5 Rules For Sharing The Road With A Runner

Running at Dawn

When you’re training for a marathon, you have to run long. While your middle of the week runs may be anywhere from 4-7 miles, your long run will start at around 8 miles and work its way up to 20 miles or more as you get closer to the actual marathon. No matter how fast you’re running, 10 miles or more means you are out on the roads for a long time – eventually, upwards of 3 hours. Right now, I’m running between 10 and 12 miles for my long runs and because I don’t run these particularly quickly, I can be out there for a while.

You know what you see while you’re out on the road bop-bopping along? You see nice things like birds and puppies and children playing – BUT – you also see bad things, like roadkill (identifying roadkill does pass the time, however) and garbage and people who do not know how to operate an automobile. Or at least they don’t know how to operate it when they’re sharing the road with a runner.

Ironically, the stretch on my run where I have the most trouble – though only when I run on Sundays – is the one that goes by a local church as Mass is letting out. People – if you can’t wait 3 seconds to let me get by you before you pull away from the curb, you might have missed the point of that whole Christian thing.

It really doesn’t take much to keep from seriously injuring or killing a runner (or walker), I thought I’d put together some pointers for the benefit of runner and driver alike – because, when I’m not running, I’m generally driving (or sleeping!)

Philadelphia Marathon

5 Rules for Sharing The Road with a Runner:

1. Respect runners in the road. We are running in the road because a) there is no sidewalk or b) when you log as many miles as many runners do, the slightly softer road makes a difference to our knees, etc. It might be easier for you to just not drive on the shoulder for those 2 seconds than to flip me off and point to the sidewalk.

2. When you are turning onto a one-way street or making a right-on-red, don’t just look in the direction of the oncoming traffic – look BOTH ways. Runners (and walkers) will most likely be coming from the other way because we face the traffic. And runners, this is why you ALWAYS make eye contact with the driver before you cross in front of a car. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nearly been hit in this scenario.

3. Let us pass, please. You are in a car. It makes no difference if you pull away from the stop sign now or in 2 seconds, after I’ve run in front of you. It is a little bit harder for me to come to a screeching stop and then start again. Especially if I’m going downhill. If I hit your car, I will get hurt – your car will be fine.

4. When you see me, act like it. I am running against traffic so I can see you. I am looking for you. When you see me, it’s customary to make your way to the middle of your lane rather than closer to the shoulder. That way, I don’t have to worry that you’re on the phone and about to kill me. Which brings me to my next rule…

5. Please get off the phone and stop texting while you drive. Seriously. I run in a fairly rural area, so traffic is relatively light and the roads are wide. Last year, even though I had a 5 foot wide shoulder, and there were no other cars around, I almost got hit by a young lady texting. I could see her coming, and I could see what she was doing (see: eye contact, Rule 2, above.) She veered well onto the shoulder. Had I been looking down or less alert, she would have hit me. As it was, I had  to run into the field that abutted the road, and she simply corrected and kept going. I doubt she even realized I was there.

There’s no reason that runners and driver can’t share the road safely.

What rule would you add to these?

First Communion and Baseball

First Communion

I am never in pictures of family events. Presumably, this is because I’m generally behind the lens cajoling the kids to stand still, wait, just one more. By the time I’ve gotten a picture where they’re not making faces and/or blinking, they’ve moved on and I’m left standing there. I often tell my husband that if I ever go missing, he’ll have to sketch a picture of me for the authorities – so if you see a stick figure with a big curly head of hair – check the shoe aisle of the local TJ Maxx. That’s probably where I’m hiding.

This weekend was a big day for Flap – he made his First Communion. I wasn’t raised Catholic. In fact, I wasn’t raised anything. My mother felt I should be able to choose my own religion when the time was right, and so, while at Providence College, I had what the Priest described as the “Catholic Triple Play” – I was baptized, and had my First Communion and Confirmation all in one shot. I wanted to give my kids a foundation in religion, though I would be perfectly fine if they chose another religion (or not) that is more meaningful to them when they get older.

Flap is really curious about religion and God and the ceremony around Mass. Sometimes, out of nowhere, he’ll ask me about God and my father or my grandmother and whether they’re together. He also tries really hard to wrap his head around the idea of the Church’s opposition to gay marriage – since we have friends who are gay and married who he thinks are really cool. I love to watch him think things through. At the end of the day, I hope religion will guide him to be loving and giving and kind – and those are the values we really focus on.

Hello – TANGENT!

