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Weekend Wrap-up, Part II: "The Incident"

Posted Aug 04 2011 9:35am

So, as I was saying, my weekend was moving along beautifully. I got a ton of sleep on Saturday night and woke up early Sunday morning to get in my long run for the week: 8 Miles along the Schuylkill River trail. Joe was out of the door before me, since he had a 15-miler planned (training for Baltimore Marathon in October.) I was out the door by 8-ish and despite the heat, felt pretty good.

My planned run was a fairly boring 4-miles “out-and-back” along the river to total 8. Boring, perhaps, but the straight path allowed me to get in the zone to concentrate on my pace. So, I’m in said “zone”, approaching mile 4 for the turn-around. What happens next is what I think happened. (I should mention here that at this point I was listening to Meatloaf on my iPod – not ashamed.) Anyways, I go to glance over my left shoulder to check behind me before the turn, and may have swerved slightly to the left – when:


Yes, one of my biggest running fears finally came true: the dreaded collision with a cyclist. And not just any cyclist, but a clipped-in cyclist going approximately one million miles per hour. (He likely just had a Honey Stinger Waffle .)

Anyways, my entire body flew in the opposite direction and I tore up my palms, ankle, and bum/hip. Oh yea, road rash, baby. But let me tell you: I was seriously *freaked* out. I scampered off to the side of the trail and noticed the cyclist also crashed, but was uninjured. He grumbled something about how I veered onto his side and I whimpered something about how he was going too fast, but we both followed each statement with, “I’m so sorry – are you okay?” When I realized I only had scrapes and bruises, I picked myself up. Cyclist got up as well and about 7 other witness runners/pedestrians ran over to make sure we were okay. Still in shock, I limped over to a nearby bench and sat down. A minute later, I burst into tears.

This was seriously scary, man. I mean, I could have easily sprained/broken an ankle/leg/wrist/arm/rib with the way I fell. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I got injured like that, especially with two exciting races coming up this fall.

This older man walked over to the bench and sat next to me and offered to call someone on his cell phone for help. I assured him I was fine, but he sat with me until I stopped crying which was super adorable. (Thank you older man! Good karma coming your way!)

Besides being seriously freaked out, I had another surprising emotion: embarrassment. I would consider myself a seasoned runner – I run along this trail many times a week. There are cyclists on the trail, however I understand the “pass to the left” etiquette, and the cyclist “calling out” their position. Did I do something wrong? Was I not paying attention? Was my music too loud? After a few days of replaying the situation over and over in my head, I think it was partially his fault and partially my fault. He definitely shouldn’t have been going that fast on a trail with runners, walkers, baby carriages, dogs, etc. everywhere. If he wanted to ride fast, he should have been on the street shoulder, along with the other serious cyclists. I feel like on a pedestrian trail like this, you should only be biking on it if you have the ability to slow down and stop at any time. However, this was definitely a wake-up call for me to be more alert when running (especially when turning), and to listen to music softer (sorry Meatloaf). Also, from now on I am always going to carry my cell phone with me when running, in case I do get seriously hurt one day <knocking on wood>.

At the end of the day: It was an accident.

One of the reasons I was looking forward to writing this post was to get everyone’s opinions – what is the running vs. cyclist rules and etiquette? Both are hugely passionate about their sports and are supportive of one another (many athletes do both!) – so what is the best way to coexist and avoid accidents such as these?

Once I stopped crying, I realized the worst part of the situation was that I was 4 miles from home – ugh! I slowly started jogging and realized the bruise on my ass was quite painful. But all I wanted to do was get home so those last 4 miles were pretty fast. When I finally got home, I assessed the damage:

Haha, oh yea.

I also had rocks in my palms and scraped up my ankle – but nothing serious, thank God.

Anyways, I’m still pretty freaked out by the trail incident and haven’t run on the Schuylkill trail since (treadmill workouts, baby). I’m sure once I get over my PTSD I’ll be back on that trail and much more aware of my surroundings.

That afternoon, I was in dire need of a cocktail. So Joe and I attended the Summer Jam Fest at the Jamaican Jerk Hut on South Street here in Philly thrown by Young Involved Philadelphia where I got my grimey little hands on one of these:

Mmmm Sangria. Oh, thank goodness.

They had a few fun bands playing:

And excellent Jamaican food – I loved the grilled plantains.

So, the weekend redeemed itself, hooray.

I’m doing a bunch of travelling this week – currently in a hotel room in Denver getting ready to assess the exercise room situation. Tomorrow I’ll be meeting Joe in San Diego to attend a friend’s wedding – sweet.

Anyways – interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on the run/bike etiquette situation! Hope you’re having a great week!

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