“Cockblocked” On The Road
Ten obstacles to watch out for while you’re out road running
If you’re a city runner you’ve been accustomed to the many obstacles that stand in the way such as taxi cabs and the homeless or what I like to call “running with the bulls.” Seems like in major metropolitan cities like Richmond, Washington D.C., and New York there are always obstacles in the way for runners. Like life itself, we just have to deal with it and get around it.
From my experiences running around different cities, whether it was an official running race with a marked course accompanied by ushers or running my Saturday morning route, always anticipate being “cockblocked” on the road. I compiled a short list of the top ten obstacles to watch out for while you’re outside on the road:
10. Cars. Yes, you’re in the city and you expect cars are going to pass you twenty-four-seven, but do you ever think about the parked cars? If you’re a sidewalk runner, watch out for abnormally parked cars that illegally park right on the curb, blocking your path and even parked cars in the middle of a sidewalk. Yes, I’ve seen it. (and it wasn’t a car with a Jersey license plate).
9. Traffic Lights. I can’t stand traffic lights that lie and most of them do. When you think the hand is up to stop, you really don’t have to. I only trust countdown counters attached to the traffic lights. They let you really know how many seconds you have left to beat the light and cross. Always remember to look both ways and know as a pedestrian, you have the right of way.
8. Dogs. Why people think not to leash their dogs and let them trot wherever on the sidewalks is kosher, I don’t know. But it does give you the thought to run as fast as you can and not get attacked.
7. Walkers. Yes, it’s really annoying when you see walkers up ahead and you literally just want to run them over. Be calm, cool, and collected. As you approach them, just say “to your left/to your right” to courteously let them move out of the way. Hopefully, they’re not one of those mean people that has a cup of coffee and throws them at you. I’ve seen it happen before!
6. Construction. You can never predict when construction will block your path and you have to dodge people, parked cars and traffic all at the same time. Construction crews are pretty good at warning both pedestrians and traffic when construction will begin and end. It’s best to anticipate the worst. Run parallel to the construction or detour to the nearest street and regroup back to your normal route.
5. Cyclists. If you’re like me and like to run against/with the traffic on the road, remember you’re not a vehicle and you have to caution and know you are sharing the road with both cars and cyclists. Steer clear from Lance Armstrong and move as close or on the sidewalk if you’re in their path. There have been times where a cyclist runs over a runner and it’s not pretty!
4. Your iPod. So you’re running solo, blasting your iPod to Britney Spears, and it’s rush hour. Do yourself a favor and make sure you’re aware of your surroundings, looking straight ahead and looking to both your left and right. There will be times where you will be totally unaware that you’re blocking traffic and you won’t hear Johnny Bananas honking his horn at you to “move, get out the way.” If necessary, turn the iPod down a notch and all will be good.
3. Other runners. Even though we’re all runners, we’re not all runners. You might be on the trails of another runner and it will literally become a race. You don’t even know this guy or girl and they’ll try to smoke you in an unofficial race. If it becomes an intense mortal combat battle, just detour to the nearest street (or push them onto incoming traffic, just kidding!).
2. Sticks, twigs, and uneven pavements. Probably the most annoying thing in the world is running in a path of debris and running on uneven pavements. The first piece of advice is to watch out and detour away from branches and twigs on the sidewalks and secondly, if you’re running with a group, caution your fellow runner friends by saying “stick in the way!” When it comes to uneven pavements, yes, please send a hateful Email to the neighborhood association and the transportation department. However, that may not go anywhere and probably happen next weekend. In the meantime, if the road looks more comforting to your feet, run your happy feet right on it, and keep caution.
1. Mother Nature. You can never predict the weather and if you’re outside and Mother Nature decides to rain on your parade, better have a backup planto ride out any storms. If you’re in the city, guarantee there will always be a Starbucks at the corner for you to stay dry or if you’re in Richmond’s Fan District, a church.
Bonus tip, always anticipate for the worst and have a plan of action before, during, and after your running route. It’s just like College, it’s better to study before your exam, rather than winging it. Happy trails!
Jason Yu is Partner and Director of Marketing for The Hardwicke Group in Richmond, VA. His company specializes in new media, PR and influence with an emphasis on digital marketing strategy and reputation management. Jason enjoys keeping active by biking, running and working out on a daily basis. Jason has ran in over twenty running races including the Marine Corps Marathon, Tough Mudder, Richmond Marathon, and Xterra races. Interesting facts about Jason is that he is a music fanatic, in search fro the best macaroni and cheese, and aspiring “mixologist.”
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