An Open Letter to Drivers From a Runner

I’ve literally been giddy excited to write this post seeing it coming up in the schedule and now it’s here! I plan for this to be sort of funny, sort of informative and defiantly enlightening for both groups. Then it snowed so it got put off a few weeks, spoiler alert it’s snowing again. Where the F is spring this year? When I’m a runner some drivers rock and other’s just don’t get it. When I’m a driver I’d like to think I’m pretty decent to runner’s but every now and then I see one that just doesn’t get it either so we’re not totally blameless. Make sure to check out my posts about staying safe exercising in the country and the city! So here goes let’s start with the drivers!

driveropenletter

Dear Drivers of the World,

I am a runner and a road user just like you. Let’s start by reminding you that I am entitled to an ENTIRE F#%K*@G lane if I want it. That means that even on super slow long run days if I wanted to I am allowed to run in the centre of the lane and you have to wait for me, enjoy going 8 km/hr! I run on the side of the road so that you don’t have to do that, you’re welcome. I even pull over onto the shoulder when you pass even though that means I’m dropping down on the same knee every single time. Did you know that’s my sore knee? and I suspect moving out of your way over and over and over again contributed to that?

I also suspect you never ever get out of your car and walk anywhere around here either. If you did you would know that the shoulders are often in terrible condition, in fact the grader last fall put a nasty down hill slant on all of them. That’s why I like to run on the asphalt when you’re not around. That and it’s just a tad bit easier than the soft shoulder. I get a bit more bounce from the steps I take on the pavement back and that’s kinda nice. Plus it makes my shoes less dirty. I took some pictures on my last drive and run to show you the difference in views from the  runner’s perspective vs the car. That’s really different isn’t it, if the road looked like that you’d be outraged and I’m a taxpayer too!

shoulderproblems
Looks a hell of a lot worse from our point of view right?

Hey A$$H&^E on your phone, yeah you I see you! I see you holding your phone to your head and chatting plain as day. I also see you holding it up texting and you in the purple BMW minivan I see you freaking video chatting holding your phone out like 5 times, literally every time your drive by. I also know who you are, like we went to elementary school through high school together know you! My question to all of you is do you see me? We live in a tiny little town and I know who you are, hell some of us are even facebook friends. I know you have kids and some of you even post about stuff you don’t want any of us to do anymore to keep your kids safe, like all the time. Two of you even post about not texting and driving basically every month and then you drive by me, and YOU’RE ON YOUR PHONE? If this applies to you I kinda think you suck as a person, really you’re at least a huge hypocrite! Guess what? I’m somebody’s kid too and I don’t want my mom to have to burry me because of your distracted driving either. Also it’s illegal and I have a phone on me too, only as a pedestrian I’m allowed to take a picture of you and your licence plate to share as a comment to your keep my kids safe post, but I don’t. You’re welcome.

Let’s talk about the times you almost hit me now. This isn’t going to be popular and I’m going to make a few people upset, old people you freak me out the most! Ok I get it, I really do driving gives you freedom, it’s not the hiway or busy and you need to get around right? Totally, we don’t even have cabs or public transit out here and it’s true you sort of don’t have a choice. But it tends to go like this, you see me, you’re staring at me and slowly but surely you start to drift toward me usually to make a sharp correction at the last minute that puts you and me in danger. Sometimes this happens and you hit the shoulder mere meters from me other times I jump into a ditch either way I don’t like it at all! But I have a solution to this. JUST DON’T LOOK AT ME. I know what’s happening here you see me, you don’t want to hit me, your skills aren’t what they used to be and you stare at me. Then you drive where you look. Instead could you notice me and then PLEASE just look far down the road in your lane and that’s where you’ll go. Ignore me please!

