Sunday, May 4, 2014

Running Reflection: April 28th - May 4th

With the weather getting warmer (well, for some of us) and the increasing opportunities for us to take our runs outside, I wanted to chat a bit about running safety.

My guess is most of you already know about RoadID, the awesome customizable identification bracelets that first responders (or other good samaritans) can use to identify unconscious/injured runners, hikers, and other athletes who are unable to identify themselves due to the extent of their injuries.

I know it seems gloomy to think about, but having my bracelet on gives me peace of mind that no matter what happens, if I'm hurt (or worse) while out on a jog or a hike, my family will be alerted. I opted for the RoadID with the online component, so my bracelet has basic info (full name, year of birth) with a link and a serial number that would take someone who found me to a website with ways to contact my family, doctor, and other important information (my ventricular septal defect, allergies, blood type, etc). I'm thankful that I've never needed to use this bracelet, but I also know how important it is to wear it daily.

(PS - If anyone needs a RoadID bracelet or gear, use this code for 15% off! "RunChat14")

A lesser-known component of RoadID is their online app (currently only available on iPhones). When you open it up on your phone, you're prompted to select a few things:

  • Time: Select how long you intend to be out running/hiking/etc.
  • Message: This is the message that gets sent to the selected contact(s).
  • Notify these people: Chosen from your contact list, these people receive the text message from RoadID that you choose to send, along with the time you'll be gone and (if you choose this option), a link to track you on your run.
  • eCrumb tracking: Turning this on would send the link to your contacts of your trip, so they can follow you in real time.
  • Stationary Alert: If you end up stopping for 5 minutes, the App begins an audible 60-second countdown. If you don't cancel the countdown, an alert message is sent to your contact(s).
Here's an example of the screen set up for my run yesterday:

I was trying out a new route on a semi-busy road where I couldn't quite remember if it had much of a shoulder. Ever my father's daughter, I figured safety first was the best option here (well, besides the idea of opting out of the route altogether) and sent my dad a message so he'd be able to track me.

Some of you might've spotted my twitter post about this run yesterday. I am so so so glad that I had my dad set up to track me. Not because I needed it, but because there were a few miles there where I thought I might.

The road I wasn't so sure about (the Issaquah-Renton Highway) had a terrible shoulder, where the white line actually faded on big chunks of it. Mix that with running uphill against downhill traffic and big swooping turns, and I was worried for my own safety. 

After about two miles on that road, I turned onto the West Access Trail that would take me a bit further up Squak Mountain. With the danger of the cars behind me, I started to remember (thanks to a staff room conversation with someone who lives on Squak) that there are lots of bears on that lovely mountain. And it's Spring, right? So aren't bears coming out of hibernation and ready to protect their new cubs by killing neon-covered runners?

Luckily, my students and I just finished our survival unit in April, so I was READY. Check out this kid-friendly (but still kind of scary) video on what to do when confronted with a bear or cougar (the two most common animals to attack in the Pacific Northwest... except maybe moose).

So picture this, if you will, a blonde braided runner, probably more nervous than she was willing to admit at the time, clapping out a rhythm with each pace. I looked like an idiot. A not-attacked-by-bears idiot.

After a mile and a half of uphill trails, I eventually made it out to civilization and completed the rest of my run with a killer stomach cramp (the kind that makes you stop so you can just PUSH hard on it and try to make it go away. PS - this doesn't work), a pretty intense downpour for a mile or so, and a gnarly rain-plus-sock-induced blister.

About a mile from home, I spotted this text from my dad:

So while it might feel a little like overkill (especially because I didn't end up getting hit by a car or mauled by a hangry bear mama), I'm definitely one for promoting safety using whatever you've got at your disposal.

Check out the app friends! It's free!

Oh yeah, and here's how my week of training went:

  • Monday: Graduate school, rest day.
  • Tuesday: 65 minutes of Hatha yoga.
  • Wednesday: 5.10 miles / 8:54 pace. Group run sponsored by Mizuno.
  • Thursday: Meeting and painting class after school. So... I didn't work out, but I DID paint this:
  • Friday: 2 mile walk after dinner. Yes, I know it was a lazy week.
  • Saturday: 12.01 miles / 9:46 pace. This was the aforementioned killer run of doom.
  • Sunday: 65 minutes of Hatha yoga. I actually wanted to get a short run in today to bring my mileage up to 20, but this blister on my foot is KILLING me. I'm going to give it until Tuesday.

Total Distance: 17.11 miles
Average Pace: 9:30 per mile

Last Week's Goals:
  1. Run three times. (Shoot, missed this one!)
  3. Track calories religiously this week (contrary to dietitian's suggestions). I've got to get past this gain/maintain hump and start losing, again. (So I tracked, but haven't lost. At least I'm good at maintaining?)

Goals for Upcoming Week:
  1. Run three times. Ferreal.
  3. Try for two runs on Saturday: the Ruff Run 5k in the morning, and add another 7 miles in the afternoon. It's taper time, in preparation for the May 18th Snohomish Women's half marathon!

What are some of your tried-and-true safety tips for runners?


  1. Amy, I'm going outside so I'm sending you a tracking know those Coyotes, right?
    Kidding aside, I love watching you run on the app link you send. I'm amazed and proud of your running and I always love to participate any way I can. Love Dad

    1. Love you too, Pops. Thanks for teaching me to go for my goals, all while making sure I'd still be around to tell the story afterward. :)

  2. Hahaham yeah, I got freaked out the first time I ran alone on Squak Mountain. It's strange to go from metro Seattle where there is no wildlife in the parks to the "truly wild" Issaquah Alps.

    2 years ago, I was on vacation with my family in Glacier Park. I had a big run to do, so I wore bear bells, was carrying bear spray, and I was singing/shouting out loud for the entire run. I looked SO SO SO ridiculous.

    1. But hey, you also survived! I bet it's the bear bells that did it. :) Woo hoo for survival!

    2. I'm pretty sure it was the singing. ;-)

    3. I'll have to try singing next time I go to Squak (which will never ever happen again, I'm still convinced I was in immediate danger the whole time). Definitely BSB's greatest hits.

  3. I have a road id too! pretty plain and black but that's my color. Very slimming. LOL. But I did not know about the RoadId App... I'll definitley have to check that one out!

    1. Luckily for you, you can totally buy a replacement band to spice things up a little. :) Let me know how you like the app!

  4. hey, i'm a new reader :)

    i used to live where i could easily leave from my house and head out on long roads on the country roads...i hated the portions where i was going uphill with iffy shoulders. it made me REALLY appreciate the drivers who moved all the way over when the saw me and REALLY angry and the ones that didn't.

    i'll have to tell my hubby about that app, he worries about me always.

    1. Hi Dawn! Thanks for stopping by. :)

      Yes, I should remember how lucky I am to be able to run from home! It's when I make up new routes for funsies that I get myself into trouble. Today, actually, I had a big Jeep pull up right next to me on my last stretch before home and honk super loud. Some people are just rude, or they just don't get how scary that can be. Thank goodness for conscientious drivers.

      Definitely check back in and tell me how the app works out for you! I love it, and always feel way safer when I've got it running on my scarier routes.