Anywhoozle – it was great to see all his preparation for the big day pay off: he did everything correctly and was really awestruck by the whole thing. At one point, as he left the pew to bring the gifts to the altar – his first big “job” in the ceremony – he looked over at us and said “Showtime!”

Me and Everybody

Finally, I did manage to get a picture of myself with the kids and my mom. I made Hubby hold the camera!

Base Hit

Sunday, Flap had a baseball game on what was one of the loveliest days we’ve had so far this spring. It was a tough game, but his team fought back at the end to tie things up. When I told him how great I thought it was that his team didn’t give up and how proud I was that they stayed positive, he quoted a card he got the day before: “Jesus was on our side.”

I had no idea Jesus was so into Little League.

Baseball

What did you do this weekend?

 

Sunday Sweetness: Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Ever since I gave up eating gluten, I find that I look for treat recipes based on what other people might like, as opposed to just things I like (as in chocolate, with a little chocolate mixed in). Generally, the kids will eat just about anything I make as a treat – so they’re no challenge. My mother, on the other hand, is a challenge. She doesn’t like anything too sweet, or too sticky, or too cake-y.

I was really excited when I found this Chocolate Chip Biscotti Recipe online, because the resulting cookies are small, not too sweet, and just crisp enough for dunking in your coffee – another thing my mom really enjoys. With Mother’s Day coming up, I thought this biscotti might be something you could try for the special moms in your life!

In the interest of full disclosure, I admit that this is the second recipe I tried. For those of you with the Mrs. Fields Biscotti recipe: don’t do it. There is an error in the recipe that created a dough so firm that it nearly murdered my stand mixer.

chocolate chip biscotti

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Adapted from this one at Good Housekeeping online.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp cold butter
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
Optional: 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. With a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Reserve 1 tablespoon of beaten egg. Add chocolate chips, optional walnuts, vanilla and remaining eggs to flour mixture, stir until evenly mixed. Knead the dough with your hand a few times in the bowl until dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, dived dough into four and shape each quarter into a 9″ x 2″ log. Place logs crosswise, 4″ apart, on 2 large cookie sheets. With pastry brush, lightly brush with reserved egg. Bake logs for 25 minutes, then allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Place each log on a cutting board and slice with serrated knife into 1/2″ thick slices. Place slices upright, 1/4″ apart, on cookie sheets. Bake slices for 15 minutes to allow biscotti to dry out. Allow to cool completely.

Biscotti Prepared for second bake.

Let me know if you try these. My mom loved them!

We Got Thrown Out of Lamaze Class

Thank you for all your kind words and thoughts about Wednesday’s post, Breathe. Parenting is the toughest job on the planet and it really helps to know that many of you have had similar experiences. Truly, thank you.

After posting 100 Things About Me a couple of weeks ago, it turns out, most of you want to know how I came to find myself booted out of Lamaze. As promised, here you go..

Girls and a bug

You know how it is when you’re expecting your first baby: everything is goodness and light, and each step you take in preparation for the arrival is magical, whether it’s picking out teeny tiny socks, painting the nursery or seeing your precious bundle on the ultrasound for the first time.

That’s how it was for us in late 1998 and early 1999. We knew we were expecting a beautiful little girl. We were equal parts excited and scared, but we dutifully read our What To Expect When You’re Expecting and Hubby rubbed my feet and brought me Drake’s Coffee Cakes by the warehouse store box load. (Which I ate dutifully…which might help explain my 55 lb. weight gain – but that’s another story.)

Like good little parents-to-be, we signed up for our first Lamaze class, which we learned was hosted in the basement of a church in a moderately sketchy part of town.

We arrived for the first class, late on a weekday evening in February (read: fricking freezing). They had asked us to bring along a towel and suddenly I understood why: in their brilliance they determined that the best way to keep a dozen pregnant women comfortable was to seat us on a rock-hard, stone-cold linoleum floor. It’s amazing how 3mm of terry cloth made that basement floor feel like a Sleep Number mattress. Not.

I sat down and surveyed the room: there were women of all ages, some with their husbands or boyfriends and one or two with their mothers. I would later wonder how some of them would manage as parents, because they were clearly dumb as a box of Pop-Tarts. I’m sorry to be judge-y or insult Pop-Tarts, but the facts are the facts.

We went around the circle the instructor arranged us in and introduced ourselves. The instructor was an older woman, with an air of authority, giving off a vaguely militant, earthy-crunchy vibe. I’m not gonna lie – I was little afraid of her.

The young woman who was there with her mother introduced herself.

