Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Conversion Therapy

For me, the summer running season is drawing to an end.  I have two more races on my calendar between now and Labor Day:  the Sea Girt 5K this Saturday in - you might have guessed - Sea Girt, New Jersey and the 10th Annual (and final) Jimmy D 5K in New Brunswick.  The final edition of the Jimmy D 5K shall take place on August's final day.  I am happy to be able to take part in both of these events this year as both are among my favorites.  I am more than a little saddened by the fact that this year's Jimmy D shall be the last.  Deputy Chief D'Heron's family - led by his daughter Erin Vargas - has done incredible work these past ten years turning a personal tragedy into a communal triumph.  I say with no small measure of pride that this year shall be my fifth Jimmy D.  

Running is - for me anyway - a solitary pursuit.  Even as a kid, I was not much of a bicyclist.  My preferred method of transportation prior to be old enough to drive was simply to walk.  Never owned a ten-speed as a boy.  "Fanciest" bike I ever owned was a Columbia three-speed Mom and Dad bought for me when I was eight or nine.  That is - I believe - the last bike I ever owned.  

This past Sunday morning as I was running through the streets of 'NTSG I encountered a small pack of cyclists.  Seeing them all clustered together in their matching "bicycle boy" outfits (including the built for speed helmets) reminded me just how much I loathe cyclists.  It takes all of the restraint I can muster to simply not push one over as he or she pedals by me in the opposite direction.  Cyclists are almost as obnoxious for runners to deal with as they are for drivers.  

As a general rule, they travel in clusters.  Moreover, since bicycles are modes of transportation they travel in the same direction as motor vehicles whereas runners/walkers travel against the flow of traffic.  NOTE:  If you are a runner and/or a person who walks for exercise and you run and/or walk WITH the flow of traffic, then you are walking on the incorrect side of the street.  You are to run and/or walk AGAINST the flow of traffic.  In New Jersey, it is not simply recommended that you do so, it is in fact the law.  N.J.S.A. 39:4-34 ("On all highways where there are no sidewalks or paths provided for pedestrian use, pedestrians shall, where practicable, walk only on the extreme left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing approaching traffic...Where sidewalks are provided it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along or upon an adjacent roadway.") 

The pack of cyclists I figuratively ran into on Sunday morning was less obnoxious than several others I have encountered over the course of the past couple of years.  Cyclists enjoy attempting to bully runners as our paths intersect - relying upon their numerical advantage and their apparent absence of an understanding of the basic laws of physics (specifically the rather significant effect a well-placed foot in the path of a bicycle wheel can have on the old adage regarding the tendencies of "bodies in motion").   Thus, as this pack approached me on Beechwood Avenue I was prepared for the worst.  It never made an appearance.  Instead they moved to their left, which put them further out into a travel lane on a road of which we were the only users, and nodded "Good Morning" to me as they whirred past. 

They were so pleasant in fact that I almost regret having kicked the rear tire out from under the last guy in their group...


...almost. 

Next time he is in the woods he shall be certain to thank me for having introduced him to running.  In fact, as he bit asphalt on Sunday morning "Thank you" might have in fact been the very words he uttered.  I was moving away from him at a pretty good clip so I could be mistaken.  The second word he yelled out was - I am sure - "You!". 

I am, however, less than clear as to the first one.   

-AK

No comments: