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Concerned Residents Contact Authorities Over Mother-Daughter Running Duo

Concerned Residents Contact Authorities Over Mother-Daughter Running Duo
The Allium Family Press


 

Recently, concerned neighbors in a Chesterfield County subdivision contacted County authorities after witnessing a mother and her young daughter out together on a Saturday morning run. Witnesses allege that the girl appeared to be running alongside her mother, with no apparent destination, seemingly running for fitness.

“I mean, I don’t want to be up in her business, but it was a Saturday morning. What was that mother thinking? Weren’t cartoons still on? That kid looked to be maybe only 6 or 7 and I was sure she would rather be watching My Little Pony. Who makes their kid go for a run on a Saturday morning? That’s why I called,” said a local resident who asked to remain anonymous.

Her neighbor spoke up as well. “I mean, they weren’t even running on a sidewalk. They were on the side of the road and a car could have come their way! I call that child endangerment.”

Another neighbor speculated that since it was the day after report cards had been sent home from school, that maybe the girl had brought home a bad report card and the run was a punishment.

“Either way,” he said, “it looked suspicious enough to me to make the call. Isn’t running bad for kids, especially girls, at that age? I mean, she could destroy her knees with all that running. I think that mom should be looked at for abuse.”

County Child Protective Services’ spokesman, John Smith, he stated that he could not comment on the current open investigation, but asserted that all child welfare calls are taken seriously and are fully investigated. “We encourage the public – if you see something, say something.” Smith said in our phone interview.

The accused mother, whose identity is being protected, said only that her daughter, who is 6 years old, is healthy, happy, and even asked to go with her on short runs. She also pointed out that there are very few sidewalks in their part of the county, but that their half mile run took place on a very lightly traveled neighborhood street that was certainly wide enough to avoid any oncoming traffic. When asked if she felt threatened by the CPS investigation, she replied “I don’t know. Would anyone be investigating me if I was feeding her ice cream and candy for breakfast? I doubt it. But a half mile run is abusive or negligent? We just hope common sense prevails.”

In the meantime, she stated that she and her daughter will continue their Saturday morning runs until they hear a final ruling from CPS. CPS is expected to complete their investigation within 3 weeks.

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Going To The Sun*

I know I talk a lot about the tough side of running. When things go wrong, physically or mentally, it tends to wind up here. Let’s shift gears away from that, at least for today.

Today seemed like an ordinary enough day. Work at my desk job for about 4 and a half hours, then head to the ladies room and change from business casual into tech-fiber casual. Hair goes up, hat goes on, headphones go in (all the purists now have a case of the hives over my iPod), and down the elevator 10 stories to the city streets.

It is finally, for real and for true, warm here. 76 degrees out, reasonable wind speeds, clear skies, low humidity. You know, like it’s Spring or something. A warm, sunny day called for bared arms and a route with no shade. I headed for the Richmond Floodwall Park. On the Floodwall, I have seen a bald eagle, a black king snake sunning itself in the path, countless Great Blue Herons and dozens of Peregrin Falcons. I don’t run this route as often in the winter, and I don’t think I have run the floodwall at all since late last Summer. This winter was just too brutal to face the very cold harsh winds coming off the river, and there are spots on the top that drain poorly, so with all the rain/snow, it would have been half a log flume up there. I just avoided the route, but I have missed it.

So today was the day and it didn’t disappoint. The sun was warm without being burning. Sweat poured without leaving me feeling light-headed with dehydration. I had a falcon take interest in my neon green tank top and follow me at distance for a bit. The music on my iPod was perfect for my mood. I added “Let it Go” from Frozen to the playlist last night, and that was like fuel on a fire for me today. Topping the stairs of the floodwall, the roar of the rolling river over-topped the sound of my music, and it was glorious.

The world around me is just starting to take on that lightest shade of spring green; it is also still brown and twiggy, but there is promise springing up all around. We’re still a long way from the emerald green of summer, but also the wicked heat and humidity that summer brings along with it. It was a perfect day and a perfect run.

It is days like today, miles like today’s, that remind me why I do this thing. Why when so many people make cracks about “being chased by a bear” or reproach me about destroying my joints, or warn of the risk of unknown heart problems, I can let all of that roll off my back, lace up my trainers and go out and log some miles anyway.

It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free

*The title of this post is a reference to Going To The Sun Road, on my Bucket List as a place to go for a run before there aren’t any glaciers left in Glacier National Park.

#MegsMiles

Last week, my thoughts were heavily dominated by the news of a local mother, marathon runner, and apparently all around good woman, was hit and killed at 8:15 on her Monday morning run by a drunk (and possibly texting) doctor.

If you are in the US and you are a runner, I would bet there is a 99% chance you heard something about Meg Menzies and #MegsMiles last week.

I hadn’t heard about her death until after I got back from my lunch run that Monday. A run where I narrowly missed being hit by a driver who deliberately ran a red light. I saw the car sitting in the intersection at Adams and Cary Streets, I had the green light to cross over the Adams portion of the intersection, so I proceeded. Apparently, the driver had been tired of waiting for the light, and I suspect he or she looked left and right to make sure there was no traffic (or police), and then proceeded through the red light without apparently looking straight ahead. It was a close enough call that I could put my hands on the car and shout.

I got back to work, opened the internet and saw the news about Meg and forgot about my own close call; a close call is nothing compared to what her family is suffering now.