“Hi, I’m Lisa. This is my first baby. I’m just so excited because after all my years of being the babysitter and the girlfriend and stuff, I finally get to be the mom. My fiancée couldn’t come so this is my Mom.”

And then she farted.

Listen, I do not judge a pregnant woman’s farts. All pregnant women fart at inconvenient moments. However, that sort of uncomfortable silence filled the room as we all deliberately tried to ignore the fart.

Her Mom wasn’t having any of that.

“Whoooo wheeee, Lisa, that was a winner!” she shouts as she starts fanning the air in front of her. She looks at Hubby and I. “You better look out, it’s coming your way. Hope none of you have sensitive stomachs!”

All this time, Lisa is laughing like a maniac. Under normal circumstances, I would guess that it was because she was embarrassed but I don’t think so – she thought it was funny.

Colonel Crunchy moved the introductions along.

Later, as she works her way through explaining the stages of labor and then delivery, Lisa goes on to ask where the umbilical cord goes after child-birth because she was concerned it would just “hang out” for the rest of her life. I am not making this up.

It took every ounce of strength I had not to tell her that she could just give a little tug and it would snap back in like a vacuum cleaner cord. I blame the hormones.

Now, I realize that Lamaze is supposed to be about all-natural childbirth. You have to understand that I like to gather information and know what ALL my options are. This was my first baby, and I really didn’t know what to expect.

I asked the Colonel at which stage of labor I could get an epidural.

Colonel Crunchy: “Excuse me?”

Me: “I was just wondering, if the pain gets to be too much, when can I ask for an epidural?”

Colonel Crunchy, smirking: “If you do what I’ll teach you here, you won’t need an epidural.”

Me: “I know, but, just in case, when could I get one?”

Colonel, annoyed: “Childbirth is perfectly natural. You don’t need drugs.”

Me, equally annoyed: “Yes and a heart attack is perfectly natural too, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that without drugs…”

And at that very moment, Lisa farts again.

After class, the Colonel suggested that we not return.

That, my friends, is the story of how we got kicked out of Lamaze class.

I wonder if Lisa’s umbilical cord ever coiled back up?

Anything crazy happen to you while you were pregnant?

 

 

Breathe

kitty and lola

This is not the post I had planned for today. Today’s post was supposed to be the follow-up to the 100 Things About Me post. Rest assured, I will tell you all the story of how Hubby and I got kicked out of Lamaze class on Friday. That’s what I meant to post about – but yesterday didn’t go the way I planned.

I did the usual things: laundry (of course!), ran 5 miles, and more laundry. I had to hunt down Kitty’s track uniform, wash it, and get it to her in time for her track meet at 4pm. I did. I even took the other 2 kids to run some last-minute errands.

I was feel super productive, and on top of my game. So why did I end up sitting in front of a laptop at 10pm doubting my skills as a Mom?

Kitty.

I can still remember hearing her first cry in the delivery room. I had a c-section. If you’ve ever had a Cesarean section, you know that there is a second – that feels like 5 minutes – right after they take the baby from your body, when you literally can’t breathe. I always assumed that it was because your diaphragm needed to adjust to that new space where your baby once was inside you. I was terrified. And then, I heard that baby cry outside of me. I was even more terrified. I felt completely and totally unprepared. I didn’t know anything. Except that I loved her more than anything.

I took a breath. And another. I discovered what mothers all over the world have discovered: you find a way. You get through. You make it work somehow.

Today I wasn’t so sure about that. I’m still not.

Kitty is frustrating and intelligent and talented and creative and exasperating – all at the same time. She is the child over whom I spend the most time fretting.

Today, she competed in the high jump. The afternoon was mild, but damp enough to make you feel chillier than your car thermometer said you should. With my fingers wrapped around a cup of coffee, I watched her make the approach to the jump – and not jump. Again. And then again. So many times. I yelled to her – you can do this! Did I yell at her? She shouted to me from the small area inside the near turn on the track where the jump was positioned. “Stop it, Mom!”

I was mortified. Not because of what anyone else might have thought, but because I was that parent.

She finished, never really attempting the jump. As she walked away, I could tell she was crying. She failed – in such a little thing.

I had failed – in a big thing.

I tried to explain that I knew she could do it. I tried to tell her that I believed in her. I’m sure I talked too much.

She is a young girl who has so little faith in herself.

I am back in that delivery room where I can not take a breath and I feel so completely unprepared. I don’t know anything.

Except this: every day I will work to take care of my baby. To guide her through. We will grow and learn together. And I will love her more than anything.