Friday, June 16, 2017

I Run This Town (Part 1: Weeks 1-4)


Have you ever wondered what was down the road never taken? Do you run the same routes every time you leave your house?   Did you ever say, “Hey, I never knew that was there!”  Well, my friend took the journey and ran every street in her city and I decided to do the same.  I wanted to discover landmarks, famous places, beautiful and obscure things in my own neighborhood. Some cool, some creepy and some that just confused me.   This was my journey, I planned to Run This Town.

Day 0: I picked up map from the city clerk’s office, cost $4.  I ordered a set of assorted colored highlighters from Amazon, cost $7.  I decided that different colors would be assigned for certain reasons.  Pink would be for if Kirby or Zuzu (my dogs) ran with me.  Blue would be used if a friend joined me.  Green would be for if I ran alone.  Large round dots with a black sharpie would indicate a loose dog that approached me.  More on that later, but thankfully I also bought a can of pepper spray, cost $20.

I called the department of public works to determine how many miles of roads were in my town.  They told me about 300 miles.  I guessed I needed to exclude the highway section as I was not sure if pedestrian traffic was allowed, and if it was, did I want to run on the highway?  Probably not.  But I’m not saying no yet.  I told my husband what I planned to do, he didn’t even bat an eye.  Guess he has become used to my nonsense by now. 

Week 1: May 20-26, 2017:

I ran a section of the Paint Creek Trail with my buddy Jeff.  Technically it’s not a road, but it’s on the map and I love running here.  I told Jeff about my plans and he didn’t seem shocked.  Guess he knows me well.  

Another day,  I parked my car in a subdivision and headed out on my run.  I came back to find the sheriff’s department investigating my “suspicious” vehicle.  I told the deputy that I had been out running.  He asked how long my car had been parked there, I glanced at my Garmin watch and it read an hour and five minutes.  He rolled his eyes and went out to look for real criminals.

I realized that this project may take longer than I anticipated.  At first I thought I could do it this summer.  But there are a lot of dead end streets, which means running that street twice.  There are many subdivisions that you can’t run with out repeating several blocks over the duration.  I try to plot my runs on the computer with the site to make my run as efficient as possible. 

I ran a few days with my dogs.  Kirby was frightened of a trash can in the street.  The dogs seem unsure of why we are running different routes, they keep bumping into me or trying to turn the wrong direction.  They are creatures of habit after all.  Until now we have always run the same routes and they knew exactly where to turn.  

Week 1 Stats:
24.18 miles (this is my total miles logged in the city, miles elsewhere don’t count.)
Interesting objects encountered: A turtle, red bellied woodpecker, and the largest Beeb Oak in America.  Also found a quarter and a cool orange milk crate that I brought home for my husband.  Found four Free Little Libraries.  
Contacts with police = 1
Contacts with loose dogs that approached me = 2

Week 2: May 27-June 2, 2017:

I ran a few miles with each of my dogs on Saturday.  Zuzu and I were approached by a small dog came across the street to us.  The owner came and got it and apologized.

Another day,  I ran Kirby about 6 miles.  She did great.  A large dog ran across the street to us, while the owner yelled that he was friendly.  Everything turned out ok, no harm.  I’m already getting frustrated about these loose dogs.  For the record, my dogs are always on a leash when I run.  

The next day my heart was broken.  As I ran Zuzu not even ten blocks from my house two loose dogs charged us from three yards away.  They were not friendly and attacked Zuzu from both sides.  I pulled out my pepper spray and hosed them down with it.  The spray was enough to subdue them until their owner came to get them.  A neighbor heard my screams and came to help me.  I called the sheriff’s department to take a report.  My dog had been bit several times on both sides.  She wound up seeing the emergency vets in surgery twice over this incident, resulting in $1,200 in vet bills.  I can only count my lucky stars that the owner of the dogs was as horrified as I was and he gladly paid my vet bills (and the ticket issued by the animal control officer.)  

The rest of the week I was a mess, as I ran I jumped at the slightest sound of a dog barking.  I didn’t sleep for several days and I worried about my Zuzu girl and her recovery. 

Week 2 Stats:
25.28 miles
Contacts with police/animal control officer = 2
Contacts with loose dogs = 2

Week 3:  June 3-June 9, 2017

I went to Boulder, Colorado this weekend for the Skirt Sports 13’er (half marathon.)  I talked about my “I Run This Town Project” with several friends.   Some of them got inspired by this challenge and have decided to join me and do the same thing in their towns all over the country.  I created a Facebook group where we can discuss our adventures.  We now have Fifteen people that are doing this project and many more considering it.  It has turned into a daily source of inspiration for me.

