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February 14 2013 / Emily

BIR2: Running Incognito

It is Valentine’s Day, so I bought myself some jewelry.  A custom bracelet!  A Road ID.

BIR #2: Running alone without identification or accountability.

Welcome back to Bad Idea Runner, my blog feature where I try to help you learn from my mistakes.

I live alone and often run alone.  My cat is the only living thing that would miss me if I didn’t come home, sometimes for days if it was a weekend run (and let’s be honest, he wouldn’t miss me until his food bowl was empty).  Lately I’ve been coping with a case of paranoia; imagining getting kidnapped, mugged, or hit by a car when I’m out running in the dark.  Frankly, there is a part of me that feels the only thing a Road ID would do is give my abductor a list of people to demand ransom from, but I’ll try to be more realistic and positive… if thinking of getting hurt to a point where I couldn’t identify myself is positive.  There is always the chance of getting injured, whether hit by a car or falling on ice, mud, roots, or bumpy sidewalks.  Run about in the dark for hours and I’m bound to take a spill one day.

I’m very hopeful that I’ll never need to use the Road ID at all, but it is something I have been meaning to get  for years.  Finally decided today was the day.  A couple weeks ago, I got an email for 10% off, and the Road ID coupon code expires on 02/18/13.  If you’d like to use it before then, it is pcVDay13.  I saved $2.15, so not a huge savings but I’ll take it!

Months ago, a local sporting goods shop, Omega Sports, had assorted Road IDs on display for sizing purposes.  I tried on the various styles and sizes and decided to get the Wrist ID Sport, a bracelet of nylon webbing with velcro closure.  They also make the Wrist ID Elite, with silicone band and metal closure; the Wrist ID Slim which is a LiveStrong-type silicone band that just slips over the hand; and assorted other options such as ankle ID, dog tags and more.

While the webbing might take on more sweat than the silicone types, I didn’t want the metal closure of the Elite, nor the potential bouncing around of the non-fitted Slim.  I’ll probably wear it on my right wrist, whereas I wear my watch or Garmin on my left wrist.

I thought I remembered trying on a size small version at the store, but I checked their online suggestion of wrapping a dollar bill around your wrist to indicate size.  Since mine is less than a quarter inch gap, I am indeed a small wrist.  I chose the color black since green wasn’t an option, and red, yellow, purple, pink, and blue were not calling to me.

dolla dolla bill

dolla dolla bill

As for the remainder of the order, the actual ID part, I’ll share an (edited) photo when it arrives.  You have up to six lines of text with up to 24 characters per line.  They suggest name on the top line, location on the second, 2-3 lines of emergency contacts and 1-2 lines of medical information and/or motivational phrases.

I put:Full Name
City, State
Parents ###
Sister ###
Friend ###
Just Keep Running

One thing that bothered me was the character limit per line.  I wanted to put my sister’s name and “sister,” as well as my friend’s name and “friend” or “local,” but there was not enough space.  I decided to write their given names and leave the descriptor off, though I did literally write “Parents” for that line.

I thought about putting this blog name instead of “Just Keep Running” but then I realized that hopefully nobody will ever look at this bracelet.  If someone besides me is reading it, I don’t need to be sending them to my blog, more likely they need to be sending me to the hospital.  A little motivational mantra seemed the right ticket as I’ll surely catch glimpses of this bracelet whilst wearing it.

Anyway, so in a week or so I’ll have my new Road ID.  This certainly doesn’t mean I’m going to start running in dangerous places or anything, but I hope it will give me some peace of mind once I start wearing it.

As for the Bad Idea Runner lesson part of this, I just suggest that you consider carrying some form of identification with you while you run (or walk, bike, hike, etc).  Maybe a cell phone, your license, implanted microchip (hey, my cat has one), or something.  And/or tell someone when you are going out and when you expect to return.  I thankfully haven’t had any bad runs without this, but I should have been safer all along.

And a heads up that this is not a sponsored post; I am not getting any compensation.  I’ve heard good things about this product and wanted to try it.  Just wanting to share my findings with you all!  I will follow up with a review once I’ve had it for some time.



Leave a Comment
  1. hinsone / Feb 14 2013 7:59 PM

    That fits in the category for me as “Hey I need one of those….” and then never get one. Need to get around to doing that.

    • Emily / Feb 15 2013 3:32 PM

      I know the feeling – that was definitely me for years. well you can use that coupon code if you order in the next few days!

  2. Darrel Wells / Feb 15 2013 8:16 AM

    Great idea, Emily. I’ve had the same version you ordered for a year or two, and my wife has the shoe I.D. You WILL want to rinse the strap after runs once the humidity returns.

    Alternatively, a cycling friend wrote on his helmet, “Here lies Steve E****; call xxx-xxxx”!

    • Emily / Feb 15 2013 3:33 PM

      I’ll have to remember to do that when the warm weather returns. Usually I fling off my running gear around my front hall as soon as I get in the door, so I’ll have to bring the Road ID to the sink! Funny about the bike helmet – hopefully nobody ever needs to call that number for him.

  3. spottedimages / Feb 15 2013 9:02 AM

    Got one! Have gotten so used to putting it on as part of my pre-run routine that when I forget to do it’s all I think about… what if I get run over? You will be happy you have one. My kick in the pants to finally buy mine was helping a guy who was hit by a car on his bike. He was ok, but as we started to talk he pointed to his Road ID. Yup, I ordered mine that night.

    • Emily / Feb 15 2013 3:36 PM

      thanks for the comment!

      Great – guess my paranoia won’t be totally put at ease from this. Hope I don’t forget to wear it too often. So glad the cyclist you saw was okay – I agree that would be the kick in the pants I needed.

  4. laurenquartz / Feb 15 2013 10:52 AM

    Glad you got one, Em. 🙂 Thanks for encouraging all of us to do so as well. Looking forward to see what it looks like! (and hopefully never receiving a call…)

    • Emily / Feb 15 2013 3:36 PM

      Ha, I did mean to email you to say it had officially been done. Thanks “friend” (officially!).

  5. runninginnj / Feb 15 2013 1:42 PM

    I’ve had one for several years – I started wearing it cycling (because the chance of being in accident is probably higher than when out running). I wear it all the time running, and I’m actually thinking about getting the Elite for general use (when I go to the office in Manhattan I cycle on Manhattan streets for example). Even if you carry ID etc. there’s no guarantee it wouldn’t end up somewhere away from you if something were to happen, so it seems like a good idea.

    • Emily / Feb 15 2013 3:40 PM

      agree that cycling is riskier than running, especially in terms of the potential of getting hit by a car. Glad you’re being safe out there! Having something on your body when bike commuting certainly seems like a good idea. A bag or wallet could go flying. Here’s hoping none of us ever have that problem though.

  6. SgtHarp / Feb 16 2013 10:25 AM

    Glad you followed through. I taken a couple of spills on ice and wet leaves — though with limited damage. Still, I don’t think this would work for me: My family has a no-return policy. 😉

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