Defensive Running

We love our neighborhood. With it’s mature trees and quiet streets you’d never guess it was just minutes from one of the busiest intersections in Houston. I fell in love with it from the moment we drove through on our house hunt. Unfortunately, this being an older development, we do not have sidewalks. I don’t know why. We are not alone, this seems to be a common theme among neighborhoods of the same age in the area.

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Since we don’t have sidewalks, when I go running I run in the street. I do my best to be as visible as possible. I wear brightly colored clothing, push a bright yellow jogging stroller, try to stay off the main roads, never listen to headphones and ALWAYS run against traffic. Unfortunately, doing everything “right” isn’t going to keep me and my kids safe; just like you practice defensive driving in the car, you must also practice defensive running on the roads.

Every time I see a car approaching I begin to analyze its behavior.

Is there any indication that the driver sees me?
Is he/she talking on the phone?
Is he/she distracted in other ways?
Will the driver make eye contact with me?
Am I in the car’s blind spot?

I know a driver has seen me when he/she acknowledges my presence by slowly moving over on the road to give me space, only then do I relax.

Repeat for each and every car, for 3-6 miles. At least there’s not a lot of traffic in our neighborhood.

Most drivers are extremely polite. They slow down when they see me and move to the other side of the road. I make a point to wave and mouth the words “thank you” to each and every person who gives me space but I don’t think any of those drivers will ever understand how much I appreciate their gesture.

So, from the mommy who pushes her entire world in the stroller everyday to the courteous drivers who literally go out of the way to make me feel safer, THANK YOU!

Thank you for acknowledging my vulnerability.

Thank you for respecting my space.

Thank you for concentrating on the road.

Thank you for giving me some peace of mind.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Unfortunately, not all drivers are as courteous. Just yesterday, a passing SUV went around me a little too closely for my comfort. I know the driver saw me, we made eye contact. The car moved over some but not much. When it passed I could almost reach out and touch it. I don’t know why some people behave this way but when it happens I mumble a few choice words under my breath and secretly hope they run out of gas.

A girl can dream, right?

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