This morning’s “long run routine” started out like any other. I woke up at 4:00 (barf, I know), heated up my oats, banana, almond and PB mixture and french pressed a cup-o-coffee. I was out the door and headed to the bike trail by 5:00am. It was still fairly dark out, as usual, so I sat in my car and caught up on blogs/Facebook. I noticed a truck pull up behind me, but thought nothing of it, as I’ve seen this person out on the trail a few times before with his dogs.
He gets out and starts stretching at the start of the trail, and I continue reading. It is still pretty dark out, plus, I wanted him to get pretty far ahead before I took off so that he didn’t see how slow I am! All of a sudden, there is a knock on my window. The man is standing there. My heart is racing like you wouldn’t believe, and I did not know what to do. I didn’t want to open the window, but I couldn’t just drive off. I barely crack the window, just enough so he could say something. He asks if I’m there to “meet up with Tony”. Unfortunately, I only say “no, I’m not” instead of what I should have said: “nope, but I’m meeting up with my huge, tough, badass boyfriend/brother/friend/dog/etc”. He says “oh, ok” and jogs off.
Now I know what you’re thinking, probably harmless…but the fact that a) it’s not even light out yet b) I tend to over analyze EVERYTHING and c) this guy knows my route, where I turn around and now that I’m not meeting up with anyone really put an uneasy feeling in me. I toyed with the idea of still doing the run, but after I realized I didn’t have my bag that contained my pepper spray, I thought better of it. Something just didn’t feel right about the situation. I went with my gut.
I’m now angry, upset, disgusted and just all around annoyed with today’s situation. I tried to get my run in elsewhere, but I was just not feeling it. I run on the trail to feel safe. Safe from cars, safe from people, safe from stares, safe from comments…I’m out there with like-minded people, doing what I do. I don’t have to worry about men staring (either oogling or thinking that my arms jiggle too much for a tank, probably both lol). It just stinks that as a woman, I have to feel threatened by this. Like I said, it was probably completely harmless, but my gut just wasn’t feeling it.
Have you ever been in an uncomfortable situation like this? Tell me about it. What did you do in this situation?
Some tips I found online:
- “Plan ahead: Know exactly what route you’re taking before you head out. Evaluate it for potential danger spots (unpopulated or poor visibility areas), and have a plan of where you’ll go and what you’ll do if you run into trouble. Cavanagh recommends having “safe houses” along your route (places to go if you need help), and suggests that you play out possible scenarios in your head. Ask yourself: “What if this happened? How would I react?” This way, you’ll be ready if trouble comes.
- Use the buddy system: Visit the Road Runners Club of America’s Web site (rrca.org) for a clubful of potential training partners in your area. Or check into group training runs at local running stores. Dogs love exercise even more than we do, and they’re great at deterring criminals. Visit dogbreedinfo.com for suggestions on active breeds. (I LOVE this one, what a great idea for you and the pups!)
- Tell a friend: Your running partner can’t meet you for a run? Bummer, but you can still call. Call her (or someone) before you leave, tell her where you’re going, and what time you’ll be back. Check in with her again when you return. Have her do the same when she goes for her run.
Do you have any tips to keep yourself safe out there??? I want to hear them!
Was I overreacting? Should I have just sucked it up and run?
On another note, I’ve made the decision that I need to switch up my route/routine a bit. Since I do see this guy regularly, it got me to thinking…anyone could really observe me and have my routine down in two weeks flat. I don’t change it up much. I will now switch up routes/times/directions just to make my routine a little less “routine”! I think this is very important, and always have, but just never put it into place in my own life!
I have an exciting “Challenge” I’m going to be posting about SOON. Keep checking back for the details!