Do you ever have an experience that you want to write a post about, and you know somewhere in it there’s a point, but you’re not exactly sure what it is?
Well that’s this post, so bear with me while I go on a bit of a ramble in hopes of finding my point!
A couple of weekends ago Jason and I went for a long run on our local bike path. We’re fortunate to have a few great paths near us to run on and we take advantage of them (and the beautiful scenery!) often.
I wasn’t having a particularly good run this day (in fact it was downright brutal), my legs were heavy and tired and each step was a struggle, I was cranky from the start.
As we ran down the path my mood only got worse as I looked around and saw all the trash everywhere! Seriously, it was like the snow started to melt and instead of spring flowers out popped a layer of trash! Not only was it gross (I mean who litters?!?), but it just made me MAD.
The entire run my thoughts alternated between frustration over my sluggish legs and being furious over the trash covered path.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it even after we got home and there was a part of me that dreaded my next run there because of how upset and sad it made me to see it like that.
Then I had another thought…instead of letting it make me mad, why not just pick it up?
So, armed with rubber gloves at our next run club, I ran 5 miles (2.5 out and back) and picked up 2 full bags of trash.
Now I DO know what the point of this post is NOT.
It is NOT: look at this lovely good deed I did, aren’t I wonderful!
Because if I’m being honest, I was picking up the trash mostly for myself, I seriously did not want to have to look at it on my next run! (See, not a good deed, totally selfish! Anyone remember the Friends episode about there not being such a thing as a selfless good deed?!)
Several of my fellow run-clubbers asked why I was doing it and pointed out that surely once all the snow melted the town would send someone to clean up!
And I agreed, I’m sure they would send someone to pick it up. Eventually.
But in the meantime, why not me?
Why don’t I throw on some gloves and be the crazy person picking up trash on a run?
(I often go for walks on the beach and come back with handfuls of trash too – it just makes me nuts!)
For all I know, not a single other person who uses that path (and it is a very busy path!) noticed that it was a little cleaner, but I don’t really care. I didn’t do it for anyone else, I did it because running should be a relaxing escape and getting myself all worked up over litter was certainly not very relaxing.
So forgive my rambling, but I think my point is that often we see things that need to be done and think “someone else will do it” – and they may.
But I wanted to share this story, like I said, not for a pat on the back, but because maybe just by sharing this story someone else will be on a run, see some trash (or a stray cart in the parking lot at the grocery store…) and wonder when someone is going to pick it up and then stop and think, “why not me?”.
Good for you Danielle! That drives me crazy to no end as well. I’ve already told my daughter’s that we’re going to start our walks around the neighborhood doing the same thing. It’s our neighborhood, if not our trash, and we want it to look nice. I definitely think there’s a teaching moment when young children are involved too! ; ) Litterers are gonna litter, litter, litter… (ok, that doesn’t sound as good as the one syllable words Taylor uses! haha).
So great that you’re using a similar situation as a teaching moment for your kids, it’s so important! One of the reasons it bothers me the most that I didn’t even mention in this post is the animals! These poor animals are coming out after a winter of FREEZING and probably starving and they’re willing to eat anything! It makes me so sad : (
Thank you for passing this important lesson on to your kids though!
Seeing gu packs on the trails makes me like the hulk. I hate those people with a fiery passion so hot that rivals the burning fires of hell. WE’RE RUNNERS, IT’S OUR PATH, CLEAN UP YOUR CRAP.
Ugh, me too. When I see empty liquor bottles or fast food wrappers I know it’s stupid teenagers, but when you see Gu packets and stuff you know it’s other runners and that makes me even sadder/ madder!
I won’t even throw a cup on the ground during a race when there are people right there to clean it up! I will hold that sucker until I get to a trash can! I hate people…
On the plus side when the snow melted, you had trash, I had a block full of dog sh*t kept in tact from being frozen that NO ONE picked up. It was nauseating and angering at the same time. Did I mention I hate people? Well, not you…you’re not included in people because you’re awesome! Go you! (Yes, I read the part where this was not the point of the post but I’m saying it anyway so deal with it)
Oh my goodness, YES! One of the other paths we ran on had dog shit (pardon the language) all over it! I’m sorry, but that I am not willing to pick up.
I don’t get how people can litter. Apparently its a huge thing in NY when the snow melts how much litter is around. Just another reason you had to move, eh? lol at least you can help pick it up in your new home! Also, I think you would appreciate this video.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbs6eMxa5ds
Ugh, that is EXACTLY what I would like to do to people when I see them throw trash out of their car!
I absolutely can’t stand litter either, but luckily I have not encountered anything so gross as what you describe. Hopefully next winter people will be a little more courteous with their trash. Pockets work great until you get to a receptacle.
I think it’s worse because we have all the snow people think they can “hide” litter in and then the snow melts and it’s just everywhere!
We have running trails too and while people are good at not littering, they’re not good at picking up after their dogs. Despite the signs all over the trailers to pick up the doo-doo. There are trash bins so no excuses.
That was a problem on another path near us, it made me mad too but that I’m not willing to go back and pick up!
Great deed!!!! I applaud you. Can you come to New York City and help me clean the trash lol. Check out instagram.com/2xcombatvet
I post so much trash it’s crazy. All from new York city.
I have to be honest, the pictures of trash all over the sidewalks and streets is one of the reasons that I disliked NYC so much – I feel like you don’t go to any other city and see it like that! It’s terrible.
Yes. I agree. I’ve never seen anything like it also. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel around. A lot of people that live in new york never leave new york so they think everything is normal
God bless you. I keep wanting to do this where I run.
Go for it! A pair of rubber gloves and a trash bag are all you need (and the ability to not care if people think you’re nuts! : )
I think this is a great post. I see this kind of thing all the time…and, I’m not gonna lie, I look at it in disgust but then just go on with my run, assuming someone else will come and pick it up. But you’re totally right. Why not us, right?! Especially since we’re the ones out there enjoying what are supposed to be lovely and scenic parks, paths, etc. It just sucks that people throw their crap everywhere in the first place!
I agree, it makes me so mad that it’s 2015 and people don’t understand to NOT LITTER!
Just read this article and thought back to this post you wrote…figured I’d share!