Thursday, March 28, 2013

Running The Streets of Dahlonega

When running around Dahlonega there are some things to keep into consideration. Of course, some of my suggestions can apply anywhere, but some are more specific to our small town.

1. “Sorry, I Didn't See You There”
Coming through Dahlonega I usually run from Hancock Park to the crosswalk at the Fudge Factory. I make an honest effort to slow down before hitting the crosswalk, since it is kind of hard to see anybody from that direction, let alone a runner. Even with the most caution I have found myself in the uncomfortable situation of waiting and wondering if that van is going to hit me. Sure enough, as I am halfway though the crosswalk the van cruises by and I hear the driver say, “Yeahhh sorry I didn't see you there.” and drive off. Never expect people to stop for you. I have friends that have been hit by cars, and you can too.

2. To The Left, To The Left
When running on the road try to always run on the left side of the road, facing traffic. When possible, run on a sidewalk. Exceptions to this rule are:

a. There are people on the sidewalk.
In this case, make sure you can safely enter the street and go around them. You should be running on the sidewalk that is next to the left side of the road, so you can safely enter the oncoming traffic. Regardless, look over your shoulder when entering the road.
b. You are running up a hill
If you are running up a hill and can see a tenth of a mile behind you and you can't see what is coming over the top of the hill, it may be safer to switch to the right side of the road until you reach the top of the hill. Once you are at the top of the hill and it is safe to cross, move back to the left side of the road.
c. You are running Lake Zwerner in a clockwise direction
If this is the case, I see no point in crossing the road just to immediately cross back again. I believe there is also more room on the part of the bridge facing the lake than on the other side. For bonus points do 5 mile out-and-backs and avoid this problem all together.

3. Closed
A few days ago around 8 PM I decided to run at the park and do some loops. Around mile 9 the lights started going out and a man from a car yelled, “Hey! I'm lockin' the gate.” I was able to finish my 10 miles, but it was frustrating having to leave the park when the man tells you to. It's better to just avoid the park at late hours and run other places. The drill field at the college seems to always be open and welcoming to late-night runners.

4. Well, That's Odd...
Ever wanted to try out those new shoes that look a little funky? Well you can, but the people of Dahlonega will glare at you. See, Dahlonega isn't one of those hip suburbs where the current trends are booming. Nope. In Dahlonega, people keep it simple. That is not meant to be taken as an insult to Dahlonega or it's residents, it's just something I have noticed. I got a ton of odd looks running in Vibram Five Fingers and even more running barefoot.. Just wait until I break out my Huarache sandals and sport kilt!

5. “Hi”, “Hello”, or “Hola”
Something that tends to bother me more than it should is when people don't say “hi” back. For example, I am running along at Yahoola Park and see a woman walking with her dog. As I run by I say, “hey there”. You would expect someone to say something back in this situation. Unfortunately, I mostly get the stupid look and pass by. The stupid look you ask? This is the same look you would get from someone if you walked up to them and asked, “Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like? Why the look? I believe I am saying “hi” too late. Think about it, you have an extremely charming, sexy, and almost barefoot spectacle running at you. Are your dreams coming true? Yes, yes they are! Then he says “hi”. You struggle to find the right words. I am looking at you, your dog is looking at you, you make a face like you want to speak, then it is too late. Prince charming is gone and then you realize the appropriate response. In conclusion, say “hi” about 10 to 15 feet before passing the person. You might get more normal responses.

6. Don't Be A Creeper Around Lake Zwerner.
Story time. One time I was running an out-and-back at Lake Zwerner. I was doing a pretty comfortable, but quick, pace. As I came around a turn I saw two college girls walking in the same direction as I was. They were talking and carrying on. As I got closer they didn't seem to want to move. No acknowledgments what-so-ever. Finally, I got about 10 feet away from them. I tried the ol' clearing the the throat trick(usually they hear you and move). One of the girls let out a yell and ran into her friend. Apparently they hadn't heard me and heard my cough, scaring the bejesus out of them. I laughed and apologized. About 10 minutes later I had turned around and was heading toward them. I noticed the girls through the trees and heard them talking. “They gotta see me coming”, I thought. I turned the corner(I say I turned, they say I popped out) and heard a yell. At this point I didn't know what to say, so I awkwardly said “Uh... Sorry I keep scaring you?” and ran off into the distance. Most people are a little more observant than these girls, but when coming up on people maybe try to clap your hands from a distance? I really haven't found a solution to this one yet.

I hope these tips help you navigate around Dahlonega a little easier. As Jenny would say, "…if you're ever in trouble, don't be brave. You just run, OK? Just run away.”


  1. "Behind You!" Or "On Your Left!" Works For Me!

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