Runner vs. driver altercations

Yesterday I was talking with fellow members of the running group I belong to and no one has almost gotten into a fistfight while running as I have.

One winter day I was running down a sidewalk and a car intentionally swerved into deep slush and threw a wall of it onto me. I flipped him off, a response I’ve long ago given up. The driver pulled over and got out of his car.

As I approached, he yelled obscenities and threatened me. I ran past, ignoring him, and he swung his coat at me. The zipper hit my face and really stung. I continued on as he yelled more obscenities. He jumped into his car, intent on getting me.

Because I am not a fighter, I turned at the next intersection, picked up the pace, and cut through the yard of an unfenced house to the rear. I watched him drive past, fruitlessly searching for me.

This incident happened when I was in my late teens, an age when you’re more susceptible to aggressive behavior. However, another incident happened just a couple years ago.

It was dark, and I was running down a residential street, staying well to the right. As I approached an intersection, a car turning left cut the corner at a very high speed. I had to stop abruptly to avoid being hit. I stared, trying to let the driver know I was nearly struck by his reckless driving. He did not take it well.

He came to a stop perhaps 50 or 60 feet away, jumped out, and aggressively stepped toward me. He cussed and yelled and dared me to come take him on. I stood there for several seconds without saying a word, listening to his taunts. The obvious solution was to just turn and resume my run, which I did.

I’ve been the recipient of several other unfriendly actions. I’ve had things thrown at me a time or two that were off-target, and people have yelled at me for no apparent reason than to harass me.

The mildest and most common behavior I experience is a phrase from a well known movie. As a car passes, someone yells out, “Run, Forest, run!”

Must I run everywhere?

The goal of this blog, as I explain in the About page, is to transform society into one huge running group that gets around by foot and makes cars obsolete, except for a few that we’ll need for ambulances and pizza delivery.SONY DSC

Of course, I dabble in satire, so it’s really not a goal. However, at one time I did my best to make it a personal goal.

For several years, I lived just over a half-mile from the school I taught at. I commuted by walking and often went the entire workweek without driving a car. When I went for a run after getting home, I incorporated errands like returning videos, going to the post office, or purchasing small items at the nearby store. As long as I didn’t have to carry anything bulky or run enough distance that I’d be dripping with sweat once inside, I was happy getting things done this way.

But then I moved, and my workplace was a six-mile run away. Thus I began a seven-year stretch of running home nearly every working day after taking the bus to work.

There are some logistical problems with running home from work, like how do you get your clothes home? What if the pleasant afternoon forecast goes the opposite direction? Do you need a coat for every day of the week?

By skipping my Friday run and taking the bus, I was able to bring my clothes home. I was married at the time, and some Fridays my wife dropped me off on the way to her job and I fetched my clothes, packed up the day before, and put them in the car. As far as weather, I kept an extra layer at work in case conditions deteriorated. Just once in seven years, when an event known locally as Ice Storm brought down power lines and trees did I not run home because of weather. And yes, a coat for every day of the work week was necessary.

It was a pleasure combining my commute and run. I used to procrastinate doing my run after walking home because I wanted to relax. But when you have to run to get home, a mindset develops that cuts out procrastination. Unfortunately, my current job requires lots of driving to many different sites. But I will not become the author of the blog, I Must Drive Everywhere.

Earphone Issues

I’ve been a member of a very large running group for several years. A few times I’ve caught up to someone and initiated a conversation and was ignored because I didn’t see their earphones.

Though many runners like listening to music when they run, I’ve never gotten into it. I like music when driving a car, and I often seat-dance which makes my drive more enjoyable. But running with earphones would be bad because out of habit I might break into run-dancing which would look very especially utterly ridiculous.

Also, I haven’t made the leap from headphones to earphones. If I tried to wear the pair I have, they’d bounce right off. And I can’t upgrade because I’m locked into a service contract when I purchased the below headphones in 1998 that still has twelve years to go. Sounds unreasonably long, but the price was very highly attractive for a headset that combined phone, radio, streaming music and screenless TV that is now considered outdated technology. (I never figured out how the screenless TV function works.)earphones

When I was in 7th grade, a kid called me Dumbo because of my oversized ears that stuck out. I don’t want a repeat of this. Wearing earphones could cause my ears to spread wider. This giganticism could cause my ears to gain the power to suck in anything put in them. I’d hate to walk around with a piece of cord or the corner of an iPod still sticking out after my ears sucked in the rest.

Quiz about running for high-level thinkers

Everyone has heard the term dumbed down. Rarely do you hear smarted up, which describes this quiz. It’s only five questions, but you have to be really, really smart to do well. Most contestants go 0-for-5, so don’t despair if it happens to you. Good luck!

1) What is a fartlek workout?

A) A run with many obstacles that runners have to leap or crawl over.

B) A workout that happens in a dream that can take the place of your real workout the next day.

C) A reference to passing gas made up by an immature group of high school runners in 1974.

