Last week, I ran a sweet little six miler after work. It was dark outside but I wore reflective gear and my new headlamp. It was just me, the lakefront and the waves crashing up against the shore during these miles and it was so peaceful. After my run, I walked for a bit across the street from my apartment building and stopped to stretch by a park bench under a street light.
This turned out to be a big mistake. One moment I was stretching my quads and the next, I looked up and there was a man directly in front of me. I instantly felt uncomfortable so turned around and started walking away. He yelled at me to come back and that he had to ask me a question. Umm, no thanks. I kept walking. He yelled at me again and said the same thing.
At this point, I was creeped out and began jogging away. He then started chasing me. I ran out into the street but couldn't cross because of all the cars coming and he caught up with me, got right in my face and kept trying to engage. Finally, the cars stopped for a moment and I was able to run away. Since I didn't want him to see where I live, I ran around the block before running up the steps to my apartment and deadbolting the door.
I spent the rest of the evening wondering if maybe I overreacted. But when I shared the incident with a few friends, each reminded me that a normal person wouldn't have chased another person and would have backed off when it was clear the other person wasn't interested in talking.
Fortunately, the incident happened in a pretty populated area and I felt I would have been able to call for help if the situation had escalated. But what if this had happened in a less populated area? For the most part, I am a cautious runner. I stick to lit paths. I wear reflective gear. I never run with music. But, I don't run with any type of protection, such as pepper spray. I think the time has come to buy a bottle and I urge all of you to consider carrying some type of protection during your runs. Even close to home, you just never know what might happen and it's better to be safe than sorry.
So, that's that. The incident has been on my mind this week as I run my miles but hasn't kept me from running on my favorite paths. Here's this week's training plan:
Monday: 4 miles @easy pace (AM); 6 miles @easy pace + 60 minutes strength training (PM)
Tuesday: 8 miles speedwork, including 4x800m and 8x400m; 30 minutes strength training
Wednesday: 6 miles @easy pace + 60 minutes strength training
Thursday: 4 miles @easy pace
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 10 miles @easy pace
Sunday: Rest Day/Cross Training
Total: 38 miles + 2.5 hours strength training
This sums it up!
Depending on how things feel later this week, I might make Thursday a cross training day instead. Jumping from last week's 29 miles to 38 miles this week seems a tad ambitious and perhaps a recipe for an injury of the too much, too soon variety. I'll take it a day at a time.
My questions for you:
- Have you ever been in a situation while running (or exercising outside) that made you feel uncomfortable/unsafe? What happened and what did you do to get out of the situation?
- Do you carry protection when you run or exercise outside? If so, what do you use?
- For the non-runners (and runners!), what was the best moment of your weekend?
My favorite was strolling around Cedarburg with a hot autumn chai tea from Fiddleheads!