...that's always the question I ask myself when I go out for long runs. On the normal days when I do shorter distance, I head out there with my Garmin and what I'm wearing.
These days, for those long runs on hot days, I'm packing my CamelBak hydration pack. It straps around your waist and has room for lots of water, gels, keys, cash and a cellphone. I rarely bring my cellphone with me. Sometimes, I bring it just in case i'm expecting a call or if I feel like taking a picture along the route...
Today, as I was heading out, I also thought of safety. I had just read the August issue of Runners World (by the way, as a journalist and as a runner, I have to say it's one of the best mags out there for content, engaging material and well-written stories). It was about a kid who died of heatstroke while going out for a hard run on the hottest day of the year. He went alone and collapsed, no one to spot him for hours. He died in hospital days later. Last year, the magazine talked about packing an ID card with you, even a business card, so if something happened to you, you would at least have something to speak for you if you couldn't.
That was in the back of my mind when I headed out this morning.
Around halfway through my run, a rollerblader passed me. I took note of him because he was really rollin', was barechested with a helmet and a Gatorade bottle. When I was about 3K from home, I spotted him again, speeding toward me.
Suddenly, he hit a rock, and started to lose control. On both sides of the path are two narrow strips of lawn, which on one side gives way to old railway tracks and, on the other, a fence. He went toward the fence and tried to run off into the lawn, but he had too much momentum and ended up grabbing the chainlinks to come to halt. He arm jerked, he spun and scraped his back on the fence.
I was standing 10 feet away. I quickly checked up on him. He wasn't bleeding, but his shouldr was dislocated. I helped him up and he thought about blading home, but I advised it probably wouldn't be a good idea. Meanwhile, a few cyclists and runners stream by, no one stops to ask or to help.
He was letting his arm go limp as he held it with his free hand. I called emergency and they sent off some paramedics. As we waited, I learned that he blades for 60K at a time and was probably going at about 30km/h when he went off the road. He had a Garmin 301 and I noticed it was ticking 1:30 (just about the same time I'd be running.). He dislocated his arm 15 years ago and we both talked about the bad accident involving a motorcycle just 300 metres down the road. We both remarked that we both saw it (and I wrote about it in last Sunday's blog.)
Anyways, the paramedics came in, he was bit sheepish and as he headed to sit down in the ambulance, he said, "thanks Ken, I'd shake your hand..." And I was on my way...
And it made my glad I brought my phone today...