“I could be gone in a second without even a trace” – Tom Freud, Collapsible Plans
There is a balance between fear-controlled caution and a complete throwing of caution-to-the-wind. After 12 years working in the ICU and seeing the worse possible outcomes (often despite the best intentions), I’ve had a tendency toward leaning in the direction of fear-controlled side of the scale. I’ve come a long way in learning to let go a little.
Where running is involved, some might accuse me of being too relaxed. I disagree MOST of the time.
I follow some general rules:
- I always run with my phone
- Tell people when I am running
- Take my Epi-pen during bee season
- Wear reflective wear when lighting is marginal
- Keep aware of my surroundings
- Pull my headphones off when listening to traffic is essential
But there are things that I could do better. Take today for example…
Although I did tell my co-workers that I was running, I didn’t share where I was planning to go running. In fact, I actually ran where I told them that I would NOT be running; it seemed to call to me and I couldn’t resist.
All this would not be an issue had I chosen to run where the shoulder was adequate and large trucks didn’t have a tendency towards barreling down the road. Or maybe if I hadn’t insisted on traveling that additional 0.1 mile which took me into a section where the shoulder nearly disappeared and it was just road, guard-rail, and me. And although I knew better, I told myself that I’d be careful.
Then I saw the memorial with the bicycle, three headstones, and a wooden cross. Fear set in and, on the way back, I had an awakening just to reinforce how stupid I was for being there alone, on that blind curve, and without anyone knowing where to find me if I didn’t return to work. Yeah. It wasn’t my proudest moment.
After returning to the office, I looked up the names on those headstones and read of the tragic deaths. While it would seem that because cyclists share the road with the cars more often, that the sport holds greater risk. Still, one must not forget that running can be dangerous too. I could stand to take back a bit more of that caution for my own sake.