Thinking “UP!”

Watch Your Step

My standard routes are around the neighborhood streets of Seattle. There are beautiful homes, perfectly manicured yards, very few cars passing by, and wide open sidewalks. The only downfall, these are special sidewalks.

Two years ago, I moved to Seattle and had to discover new routes. I trekked up and down the surrounding neighborhoods to find the best combination of sidewalks and roads to fill my training runs. Now I know the secrets; which roads to run when it rains, which roads to run in the dark, and which roads are the best for seeing the sun set or rise. Every now and again I will turn down a new block, just to mix it up, but always with the same mantra, think “up”!

I have had too many “whoops” encounters on new city sidewalks and found that repeating the word “Up” to myself keeps me aware of my footing. Years of running has helped me develop consistent form, and distance running has me in the habit of doing as little motion as possible while still moving forward to preserve energy for later miles. These habits result in a shallow lifting of my leg while stepping forward and, on occasion, can result in pretty intense tripping.

Yesterday was one of those days I chose to try a new street out. I galloped along, looking at all the cool houses and yards that surrounded me, but forgot to think “up”. About 3 blocks in, down I went. My foot caught one of the crinkles in the pavement, putting me face first on the sidewalk.

Slightly embarrassed and a little annoyed I got up to assess the damage. It was not too bad as I only really scrapped up my left hand and had minor scratches on my thigh, other hand, and knee; completely avoiding facial injuries. My plan was to get in 6 miles and then head home but the more I moved the more my hand throbbed, so I cut my run short to care for my wounds.

The word “up” reminds me to lift my feet to avoid tripping. I have acquired many different injuries from these Seattle sidewalks including broken toe nails and skinned up body parts. My one take away is to remember to be aware of the surrounding (including the terrain) because there is nothing worse than limping along with half a toe nail after fall caused by “pretty flowers”. Stay safe runners!


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