Thursday, July 3, 2014

And Then it Got a Little Scary...

A few weeks ago I committed to something new and crazy (for me)...getting up at the crack ass of dawn and hitting the pavement to get in some miles before work.  I had been enjoying it, finding that it left me more focused and patient in my classroom the rest of the day.  Several weeks ago I headed out on a Tuesday morning around 6:50 a.m. (later than normal) for a run.   I had my posse with me; pushing Isla and towing Luke along.
About 3 miles into our run we had to navigate a double crosswalk.  Meaning, we had to cross one street, then immediately cross a second.  It was a four way stop, the first part across a four lane road.  When I was crossing that section of road, I saw a car stopped in front of the cross walk I would need to cross next.  As neared the sidewalk before the second crosswalk, I made eye contact with that driver, she nodded at me.  I slowed.  I stopped.  Before heading into the crosswalk, I looked at her again.  She was looking down, but still stopped.  I went.  About the time Luke and the stroller were 3/4 way across the front of her car I heard the engine go.  Her SUV rolled into us.  Luke was pushed into, then behind the stroller by her SUV.  I panicked.  I sped up, looked at her as I sprinted out of the intersection.

When I looked at her, from the safety of the opposite side of the road, I noticed she was on her....cell phone.  I also looked around and noticed the other horrified drivers in the intersection.

Luke, Isla, and I almost became a part of one of the awful growing statistics in our sport...runners hit while out for their morning jog.

The only casualty...the Bubba (Isla's original name)
plate that we've had attached to BOB since our first run ;-(

While Luke was technically hit- as he was pushed into the stroller, and the stroller was obviously hit, we all walked (okay ran) away from the incident unharmed, physically.  I have never felt more thankful in my entire life.  Especially in the wake of horrific stories like that of Meg Menzies, Jeffrey Prioitti, Jamie Rowley, and many more.

After our incident I was pretty messed up.  I practically sprinted the 2 miles home.  The accident shook me up for a few hours.  I was stuck in the what if mode.  I hadn't had my cell phone on me that morning...what if I had been badly hurt?  I felt scared and shaken.  What did I do wrong?  How could I have avoided putting my daughter and my dog at such incredible risk?

But after I got to work and talked it out, I got pissed off.  There was *nothing* I did wrong, as a runner that morning.  *I* did not put my kid nor my dog in a dangerous situation.  I crossed the crosswalk correctly.  The driver was on her phone, not paying attention, and hit the gas instead of the brake.  That's probably the reason more and more runners are getting hit...drivers AREN'T PAYING ATTENTION.

Thrilled baby at the police station....

After work I went to our police station.  I filed an incident report and got a lecture on never running without my cell phone again.  I also discussed the growing problem with the officer and urged him to watch that intersection for dangerous drivers.

But getting OVER the incident has proved to be a bit more difficult.  My mom gave me the old advice that my horseback riding instructor used to say when we'd been thrown from a horse, "JUST GET BACK ON THERE AND GO!"  But it was different this time.  This time my daughter had been put at risk.  Not just me.  The first run after our incident sucked.  I ended up in tears .3 miles away from home, where I had to navigate the first crosswalk since that Tuesday.  But after a few weeks I'm back out there on my runs, crossing crosswalks with no tears.

We always tend to think that bad things will never happen to us.  But now I know they they did.  The trick is to be proactive about our safety- make sure that we're doing everything possible we can to be safe and acknowledge that even if something bad happens, at least we were having fun....!