they fit just as easily around my dog so he gets to wear one too! There's a lot of darkness in Alaska and I take great satisfaction that people see us. There are many unfortunate souls here who like unlike to walk down the middle of the highway here in all black in the dead of winter when there is no light. And I can't see them and with ice I might stop, but not before I hit them!

winecat said...

Well you still haven't convinced me to become a runner but I do love your new picture. What beautiful blue eyes you have.

Run Dr. Mama Run :)

DoctorMama said...

and they're watching YOU, winecat ... watching and waiting for you to get those running shoes on ...

Funny thing is, I have the least pretty eyes in my family. You should see my mom's and my sister's and my brother's. Turquoise.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. I live in fear that I'm going to hit a biker or runner or walker some day in the dark rain. People are completely invisible. I'm thinking (in this nanny-state city I live in) that it might be a worthwhile endeavor to work to pass a law requiring people to where reflectors between 4PM and 7AM between October and March.

C. said...

Sick running? Been running 5x a week. Finally back after an injury. How do you feel about running with a cold? Im having withdrawal from running but dont want to get worse.

Word verification: Nosse - mine is stuffed :)

DoctorMama said...

Timely question, C -- I just came back from my first post-bronchitis run. My rule of thumb is, sick above the neck: run; sick below the neck: don't run. The worst part of getting sick for me is not being able to run -- and for me it lasts longer, because I get awful coughs that really linger, and stopping every couple yards to hack up a lung is not worthwhile, in my opinion.

That said, if you CAN run, it's very unlikely to make you sicker -- it'll just be a crappy run.

(And one more thing: run only every other day, C, and you'll get fewer injuries.)

C. said...

Thanks. My injury was a compound tib/fib fracture with a 3rd degree sprain. Not running related ;)

Michelle said...

Wowza! I'm a Manhattan Maggot who started running on Nov 1st, 2009, the day of the last NYC Marathon. I'd never understood running or runners, and I've always HATED to run... but then I kept finding myself in the company of runners. I'd make polite conversation but mostly block out whatever they said about running. Shut up! They just sounded so self interested! Then I found myself on a date with a marathon runner and it just started to piss me off that here was yet another person I wanted to like but there was this dark side I'd have to accept - an affection for running. I just couldn't relate! Runners seemed to get something good out of it that I couldn't even conceive of. 40,000 people were descending on my city for the Marathon... How could 40,000 people be tuned into something that completely eluded me.

Well, I just broke. I decided I couldn't accept not understanding this any more. So I put shoes on, and I started running. To motivate myself, I started a blog: MICHELLE HATES TO RUN http://hatestorun.blogspot.com/ and told myself I couldn't write unless I'd run. I was 38 years old, 40+ pounds over weight, and couldn't run 100 feet when I started. For shizzo.

Today is Day 101 of my journey. I ran 10 miles two days ago (in 22 degree weather, in Central Park, so shut up to any lazy maggot out there who uses weather as an excuse!), and as of yesterday I had lost 10 lbs without dieting. I'm not getting younger, but on my 39th birthday in January I ran my first timed race with the NYRR.org. I'll be running a Half in April, and have my Lottery # for the 2010 Marathon.

And as much as it ruins the punch line of my blog's name, I think I have to admit, I don't hate to run any more... I love it. It's given me so much more than I could have imagined. I'm getting to know myself.

My French friend who currently resides in Canada has been following my blog through Facebook (which is where I post my links), and just posted a link to your site on my FB page. Oh dear Lordy I wish I'd "known" you 101 days ago! But I'm here now... and I'm listening! Keep telling it to us straight, doctor!

C. said...

Michelle:

I used to hate runners and their crazy running. I have been reading DM for years now and when she spoke about running id roll my eyes (sorry, DM). However, like you, i started running and fell in love with it. I was injured last year in an accident and only started running again about 6 weeks ago and only on a treadmill. Even if I go to the gym just to walk, the speed somehow increases and I find myself running even if just for a little while. It's an addiction :)

Best of luck with you marathons.

C.

Anonymous said...

I force my husband to wear a glow-in-the-dark jacket every time he runs in our dark Seattle winter days, but I'm not as dilligent about protecting myself, or the dog. (Oh, and I now weigh 30 lbs less than in the picture I sent you a year ago. That dog died -- of autoimmune hepatitis, of all the sad, slow, complicated, expensive ways for a dog to die -- and I now have a new dog and a BMI of 21. But despite all the chances, I still think your advice was the best I've ever had. It was the LIMITS you put around running -- half an hour, slow as a sloth, every other day -- that made it work! Finally! Even though I really do have pretty bad arthritis!) Thanks for the reflective reminder. -victoria

Fresh Hell, Texas said...

Off topic: You wrote about a watch/alarm combo for TH. Did it work? What is the brand? Thank you!

Carol S. said...

Reflective vest.

Find a fun one and wear it.

Don't be a statistic.

Anonymous said...

Doctor Mama, what do you think about lights on runners? I have several lights (that I also use while biking or sculling) that I attach to my hat and my dog's collar and leash while we run, in addition to my reflective vest and the dog's reflective jacket. Do you think they do anything or are they a waste of time? I must admit, we look quite festive when we go out together covered in our flashing lights. I live in a neighborhoon without sidewalks and have no choice but to run in the street. The traffic is not heavy, but many drivers ignore the 25 mph speed limit and go 40 or even 50 mph. It feels unsafe, but so is being sedentary.

C. said...

Alright, DM, I cant find suitable info on the topic so need your expertise. I have fallen arches, my feet or so flat that the entire foot hits the floor.

I have tried orthotics, etc., only to have continued pain. Now that i am training to get back to full fledged running after a tibial ORIF, what do you suggest for running shoes? I have done some research, but uncomfortable with going with advice from a random website.

Best,

C.

Anonymous said...

I love these "Listen, let me tell you what to do" posts. They really do inspire me. When you write about running, I am more likely to get our there consistently. Thank you Dr. Mama. -victoria