Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oh, the shame

I'm a street walker.

But before you get your minds in the gutter, I must also tell you something else.

 I'm also a street runner.

It's more about logistics than anything else. It's much easier to negotiate a stroller on a semi-smooth road than it is a sidewalk with its bumps and dips and tree limbs and sometimes parked cars. If it's a whole family run, we simply can't fit on the sidewalk. The BOB takes up a good 75 percent of available space and Denali would take the whole sidewalk to himself if he could.

Of course, when I run alone, I could opt for the sidewalk. And, sometimes, I do. However, weather (roads are more likely to be plowed and salted) and plain old habit keep me on the streets 70 percent of the time.

And that's where I found myself on Sunday during my long run. Before I tell you the story behind this post, I need to tell you a little bit about this run. I had 6 miles on tap as a pseudo taper ahead of this weekend's Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans half-marathon relay. During taper weeks, I always have this little devil saying that it would be totally OK to wuss out on the run and do just a few miles. Such was the case on Sunday. My legs were heavy and sore from Saturday's Body Pump class and I only had Mark with me for 3 miles.  Three miles as we set off just sounded better than six.

However, for all my mental weakness, I found myself really enjoying the run. By the time I dropped off my three boys and set out on my own, I felt amazing. It was one of those times that you wish running would be all the time but, in reality, you only experience 10 percent of the time. I felt strong. Fast, even. (Note: Feeling fast doesn't always equal running fast.) The sun was shining, making it easy to feel joyous for the ability and determination to run.

My state of euphoria, though, was burst just as I was about to enter the home stretch. I was standing - gasp - in the street, waiting to cross a semi-busy street into my neighborhood. I was waiting for a car to turn when an old lady turned onto the street where I was. As she passed, she waved her finger at me.

Maybe she was doing a little dance to some him jive music but I have a feeling she was shaming me. For standing in the street. If I didn't love my grandma so much or have a general fear of getting shot (you never know who is packing heat these days), I might have done something more than stand there in disbelief. I might have done more than spend the rest of my fabulous outing running with hate.

Don't get me wrong - I don't expect drivers to applaud as they pass me (though that would be nice) but I don't think they should be wagging their finger at me. After all, I'm braving the fake winter cold to do something good for myself and, in turn, good for my family. The shame should be on those who choose to look down and judge me for my decision.

But maybe that's just me. What are your thoughts?


  1. I run in the street, too. Asphalt is better for your knees/joints that concrete sidewalks and is often smoother. No shame from me!

  2. Ok, this made me giggle. I am also a street runner. My neighborhood is divided into a few different sections and one of them is an "active adult" community. So on the main drag, there are older drivers all the time. And they are ALWAYS looking at me like I'm a "bad girl" for being in the street. But who likes to run on uneven concrete? And NO ONE shovels their sidewalks around here...

  3. haha that is right, you really never know who is packing heat these days! :)

  4. Hence the reason I never want to get old. The elderly are so crotchety. Someone should wag their finger at that woman for being overly concerned with interrupting a person's euphoria-filled run.

    Although we don't run on the streets much, we do often run the outer perimeter of our neighborhood which entails run across streets as they open out onto the main road in the area. People are constantly pulling out over the sidewalk, never paying any attention to the girl who's maniacally checking her Garmin to see if she's staying on tempo pace. It's maddening that some folks don't acknowledge just how hard we're working!

  5. Who cares what little old ladies sitting in cars think! Do whatever works for you.

  6. That drives me nuts almost as much as people who honk at me as I'm minding my own business running down the street.

    I agree navigating BOB is so much easier in the street!

  7. I run on the roads too almost exclusively . . . even if there is a perfectly good sidewalk. No problem - she's just jealous! she's a hater -

    Glad your run was stellar! It's always GREAT to have a run that doesn't feel horribly hard. Wondered if you had DOMS from pump - I certainly did - quads - holy pain batman!

  8. How annoying! I run on the roads around my neighborhood because we have no sidewalks. Nice job on the 6 and can't wait to hear about your NO RnR fun this weekend!

  9. We don't have sidewalks where I live so I am constantly sharing the road with cars, walkers, bikers and other runners. It's such a common scene that I think most drivers don't even notice. I've only been buzzed by a car a few times and grazed by a side view mirror once. A friend thought the grazing was intentional, I really hope not.

    The old lady was probably jealous that she couldn't be out there to join you. :)

    Share the road!