Ramblings of a Tampa engineer

Wednesday after work I arrive home - knowing I failed to workout in the morning before work - it's time to go on a run after work. I'm getting bored of the same route I take so I decide this time to do a giant loop around where I live.

While anyone with a bit of research could quickly find where I live - I'm not going to link the exact route I took as I left from my house. Once I left my neighborhood this was the route I ended up taking in a large loop.

my running loop around neighborhood

This run started off like any run on the sidewalk - each time you intersect with a business, parking lot, stoplight, gas station or anything you put yourself in danger. Drivers consistently just seem to be no longer looking both ways before crossing a sidewalk intersection.

This time at the place I least expected a car pulled into my path moments from colliding with me. I saw the few cars in the turn line - it appeared they saw me. I wasn't crossing a road but just running across the gas station.

purple (me), black (car)

A wonderful attempt to draw the situation at hand as I run on the purple line. A car I presume is in line for the right hand turn is actually turning into the gas station. My stride changes as I notice impact is near if I continue my pace. This is unfortunately common when running on the sidewalk/streets.

I continue my run as I start hitting this curve - I'm running on this huge beautiful large sidewalk that is parallel with Morris Bridge Rd, which is also parallel with the major I-75 interstate. This sidewalk could hold two golf carts next to each other and is so calm compared to the sidewalk on the side of Fowler road.

red dots (right side) - running trail

Just to show what I mean - I'm on this little access road sidewalk (red dots above) next to this huge bypass road & interstate. This is a perfectly paved asphalt sidewalk hidden away on this bypass road and the calmest part of my run. Just me, my racing heart and Spotify's weekly music in my ears.

As I come out of the long corner I'm now reaching East Fletcher Ave and I hit my first predicament and thus mistake.

purple (me)

I'm keeping the pace instructed (8:30/mile) and I realize there is no sidewalk on my side of the road. However, traffic is flying by with post work traffic and I sadly do not wait for the chance to cross the road and run in the shoulder on the purple line above. If I stop during a run I find starting up again is the biggest challenge - I must keep going.

I don't think much about it as I figure I'll encounter a sidewalk at any moment. Of course as minutes pass I realize that might have been a mistake as no sidewalk appears ahead. About the time I see a break in the cars to run across the road to the sidewalk I notice a sidewalk starting ahead of me so I continue on.

A bit dangerous with cars next to me going 50+ mph, but the mistake was already made at that point.

purple (me)

I'm happy when a turn lane appears as I have more room to breath with cars no longer directly next to me. That turn lane turns into a sidewalk and I'm happy - back in safety. Having the advantage of a sky view while writing this post - I'm not sure how you are supposed to run on this road in general - the sidewalk is missing on both sides frequently.

Of course that quickly ends as I pass a different gas station and realize there is no longer a sidewalk on either side. My running path has just turned into grass and the shoulder on the road.

purple (me)

The ditch is slightly filled with standing water and running on an incline isn't happening so I'm back on the shoulder of the road running. I don't have to run long and this dirt trail (bridge) starts which is so interesting to run on. It feels like a real sidewalk is under this dirt, but years of missing maintenance has left the Earth to reclaim.

Eventually that dirt turns to sidewalk and I'm crossing the Hillsborough River on a firm concrete sidewalk. I feel upset again as I end the bridge and notice the sidewalk just appears to also abruptly end. It seems this area is just not meant for pedestrians at all, which is odd seeing how Lettuce Lake Park is under a mile away.

running from an ending sidewalk to shoulder

Tough to grab a photo from street view, but the sidewalk just ends into the drainage ditch. I'm at a fast enough pace that I'm not running on a grassy incline with my toe shoes as I would be bound to injure myself.

I'm back on the shoulder and minutes away from the reason I'm writing this post. A car approaching me drifts into the shoulder. It freaks me out and I abruptly run into the grass, but as I'm doing so the driver swerves back into their lane. It seems like an accident as perhaps someone was looking at their phone, but freaks me out regardless.

My heart is racing even faster now as I just was near flattened. At this point I'm debating just ending my run to walk slowly in the grass home.

My watch recorded an increase of heart rate from 170/bpm to 185/bpm from my heart rate monitor.

However, I continue on and not more than a minute later a black SUV car seems to intentionally rip into the shoulder spewing up all the garbage/grass lying dormant in what seems like an attempt to "scare" me or actually hit me. At this point I'm still wired from the last car encroaching the shoulder so I again veer into the grass, but throw my middle finger in the air as the car passes.

I look behind me to try and remember something about this black car and my body shivers up in warm weather. The car has switched lanes and is waiting to pull a presumed U turn at the intersection above.

My heart rate is now topping out at 193/bpm as spotting the car presumed to be turning around.

I'm now really nervous - is this car coming back because I flipped them off? I still have no sidewalk, but this time the security/gated neighborhood of Carlton Arms is approaching. I run into this complex with my headphones on as this security guard and I make eye contact - I can't tell if she is trying to talk to me or what.

I ignore it and get out of vision of the road and now decide to end my run. I'm now walking in this parking lot of this complex keeping my eye on the entrance. The car that appeared to intentionally try and hit me is no where to be seen. I get to the back corner of the complex and hoping to just squeeze out of this area into the neighborhood behind - I'll just maneuver my way home from there.

fence with extensions on - covering entire property

I'm caught in this complex - there is no gaps in this fence and its full of vertical extensions to deter jumping it. I might be able to squeeze a jump off the posts, but I have a bad back - I'm not messing with that.

At this point since I'm walking around nearly 10 minutes has passed and I'm back in sight with the security guard/entrance. This guard clearly has spotted me and is trying to talk to me. I can't tell if for good or bad reasons due to my music, so I decide to start up a run again and escape out of that complex - waving as I pass. Another mistake I probably made looking back at it, but I was exhausted on a run and processing the recent events in my head.

I glanced ahead and saw a sidewalk - I finally was on a sidewalk I knew would take me all the way home. I just wasn't running it this time - my run was over and I walked home.

As I look back at this event clearly I messed up a few times. Running in Florida after work without a sidewalk is an extremely dumb thing to do. However, I just can't really figure out the intent of the black car - was this seriously intentional to hit a runner?

It seems the early morning runs are much more calm. I guess I learned I'll have to stick to my sometimes boring park runs and rant how bad Temple Terrace Fletcher road is for pedestrians in the meantime.

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