As the week went on and Meg’s passing went viral, I remembered my own near-squashing and I got angry about it and about how drivers imperil the lives of pedestrians every day. Thank God I had been paying attention and had been quickly able to jump out of the way of that impatient driver. From the photos of the scene, it looks like Meg had nowhere to go to get out of the driver’s way who killed her.

The victim blaming made me angry, too. Comments ranging from “She shouldn’t have been running on the road.” to “Why not just run in a gym?” to “Were her clothes bright enough to be seen?” made me want to shake people (particularly the clothing one, which is too similar to blaming rape victims for wearing “provocative” outfits). Admittedly, there were fewer of these comments than the ones expressing sadness over the situation, but why were there any at all?

Even Hanover Public Works joined in the victim blaming by pointedly stating that “The shoulder is not an official pedestrian path.” Forgive my harsh language, but No Shit, Sherlock.

For most of the Richmond Metro Counties, there ARE NO official pedestrian paths. I know; I live in a county.

I am fortunate because I have three schools within 2 miles of my house, and near those schools are short stretches of sidewalks. For my favored 5.2 mile route in my neighborhood, I have less than 2 miles of sidewalk to run on. When I am running distances like 9-13 miles, I still only have those 2 little miles to work with to put some safe distance between myself and the cars on the road.

Worse than the lack of safe pedestrian paths are the hostile or distracted drivers. By and large, most drivers are fine. Some are even wonderful enough to move over in their lane a bit, change lanes when there are two lanes to work with, or even move a little over the yellow lines if there is no oncoming traffic. To those drivers, I always mouth the words “Thank you” and give them a little wave. I appreciate their care. Most drivers are just oblivious. They are fine too as long as they stay between the white and yellow lines and ignore me.

I can’t stand the openly hostile drivers. The jokers who think it is funny to slightly swerve at me like they are going to hit me. Ooh, funny! Thank God your dumbass didn’t slip on the wheel and not manage to correct course. A broken and possibly dead runner across the hood of your car would be hysterical, right? Police reports and insurance company law suits are a flipping riot, right? Then there are the folks that scream obscenities or sexually suggestive words at you as they pass you. They are less of a physical threat, but they are actively trying to steal away my joy. Thanks a lot.

But the scariest drivers are the distracted drivers. I see them texting, or on their cell phones, or eating, or looking away from the road; I see this far too much. And they don’t see me no matter how day-glo orange my shirt might be, or electric blue my pants are. They pass me by and never even know I was within 3 feet of their car.

I have heard the phrase “Runners need to be vigilant” a lot in the past week or so but generally runners ARE vigilant. Anyone who has run a single mile outside on the streets knows the inherent risks and that there is a lot we as individuals can do to mitigate those risks; we take out our earbuds or leave one out or keep the music level low; we wear obnoxious colors and patterns to be seen; we run against traffic; we wear blinking lights and reflective gear. But drivers have to do their part, too. Put down your phones, watch the road, and for the love of little kittens, if you’ve been drinking, call a cab, a friend, or just stay home, but please stay out from behind the wheel.

Temporary

Every action must also have an equal and opposite reaction.

Isn’t that the Third Law of Motion? Seems like an appropriate quote today. Yesterday was a day of joyful post-race exuberance. I searched for new races to run. I read up on full marathon distance training. I hugged a couple of people, showed off my race medal to a few others, shared race experiences with others who ran, and got asked again and again how it went.

Today, the Third Rule seemingly must be obeyed. Blue. Low. Down. Lonely. Unhappy.

Ah, how could I possibly have forgotten about post-race blues?

My intent to fight back against them today had been initially to go to the gym and work out (not run, sadly; my knee is still very sore and stiff). Then I was asked to go get something on my lunch hour for the office (I am in the half and half creamer club and it was my turn to buy half and half). That would have made for a nice walk in the sun, so I shifted to that plan.

And then I got caught up in an epic, lunch hour-consuming project for work, and here I sit, angry at an attorney who isn’t even aware he is being thoughtless, frustrated that my plans were overturned, and mad that I let myself get derailed without fighting back.

I know I will feel better in a day or so. I know this is a temporary mental state (just like yesterday’s over-the-top feeling was, too).

11/2 Whoops Run

Fun, good run today. Felt strong.

3.56 miles
38:12 time
10:45 min/mile pace

Not the 4 mile run I intended, but then, I made a wrong non-turn on Belle Isle and found myself in an unfamiliar part of the island. Still, very pleased with my time and my distance.

I am so thrilled to be able to see distinct progress!

Run, Interrupted

I guess it happens to everyone eventually.

I went out for my 4 miler at lunch. Only one mile in, my stomach started cramping, and not the little warning cramping of a slight threat. It was the rumblings of real trouble. I decided to switch from the 4 mile route to the 2 mile route, because there was absolutely no sort of facility available to me once I reached the River and Belle Isle. Turning back, I had to keep taking walking breaks every 3-4 minutes to quell some of the pain and maintain something like control.

It wasn’t enough. Thank God for the Troutman Sanders Building on Brown’s Island and for Canal Café being right there. I dashed in, noted their very prominent sign that said “Restroom for Customer Use Only” and, knowing very guiltily that I had not the first penny on my person to be a paying customer, proceeded to lock myself in there for a little while. I mentally promised myself I would go have breakfast there in the morning to make up for my terrible manners.

It was a very near miss for me. I will try again tomorrow to get that 4 miler in, I suppose.

Or maybe even tonight, a short, 2 miler to Meadowdale and back, in the dark, might just be the fix I need. We’ll see.

A Little Motivation

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt