Entries in health (62)


Pedestrians Only

Yesterday, I was involved in a cyclist's near death.

This may be slightly off topic for this blog, but as the blog doesn't really have a specific agenda or framework, you're stuck.

First, the story:

I'd waited until a little late in the 100-degree day to go for a run, so I opted for a four-mile path and a slow pace. I was about three miles in and on my way up the sidewalk of a very busy street here in Houston--a six-lane road with few stoplights and a speedy speed limit. Frankly, it's more of a surface highway than a street. The sidewalk along it connects some retail centers, gas stations, and a couple restaurants.

Trotting along in the quiet heat, I was startled to suddenly hear something crunching the sidewalk immediately behind me, coming up fast. I startled, emitting an alarmed "Oh!"

My flinch made the cyclist--the creature pouncing on me from behind--flinch. And when she did, she lost her balance and fell into the street.

Fortunately, it was a Sunday, road travel was light, and there was a gap in the traffic. A slight gap, but a life-saving gap. I jumped out into the street--you can never be sure people in cars see something flat on the road--and waved my arms to stop traffic until I could help her up and get her back with her bike onto the sidewalk.

She was okay, the bike was only a little dinged up, and another runner stopped to help us get the chain back on it.

It could have been so much worse.

I don't think cyclists in Houston realize that sidewalks are for pedestrians only. Or, if they do, they ignore the law. (Yes, it's a law: In other cities, these people would get tickets.) Cyclists regularly ride on sidewalks here in this huge city, and it's incredibly dangerous for them and for pedestrians when they do. Yesterday was a good example of why. Vehicles and pedestrians aren't supposed to mix on the same path.

The street we traveled on is a busy street. Maybe it's frightening for cyclists to ride bikes on it. If that's the case, then they have numerous other roads on either side of the main drag that they can use. Those are the roads I use when riding my bike. This is a city--there are many ways to get to any given place. Use the route that is safest to you.

And that route, cyclists? It's never the sidewalk.


Take a Walk

I can't be the only person who does her best thinking while moving, or makes her closest connections with other human beings while undertaking some sort of collective activity. I've had my best business ideas while out for an easy run. I've made some of my closest friends at the gym and in my running group.

Yet I sit on my tail end in chairs attending meetings and serving at desks most of the day. Or in the front seat of my car, while my tail end heads to new chairs in different locales. This is while I'm supposed to be thinking or bonding with people.

Even when people suggest meetings to "get me out of the office" to talk in a more relaxed fashion--a common tactic for people who want to network or to sell me things--we go to a restaurant, coffee shop, or bar.

More sitting.

I'm going to revolt. I'm tired of business lunches, coffees, and drinks. And I'm tired of sitting on my butt most of the day. When I need to have a meeting that doesn't require a white board or a computer--and, really, most don't--I'm going to suggest some sort of physical activity.

All the people--mainly men--who go golfing with clients and business partners? I'll take that as evidence that I'm not alone. Maybe we nongolfers just really don't know what else to do other than sit at a restaurant or in a coffee shop or in a bar, if we aren't in an office setting. Or even sit at an athletic event, where we continue to flatten our backsides while watching other people play.

Fortunately, I live in the fourth largest city in the United States, Houston, where there are plenty of interesting urban expanses and beautiful green places to walk--all in reasonable proximity. About a mile from my office, there are three walking/jogging trails. There are also countless gyms and athletic facilities, and most people I know belong to one of them. (Because even though there are many great places to be outdoors, the summer months in Houston can be unbearable in the afternoon.)

No excuses.

And no, nothing too strenuous will be required. I don't think well or have great conversations when I'm doing speedwork or when I'm on my third rep of a really heavy set of weights. I'm talking about taking a stroll, trying new equipment at the gym, or even giving putt-putt golf a try. (I'll pass on the real golf. Sorry, Dad.)

Of course, full disclosure: In my ideal world, I'd get to wear pajamas or athletic clothes at all times. So in a way, this will help bring me closer to my ideal world. Bonus.

Want to meet with me? Let's talk a walk. I'm almost always up for that.

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