Saturday, January 23, 2010

Up Close and Personal with a Side View Mirror: this runners' hit and run mini-van experience

So today's 13 mile long run was something I looked forward to all week long after last Saturday's grueling 20 miler. Little did I realize that at around 6 miles into the run I would come into direct contact with the side view mirror of a grey mini-van! Yes, I was struck by the side view mirror of the said van resulting in the mirror coming completely off of the vehicle! Fortunately, I'm perfectly fine other then a sore elbow and a pretty decent bruise. First of all, let me say that as a runner I like to think of myself as cautious and aware of my surroundings. Generally I try to abide by the "rules" and run on the shoulder against traffic or on the sidewalks etc. Admittedly, running as many miles as I do, it's easy to become too trusting of drivers and expect them to watch out for me. Today was a classic and serious reminder to be vigilant as a runner, expect drivers NOT to see me, and always follow the rules of the road. Here's the story...

I was running with a group of friends and we had just turned right on to Elmwood Avenue. Most of us were running on the sidewalk. However, Steph and I-chatting away-hopped down onto the shoulder, running incorrectly on the right side of the road. Big mistake! Just before the road "bridges" over the freeway, the shoulder ends, and this was where the trouble occurred. I was running on the outside when a grey mini-van came flying past us and there was no on-coming traffic. Rather then slow down, or honk, or move over away from the runners and toward the middle of the road, the driver opted not to slow in the least and he (or she?) clipped my elbow with the passenger side view mirror! The mirror came flying off the vehicle and I shockingly realized the impact I had just experienced! The side view mirror hit my elbow and the left side of my middle back before landing on the side of the road. "I just got hit! I just got hit!" were the words I repeated several times over as our entire group of 8 runners stopped to inspect the damage. The van? Oh, it just kept going, slowed a bit at the top of the hill, and then took off! One of the runners tried to sprint up to get a license number but to no avail. We didn't get the make or model of the van either.

Steph checked out my back which only had a small pink mark on it and my elbow was stinging from the hit. I wiped my wimpy tears away with my gloved hands and decided to keep on going with the run. Everyone asked if I wanted to go back and even offered to go with me, but I could tell that I was fine and my back immediately felt okay. I figured I could run with a sore elbow! Besides, I had full range of motion with my arm so it was nothing serious. Sure enough, I made it to the end, especially with my friends on all sides of me! Not to mention we were all extra cautious for the rest of the miles of the day!

Don't you hate it when other people are right???? How many times has Colin gotten frustrated with me on a run because he doesn't think I've gotten over far enough? And how many times has Lehman (another runner of the group) put his arm out in front of us like a crossing guard to keep us from crossing a street too quickly? Well let me just say that I get it now. I'm so fortunate to not have been seriously hurt today and I vow to be a cautious, law abiding runner from now on. I love it all too much to risk serious injury. In this day and age of cell phone use and texting while driving I suppose we're never a hundred percent safe out there pounding the pavement. But I intend to do everything in my power to be as safe as possible on the roads. Don't get me wrong, that driver was a complete jerk to not even bother to slow down, watch where they were going, or stop to make sure everyone was okay. But today was a great reminder that drivers are NOT watching out for me and even if it is their fault, I'll still be the one laying in the hospital bed, or worse, dead. (Of course I realize that today I was also at fault, but that guy should have stopped!)

I must admit, I went back to the scene several hours after the incident and collected the side view mirror. Not that anyone is coming back to claim it, or it probably would have been gone already. But if they do, it won't be there and they'll have to shell out the money to get it replaced. I'm sure you can't pass NY inspection without a mirror!

What's your take? Would you have reported this to the police?