I ran some industrial areas near my home, nothing much of interest.  Another day, my husband rode his bike as I ran and we encountered another loose dog.  This one stayed in his yard but man, he was mean.  I’ll come back another day and get this street completed.

I decided to take preventive measures and ordered this placard for my car.  Hopefully it helps make me look less suspicious.  

I later stopped by the Sheriff’s Department and briefed my friend (who is a detective) of my plans.  I gave him my license plate number and car description, hoping to avoid the deputies being called out on my highly suspicious vehicle. 

Another day, Kirby found the sprinklers on in the Walgreens lot.  She played like a child in them.  What is not to love about this.  I could have watched her play all day.  

My friend Argenta saw my I Run This Town project post and came to run some with me.  We covered about 9 miles of subdivisions.  There was a lot of dead end streets. She didn’t mind and I was happy to have some company.   

It’s only three weeks in and I can’t run anything from my house without repeating at least the first and last mile.  I’m starting to consider driving to areas to run them.  

I had go to run an errand, so I ran three miles nearby my destination.  I discovered a community garden.  I also saw three sheriff department cars go by.  They all waved at me.  I wonder if my memo was shown at their roll call and now they know who I am.  

Zuzu is recovering well.  She is walking a little bit but won’t be joining me on a run for a few more weeks.

Week 3 Stats:
20.73 miles 
Contacts with loose dogs = 1
Contacts with police (but this was self initiated) = 1

Week 4: June 10-June 16, 2017

Instead of chipping off streets, I went to a neighboring city and ran 11 miles of trails with my buddy Jeff.  None of these trails are in my city.  So it was all just for fun, they didn’t count towards my weekly mileage.

The weather has been humid and the temps into the 90’s most days this week.  Tough to get out there. I walk the dogs a mile most days before my runs, but they can’t come with me, it’s just too hot and humid.

I did two miles in an industrial park just to mark a few streets off the map.  I wonder what most of those businesses are as their names really don’t explain much.  I’m guessing most are manufacturing plants but I did see one called Grit Obstacle Courses.  That sounded interesting.  

I’m closing in on one month of the I Run This Town Project.   My husband came out with me.  He dropped me off at the dead end of the street I could not pass last week because of the loose dog.  I ran along side the car as he drove so I could complete this street.   Why do we have to be afraid of loose dogs in our own towns?  I’m even more skeptical now since the attack, than I ever was.  We got through this second time without incident.  The dog just watched us go by.  Later, I ran another 5 miles in a different subdivision.  People still look at me funny if I park my car in front of their house,  They seem afraid to say hello while I run by. It’s like reply with the word say the word “Hello” and I can hear the question mark behind their voice.  Guess a lot of people are skeptics.

I decided I’d post blogs about this in about four week increments.  Today is the last day of the first segment.  I had an interesting run.  I saw a man that looked like Santa Clause in a yard that looked like Sanford and Sons.  I found a Free Little Library and brought a book home.  Another loose dog chased me, it was just an ankle biter and I wasn’t afraid.  I worry more when I have my dogs with me.  Then I was heckled a bunch of kid on a school bus.  I was waiting to cross the street and they were stopped at the stoplight.  I just pretended not to hear them, but the smart mouths on kids these days amaze me.  I’ll sound like I’m a hundred years old but “in my day” the bus driver would have brought the vehicle to a screeching halt and gave us a good smack for acting like a fool. 

My map shows I have three square miles completed and parts of other sections done.  It will be interesting to see how the next month goes.  

Week 4 Stats:
11.79 = miles
Contacts with loose dogs = 1
Police contacts (finally!) = 0
Total miles this month: 81.98 miles


  1. I love it! You're making me think I might want to blog about it, too!

    1. Thanks! You should write a blog about your adventure!

  2. I've also been playing in sprinklers on my runs lately. ;)
    Running the city sounds like a really neat idea. I'll have to mull this over...perhaps I can trick my tribe into agreeing to this. ;)

    1. Yeah! Come join the fun. I'll add you into the FB group, so you can see what we are up to. Thanks!

  3. this is such a fun idea! I a my have to try it

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