Monday, October 09, 2006

Don't Overdo It

My mother always discouraged me from being too active outdoors. She was raised in a different culture and doesn’t understand why anyone would run marathons or do triathlons for fun. She thinks it’s dangerous, and she is right.

But that hasn’t stopped me ...... from talking to her about what I do, I mean. It used to be that I’d try to tell her everything about swimming, biking and running, the good and the bad, but then I realized that she only heard the bad. So I found that balance was important when talking to her, just as it is in my training, and some things are best left unsaid.

“So, you still running alone a lot? You know you shouldn’t. There are bad men who might try to get you while out running.”

“Yes, mom ... but I’m as careful as I can be. I carry pepper spray and a cell phone when I run. I only run during daylight hours and know how to defend myself. I even have a little rear view mirror on my sunglasses so I can see people coming up behind me."

What I don’t tell her is that I've been nearly attacked twice in the past. About 10 years ago, I was chased by a guy who jumped out of his car naked. I escaped unhurt but the incident prompted me learn self defense to prepare for next time, which was a couple months ago. This time a guy tried to sneak up on me from behind but I heard his footsteps, turned around with my pepper spray ready to fire, and he ran away. No sense in making her worry about people she nor I can control. I love to run alone and I'm not giving it up.

“You guys don’t ride your bikes on the roads, do you? I heard about a cyclist who was hit by a car.”

“Well, at the speeds we ride at, it’s actually safer to ride on the roads than it is on sidewalks or bike paths, mom. But whenever possible, we ride in bike lanes and on roads where there aren’t many cars. We also wear very bright colored clothing so drivers can see us easily.”

I don't mention to her that my husband, also my riding partner, was recently hit by an SUV that somehow didn’t see his fluorescent orange jersey and crossed into the bike lane he was in. Fortunately, at 220 lbs and built like a linebacker, all he got was a sore shoulder from breaking off the car's side view mirror. She also doesn’t need to know about the beer bottle that was thrown at me from a passing car. After all, it missed hitting me and I didn’t even get a flat from the broken glass.

“You only swim in a pool, right? People who swim in oceans and lakes have gotten killed by sharks and alligators.”

“Mom, the chances of getting killed by sharks and alligators are very slim. People are more likely to die in a car accident. Besides, going to the pool can be dangerous too. I broke my nose the other day.”

"WHAAAAT? How'd that happen?"

“Well, I was in a hotel room getting my things ready to go to the pool. I forgot there was a partial wall directly to my left so I turned to leave and smacked right into it face first, hard. Hurts to wear my goggles right now.”

Oh no, that’s terrible! You’d better stop swimming then.”

“No, I can’t, mom. I’m training for an ironman triathlon.”

“Ironman tri -- what? What’s that?”

“Oh, just a marathon with some swimming and biking done first. Should be fun.”

“Well, don’t overdo it.”

“Okay, mom. Gotta run. Talk to you later.”

4 comments:

IM Able said...

Shirley,

Just loved this post -- made me miss my Mom's watchful eye and eccentricities. Plus, what a great idea to wear a rearview on your glasses! I'm investing in pepper spray this weekend -- thanks for the tip!

Able

Cliff said...

Shirley,

This is a real good post. I mean, it really shows that u have to be careful out there.

On the other hand, me, coming from an asian background, I know exactly how you feel.

A year ago, I had a bike accident and knocked out a few teeth. As of now, I am still waiting for the gums to heal before I have them fix.

My mom told me, 'if i ask u to not ride the bike, u won't listen to me'. I just nodded in agreement.

Thanks for this post and remind us to be alert at all times.

And also thanks for your comment in my blog.

RunBubbaRun said...

Good luck at IMFL, I had to tone down my Martial Arts training for IM. Kudos for you that you can still do both.

Don't worry I still don't think my parents realized what I just did. Just explain it to them afterwards.

Anonymous said...

As the husband is question and in the interest of full disclosure, it was a Plumber's Van not an SUV that I hit. Any yeah, it felt great to reach down, pick up the broken mirror, and had it back to the driver with the comment: "You might want to use this next time"

Dave