D) A Swedish word meaning “speed play” in which a fast pace is run at intervals during a distance run.

E) An intense speed workout in which javelin throwers, after being induced into a psychotic trance by the team hypnotist, take turns chasing the distance runners with javelin in hand.


(source: The Independent)

2) Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, pictured above, won the 2012 Olympic women’s 10,000 meters in 30:20.76. What was her pace per mile?

A) A swift 4:53.

B) Too complex to calculate.

C) Can be calculated, but scientists are still working on it.

D) Just under eight megaticks.

E) Time is just a set of numerals and really isn’t important.



3) In 1976, American Frank Shorter attempted to repeat his 1972 Olympic marathon gold performance. He finished 2nd to a relative unknown, East German Waldemar Cierpinski, pictured above. What issue do many consider a factor that allowed Cierpinski to unfairly win?

A) Thanks to East German technology, Cierpinski wasn’t a real runner, but a hologram.

B) At a secluded mid-race location, Cierpinski jumped in the race, taking over for twin brother Guenther.

C) Cierpinski was part of the East German program that produced championship athletes with performance enhancing drugs.

D) Inattentive finish judges mistakenly believed Cierpinski finished ahead of Shorter.

E) Your place isn’t so important. Just finishing makes everyone a winner.

4) In the 1984 Olympic women’s 3000 meters, a mid-race incident involving favorites and race leaders Zola Budd of Great Britian and Mary Decker-Slaney of the US knocked both out of contention. What happened?

A) When Zola Budd realized she’d lost her good luck bracelet, Mary Decker-Slaney insisted they both stop and look for it.

B) Both competitors got so wrapped up discussing training techniques that they fell far behind the pack.

C) A playful Decker-Slaney tapped Budd on the shoulder while passing and said, “You’re it”. To avoid being tagged by the highly competitive Budd, Decker-Slaney was forced to take refuge in a trackside port-a-potty.

D) Budd and Decker-Slaney decided a stack of hurdles sitting next to the track was a hazard. Together, they stopped and moved them to a better spot.

E) Budd brushed Decker-Slaney, causing her to fall and not return to the race. Zola Budd intentionally slowed and finished 7th to avoid being labeled a villain.

5) Eating lots of falafel has long been a basic training strategy for Egyptian runners. How is falafel made?

A) Falafel is not made. It grows on bushes in the mountains.

B) Falafel is a by-product of oil refining.

C) Falafel tastes best on Tuesdays.

D) Falafel is mysterious.

E) Falafel.

 Answers: 1) D – A Swedish word meaning speed play.   2) A – 4:53 per mile.   3) C – East German program produced championship athletes with PED’s   4) E – Budd brushed Decker-Slaney, causing her to fall   5) E – Falafel

5 right – Plato, Einstein, Da Vinci, and (insert your name here).

4 right – Contact any Ivy League school. A four-year academic scholarship is yours.

3 right – Mentioning this score to Alex Trebek will get you on Jeopardy.

2 right – Mensa still considers you one of them.

1 right – Consider yourself hired if you mention this score on any job application.

0 right – Please enroll in my affordable on-line course, Ordinary to Genius in 30 Days.

Blogging drawbacks

It’s been nearly 15 months since the first post on I Must Run Everywhere. Since I’m part of the running community in Spokane, it had a good start and readership increased rapidly. Writing posts that involved fellow members of the running clubs I belong to helped keep interest high. However, one important factor prevents me from building a readership that would allow income-producing advertising which I’ll explain in a moment.

I go to a coffee shop to write posts. I always get the words down on paper before typing them in.

I go to a coffee shop to write posts. I always get the words down on paper first.

Many times I’ve received compliments about my humor. “Where do these ideas come from?” is a phrase I sometimes hear. When the ideas come, and sometimes it takes a while to happen, I often laugh and laugh and laugh. Sometimes I read old posts, and I laugh some more. I really enjoy this humor that comes to me, and that’s exactly how it is. I am not the originator of my blog post ideas. Even this one, which doesn’t have much humor, I was directed to write.

Thought presentation is how I describe this process. Thoughts are presented in a way that allows me to perceive they are from outside myself. I didn’t have this experience until about 12 or 13 years ago. Now it is constant. Not just blog ideas, but everyday thoughts come this way and continually let me know that something operates me. And, everything else as well.

And the factor holding back I Must Run Everywhere: Myself. WordPress has been a great platform for a blog, but I use the basic, free version. I do not upgrade because the basic version is simple and easy to use, though many features like how long people stay at my site, how they found it and who they are is unavailable to me.

As well, I have a fulltime job and working at making I Must Run Everywhere income-producing would consume much of my free time. Even if I didn’t have a job, I would not enjoy spending lots of time in front of a screen. Technical and software issues would also trip me up.

The only way I could make my blog a financial success is if I had a partner. Someone technically savvy and with an artistic touch.

So I continue to do my once per week posts because it’s fun, and I get a kick out of making people smile.