I had something happen yesterday on my run that has really got me thinking. While out for my run at a local park, I was on my 3rd lap around (it is a little over a mile around two connecting parks) two guys shows up along my path. Of course they both showed up in the most secluded part of the trail, the first one parked his truck just off the path and was standing outside his truck. The second guy came in to the park then turned around as I came around the corner and stopped his car right where the path crossed the road, so I would have no choice but to run right by his car (plenty of other places to park here). Needless to say I got a little freaked out and decided to turn around and get out of there ASAP. I promised myself no speed work this week because of my shin issues, but the need to get away was greater than the shins so I booked it. And went home to finish my run on the treadmill, so much for my nice sunny day run outside.
Some of you may remember a couple of years ago when out running in our gated community in south Florida how I got followed by a van at 5am. Ever since that day I have a very big fear while running. It took me a long time to even run in the dark after that happened. And even though I am still scared I WILL not let these people keep me from doing something I love. So I continue to run and just try and stay very aware of my surrounds and am always checking behind me and around corners and bushes. I run in the middle of the paths so I am farther away from possible hiding places and usually run with just one headphone in my ears so I can still hear what is going on. And when I see something that just does not seem right, I leave whether I look stupid or not. I for one would rather look like a total chicken shit than not come home to my family.
I posted on facebook about what happened yesterday and had some suggestions posted. One of the suggestions was to carry mace. I have been told to do this in the past, and the reason I do not is well frankly I don’t think it works. I was unlucky enough as a teenager to get sprayed in the face with the stuff (gotta love siblings, even when they fight dirty…Love you sissy) and well it sent me in to an utter rage. I had to leave the house or I think I may have killed my sister. This did not incapacitate me it just really pissed me the hell off. I know that not everyone feels the same about this as me, but then again not everyone has firsthand experience with the stuff. So I will not be carrying or spraying anyone with mace any time in the near future.
I will say that one of the best suggestions and I got and one I totally agree with was about getting a dog. I know this to be a great idea because it is exactly what I did after being followed by the van. I got the best dog ever, her name is Prada. She ran with me for about a year and then well we got hit with winter and I did not run much outside so she got fat and totally lost her desire to run. She now will only run a couple miles at most and only at about a 12min pace, I have tried to go farther and faster with her and her response is to just sit down in the middle of a run. Now anyone who has run with a dog knows that if this happens while you are running it is kind of shocking to just STOP in the middle of your stride. So I have not taken her in a while. However, I have recently been reminded by a friend Anne Marie that dogs love to run and even just a couple miles is worth the time for our furry friends.
After what happened yesterday and my reminder from Anne Marie, I have decided to start running with Prada again. I know it will be slow going and she may never want to run 10 miles with me, but I will never know if I don’t take her. I always felt safer having her with me and I truly believe that people would think twice about approaching me if I had a big dog with me. So I wanted to thank you all for the advice and well wishes yesterday, and remind you all to please stay safe and keep your eyes and ears open for anything that looks or sounds strange and PLEASE don’t be afraid to look stupid for running away it is always better to be safe than sorry!