It’s been getting harder to run.
No, not like physically hard.
I can’t enjoy running when I have to be careful at every corner I turn in fear that a dog walker or a kid on a bicycle will be soaring by. I have to meticulously calculate how to pass others when there are two groups and a narrow road.
On multiple occasions, I have found myself bolting into the street to avoid running directly past another human on the sidewalk. And, yes, there have been oncoming cars. And, yes, the cars have been far enough away that I felt OK going into the road. Though the thought runs through my head: Am I going to get hit by a car today? Or, am I going to get COVID-29? Which is worse?
Last week during an especially “heavily-populated” run, I was going down a hill and saw a man on a bicycle coming up the hill towards me. We were both on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, this part of the neighborhood did not have sidewalk on the other side of the street. He was making no movement of getting off the sidewalk and was still coming directly at me so I ran into the middle of the street so we wouldn’t brush shoulders.
And then there are times when a pair of walkers don’t bother to go single file when passing me and instead, one of the two walks right next to me!
That’s not six feet! I angrily think.
I never say anything to these people. Sometimes I even smile back if they smile at me first. (I know, I know … so Seattle of me, right?)
Am I overreacting? Is it really OK?
I don’t think so. Therefore, all of this builds up to a not-so-fun running experience.
I live in the city of Seattle. Of course there are going to be other people out enjoying fresh air, especially in the mid to high-60s weather we have been having recently. It’s nice but it makes for a “harder” run for me.
Bryce and I thought we found a solution to our neighborhood running problems.
For about the last month, we had been venturing out to a small town about 30 minutes away from where we live to trail run. We either go in the morning on weekends or have been going after work hours on the weekday and while, yes, there are people around, there are not nearly as many as we would come across running in Seattle.
Just a handful of other people across six miles of running seemed fine. The trail is also a long straight-away so we always could see people coming towards us. We never had to worry about someone sneaking up on us around a blind corner. Bryce and I would take turns looking over our shoulders to make sure no bikers were approaching from behind.
It was a peaceful scene with farmland, trees and mountains off in the distance.
But, last Tuesday while running on our beloved trail, I saw a sign staked into the ground that read: TRAIL CLOSED. ESSENTIAL WORKERS ONLY.
I pointed the sign out to Bryce and we immediately decided to cut our run short and head back to our car. It was an official King County Parks sign. I was really bummed.
Even our slice of running heaven is no longer available to us.
No one else seemed to care that the trail was closed — or like us, they perhaps didn’t know it was off limits.
I guess my only option now is to wake up early and run before my neighborhood sidewalks and streets get crowded. (I have successfully done it twice so far and it seems to be a game changer).
I can also wear my pajamas inside out and hope for some Seattle rain, too. That’ll work, right?
There’s nothing like some good ‘ol grey skies and drizzle to keep the bandwagon walkers and joggers at home.