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Scree - January 23, 2011

texting while walking

Text Walking

Yesterday while running with good dog Jake, we encountered a woman walking down an icy section of sidewalk. She was smiling. Not at us running toward her; but at her iPhone she held it in her outstretched hand.

I "ahemed" at her.

She didn't look up.

I "coughed" at her.

She still didn't look up.

She was walking in the middle of the side walk and I was calculating our collision course when as a last ditch effort I said, "excuse us!" very loudly.

Startled, she looked up, slipped, and almost fell due to the icy surface.

We passed easily.

Earlier this week I saw the viral video of the woman texting while walking in the mall and falling into the fountain and then a story of texting in stormy weather while navigating busy city streets - I was not going to let her collide with us; but what is the deal?

What could someone be texting that was so important that you had to answer while you are exercising? A few weeks ago we even saw someone texting while they were running! I am not nearly so coordinated to try such stunts; but there is more. My exercise time is a time for me to think and be away from my work. I don't want to be in touch. I don't want to answer a call or send a message. I want to exercise my body and my mind.

Try it. Put the phone down and exercise without being in touch. The calls and text can be answered when you return. Also, try leaving the mp3 player on the desk. It is easier to think without the distraction. You will be more aware of your surroundings and thoughts. You will also be more alert and might not have a near-miss collision with an old man and his faithful dog.

More Trail Runners, More Bears

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's grizzly bear recovery coordinator said trail runners are coming up on photographers as the backcountry group most likely to get badly hurt in an animal encounter."

(Billings Gazette)

Years ago a friend of mine was running a circuit in the Tetons. He wore a bell to jingle away at all of the bears along the way. The runner did not want to startle a bear. On his run several hikers made fun of his efforts; but my friend understood the importance of communicating with the bears. He did not see one bear on the 30 plus mile loop. I wondered how many bears saw him.

With more and more runners hitting the trails more encounters with wildlife are inevitable. Unlike the photographer, not many runners want to see a bear or a mountain lion on their runs. To avoid contact: try not to run in the early morning or late afternoon, make sure the bear knows you are coming (jingle all the way), and use your senses (eyes, ears, and smell) to warn you of their presences. It is a good idea to avoid texting or earphones while you are running. A collision with a bear could be more painful than with an old man running with his dog. Be safe and aware of your surroundings.