Next for the rest of you let’s talk about intersections. This is where all of the near misses seem to happen and that’s were I used to almost connect with pedestrians too. Usually I think you see me and head into the intersection then you do too and we almost connect. With your driver’s side if your making a left and your passenger’s side if it’s a right. Even if this has happened to you a few times it doesn’t mean you’re a bad driver. I bet you almost never almost turn into cars in intersections. I also don’t remember my very thorough driving course teaching me this, but it’s easy, here goes. If you’re making a right hand turn looks for pedestrians at that intersection as you approach the intersection as you’ll have the right of way once you get there. If you’re making a left turn get in the habit of checking both sides of where you want to go for pedestrians. If you’re sitting waiting for a break in traffic to make your left get in the habit of monitoring the intersection you want to turn into for incoming pedestrians.

I get it though we’re a weird and seemingly random bunch you might see three of us on the same section of the road and we’re all doing different things. Sometimes we’re running in the streets when where’s a prefect ally good sidewalk, the road that runs parallel to a groomed trail or the shoulder when you always see me on the street. PS I literally do all of these things personally, but I have my reasons man! I’m gonna try to explain it to you at least for me anyway. I’m a usually somewhat injured runner. I have runner’s knee sometimes it’s really bad other times it’s just a low grade background kinda suck. Because of this I try to baby my knee as much as possible. On a road run that means you’ll like see me on the shoulder on a downhill because downhills are harder on the knees and the shoulder is a tad softer than the asphalt. That’s also why you’ll see me in the street when there is a perfectly good concrete (hard AF) sidewalk next to me. But you might have seen me avoiding the shoulder when you cruised by if I was wearing these shoes and there was loose gravel on the shoulder. A lot of people ask me why I don’t run on the trail that runs next to my house rather than the road. Well lots of reasons really one is hunting season, that’s a good one right? Did you know ours is 6 months long? Another reason loose dogs even though it’s the law lots of people don’t chain their dogs in their yards or use a leash on the trail. It’s unpleasant to have an unknown dog chase you even if their owners says they are nice. Spoiler alert about 25% of those dogs try to bite you, 60% growl and 95% bark at you. Next is streetlights and habit. Finally it’s not that well traveled and if something or someone did happen to me it’s not likely to be witnessed or me to be found in need of help. On a related note if I need to call for help where do I direct them? Somehow I don’t think the grove of Maples next to the three White Birch is all that helpful.

rocky shoe
I’m like the princess and the pea, no matter how small the rock I’ll feel it. Runners are delicate!

Finally let’s talk about truly douchy behaviour. Don’t park your Giant SUV on the sidewalk and yes it is always a giant SUV. Unless it’s in front of the hospital there’s never an excuse for this. I know I’m hot (not really but…) but unless I know you please don’t holler at me or follow me slowly hollering at me. It’s not nice and the latter really makes me feel unsafe. While we’re at it please don’t full on turn your head and stare at me. It’s sort of like me staring at your crotch at the beach. If I know you please don’t swerve towards me as if you’re going to hit me. I’m running and not playing suicidal chicken plus when was the last time you checked your tie rod ends? Don’t blow through a crosswalk with flashing lights and give ME the finger as you do. PS it turned out I knew that person’s husband she just didn’t know me until I went to her house to welcome her with muffins the next week. We instantly recognized each other and it was REALLY awkward for her!

Now onto the good ones, because they are out there. So many drivers swerve safely into the other lane to give me my space. The best ones do it early so I know I don’t have to pull off. I’m thankful for that and I hope my wave conveys that. Sometimes you can’t help but splash me with a puddle like that time we were both on the bridge but I love it when you alter your speed so I don’t get wet. It’s great when you look at me and show me you see me in intersections it’s even better when you wave me out. Thank you very much for reading my rant and hopefully you’ll incorporate some of it into your driving style.

-Allison

Thanks for listening to my rant! Does any of this every happen to you? What would you include to your open letter to drivers that I left our? Before you thing I’m just a runner throwing shade at drivers check out this Wednesday’s rant about runners from a driver’s perspective!

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