Friday, July 5, 2013

Red, white, blue & a new pair of shoes, oh and some police action along the way

Phew!  Yesterday turned out to be a doozy of a day.  The running portion of my holiday turned out to be quite an interesting tale.  One I'd never thought to make up.  It not only involves me, but my son.  And some law enforcement & police reports.  Before I get ahead of myself let me start at the beginning and tell you all about my 4th of July.

For the first time in several years I did not run a race.  I mentioned this in a recent post that I'm just not interesting in racing right now.  Partly because of my continue recovery from my injury.  My leg is feeling so much better, I am slightly tempted to test the waters.  To run is one thing, but to train is another and I have not had any 5k training in almost 2 months. Yes, I can rely on my natural talent & race times.  That still yields me a decent time, typically placing me in my age group with no problem.  It's just not what I want right now.  Not to mention I could inadvertently hurt myself some more by going too fast too soon.  Since I'm really focused in on Howl at the Moon in 5 weeks I don't want to risk anything at this time.  Which, let's be honest, I also wanted to be lazy & sleep in.

That's doesn't mean that I wouldn't run at some point.  Duh, racing is optional, running is not.  After I finally got up I busied myself with prepping food for a gathering later on in the day.  Time got later in the morning that I would have liked and I still needed to find time for my run.  I battled about a day run vs. an evening run.  We we're planning to go to a friend's house and fireworks later on, but it wasn't on any type of tight/strict schedule.  I finally decided to run to my friend's house.  She lives out in the country & I've been wanting to run out there since she moved in a few months ago.

By this time it was close to noon.  It had warmed up considerably & I was concerned about how I was going to hydrate & keep cool.  The distance was "only" 5-6 miles, but under the right summer conditions that is borderline too much to risk being out on a highway without proper hydration.  I had my small handheld water bottle, but I wasn't sure if that would be enough.  I would've use my large handheld, but that had just been stolen the day before (yeah, I need to blog about that).  The rest of my family was driving out to my end spot so I thought about having them drop water for me.  Then my son (John, age 12) & I came up with the idea that he would bike along  & carry extra fluid for me.  He would benefit from that because he is training for a triathlon & could use the bike time & I benefited because he'd carry what I needed.  Win-win!

The route was a very basic point A to point B & was about 6.5 miles.  It consisted of about 1.5 miles of city running then out onto a state highway.  It wasn't a major highway, but a 2 lane road with a small gravel shoulder on each side.  It wasn't extremely busy, but had it's fair share of traffic.  Because time got later than I expected I skipped the city portion of the run & had my daughter drop me off.  My son soon caught up with me & was great support along the way.  He'd ride ahead a bit then wait for me, always having water & ice ready in case I needed it.  I always had him in my line of sight at all times.  His support was quite valuable to me.  The temps were in the low 80's, but the sun was hot & strong.  Yes, I very likely would have fared ok on my own, but I don't mess with such conditions & I'd always rather be safe than sorry.

John, my support crew.  No clue why the picture turned out all wonky.

We had our end spot in sight & had pulled over for one last stop of water.  I had just taken off running when I saw a sheriff car coming down the highway with it's lights flashing.  I hollered back at my son to wait for it to pass before he took off.  At that point I wasn't sure how fast the car was going, but wanted my son to stay to the side until it passed in case it was going to go flying by.  The car slowed when it approached me, I came to a stop & the officer asked me if I had seen a young boy out here on the highway.  I turned, pointed to my son & said "that one?"  Ahhh, yes, that one!  So it turns out that someone had called in & reported a young boy riding his bike out on the highway.  While there was no indication of him doing anything wrong (being reckless or what not) there was just some concern, so the officer was sent out to check on the situation.  I clarified that it was my son & that he was accompanying me on my run.  Again, I was assured that nothing wrong had been done, just a call to report the situation.  The officer said there was no mention of me being out here with him.  It's possible when the person called & reported this it was at a time when John had ridden ahead of me.  Again, I always had John in my line of sight, but there were a few times where he got a bit ahead of me & down the road a bit.

We stood there on the highway.  I answered all the officers questions.  In addition to explaining what we were doing he was asking my full name, date of birth, etc.  Then he needed John's full information.  I could tell he was gathering information for his report.  He looked like he believed me, but also gave my son a few look overs & asked him some questions.  I reassured him several times that despite his small size he was in fact 12 years old.  I'm not sure what age is ok to take allow your son to ride out on the highway.  I would never allow him to do that alone, but with me I didn't even think twice about it.  Anyway, I gave the officer what he needed, but was also was pacing a little, while adding a few awkward chuckles of  "yeah....just out for a run officer, you know, your standard 4th of July fun.  ha. ha. he.  heeee."  I really wanted to get my run done, but wanted to comply with the situation.
I was too chicken to ask the officer if I could take his picture.  Of course, the whole time I'm thinking....oh, I CAN'T WAIT to blog bout this!  The officer seemed very nice, but I just didn't want to push my luck with being all social media about it.  So I non-nonchalantly messed with my phone, trying to time the clicking sound my phone makes when taking a picture with his talking on the radio hoping he wouldn't notice what I was doing.

After a few minutes he released me & said I could continue on.  I thanked him for his time & doing his job.  In some ways I guess it's nice that people are concerned.  I guess to the average person it might seem odd to see a boy out doing this.  We did take an informal approach to his riding.  He doesn't make a legit racing bike, just his regular one from everyday use.  I didn't even think to have him put his helmet on.  (Don't be judging!!)  So, I can see where he didn't look like a boy training for a triathlon, but maybe a boy running away from home or having no parental supervision.  Again, his size makes him appear much younger than he is.  I , of course, see him as a kid who wants to ride, so why not let give him that opportunity.

We continued on, my end point was probably a mile away.  I told John to just ride ahead to my friend's house, I didn't need him anymore & I wanted him off the road before anyone else called in & reported him.  The first time the officer had approached me it was from the opposite direction so when he released me he kept going that direction.  After a few minutes the officer pulled up aside me, this time going the same direction as me.  He slowed again & yelled out his window asking me my middle initial.  Apparently he needed more information for his report & was calling it in.  This time I didn't stop running, but slowed to a shuffle.  I didn't want him to think I was eluding him or not wanting to stop & give him info.  But he at no time indicated for me to actually stop, he just drove next to me while I awkwardly shuffled along.  I finally told him that I was stopping at the next house & suggested he pull up there & wait for me & I'd be happy to finish up what he needed.  In my head I was just thinking: can this run just be over.  please!!!!  He then assured me that he had what he needed & drove off.

The whole time I see John riding ahead, getting closer to my friends house.  When the officer finally left my side he rode ahead, pulled up behind John & turned on his lights & finished escorting John to his end point.  All while I'm about .75 miles away from the house.  I'm like: really?  REALLY!?!?!?!  Can people not run & bike on the 4th of July without great concern.  I KNOW!  Weird that people would exercise like this.  And a child none the less.  What is this world coming to?!?!?!  Yeah, for a brief moment I was a crazed lunatic running down the road yelling these thing while waving my fist in the air.  It was all way too comical.  I was laughing hysterically at the craziness of it all while trying to run.  I was never so anxious to finish a run and suddenly the road seemed 100 times longer.  The more I wanted to get to my end point the longer it seemed to take.

It's kind of hard to see, but here I was at the end.  John is talking to the officer in the squad car.  I approached the officer again.  I thanked him for his time.  I know he was just doing his job, following up on what was called in out of concern.  He assured me we had done nothing wrong, but maybe next time not let my son get so far ahead of me.  To make it obvious that he was with me, an adult, in my care.  Or not ride on the highway (yes, he did say that to me) or at least not this highway, maybe a more off the beaten path highway.

Well, what are you going to do.  I had my run with a little red, white & blue.  Plus a new pair of shoes (need to blog about that too!).  It was a 4th of July run that I'm sure to never forget.

How was your 4th of July?  Did you race?  Or run?


  1. YIKES - that seems extreme for that police officer to stop you and then to end up following your son. You took it better than I would have - I think I would have gone off because it almost seems like harassment.
    Glad y'all made it safely to your end destination.

  2. Interesting run for you. I raced a 5K in a nearby town (Sully). Well organized race with a course that is probably one of the flattest I have run.
    Been following your posts. What a couple of days you have had. Prayers for you and family.