I did it..I committed a running faux pas yesterday. I ran in all black, with headphones in, changed my route and didn’t tell anybody..yes I did. But the little mini-me rebel got taught a lesson.
I had a bit of a scary run yesterday. I run the same four routes the majority of the time during the week and I try to alternate which days I run them so as not to have the same pattern each week. But yesterday as I was doing my trail run, head deep in thought I rounded the curb on the trail right into a guy. Not a nice looking guy, a guy who looked like he was smoking something a little bit stronger than Marlboro. He was tall and pretty built..and I got scared. Really, really scared. I kept running and noticed that he turned and started following. So I ran a little bit faster and cut off the trail toward the nearest populated area. Whew…but it was enough to make me think that perhaps I can be a bit more careful on my runs.
I downloaded the RoadID app and I love it. It sends my peeps a message that says hey, Kat’s running. They can track my run. If I’m still longer than 5mts and don’t turn the alert off it sends them an alert that says: “Kat’s been still longer than 5mts. Check on her!”. So that gives me a little bit of peace knowing that if indeed something did go wrong somebody could find me fairly quickly.
- Don’t wear headphones – I can’t hear creepers if I’m jamming .. your ears may help you avoid dangers your eyes may miss during evening or early morning runs.
- Run against traffic so you can observe approaching automobiles. Drivers are dumb, they’re always on their phones, they’re not paying attention. By facing on-coming traffic, you may be able to react quicker than if it is behind you.
- Carry ID (I wear a Road ID bracelet and have $5 dollars anytime I run. My dad always said you need five bucks, that way if you need to run into a gas station away from someone and hide you look legit. You can also use it to make a phone call if you don’t have a phone. Another runner suggested writing your name, phone number, and blood type on the inside sole of your running shoe.
- Always stay alert and aware of what’s going on around you. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are.
- Trust your intuition about a person or an area. React on your intuition and avoid a person or situation if you’re unsure. If something tells you a situation is not “right”, it isn’t.
- Alter or vary your running route pattern; run in familiar areas if possible.
- Run with a partner. Run with a dog :) My dog can out run me..it’s sad I know! In my defense she was born to run the Iditarod..
- Write down or leave word of the direction of your run. Tell friends and family of your favorite running routes <- this is where the RoadId app comes in handy :)
- Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets, and overgrown trails. Avoid unlit areas, especially at night. Run clear of parked cars or bushes.
- Ignore verbal harassment and do not verbally harass others. Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Look directly at others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving. I stay an arms length if not farther out of their way. Less chance of getting grabbed…
- Wear reflective material if you must run before dawn or after dark. Avoid running on the street when it is dark. WEAR A VEST! Drivers do not pay attention! So make them acknowledge you :)
- Practice memorizing license tags or identifying characteristics of strangers. I always note facial features. Train your brain to take fast snap shots and remember details.
- Carry a pepper spray!
- Get training in self-defense – for women, I can’t stress this enough! I take a self defense class every year just to stay fresh. My brother is also notorious for attacking my sister and I at any moment just to check our reactions. He’s military and thinks that we need to know a bazillion moves to break free. He doesn’t go easy either, but he knows that baring us getting knocked out we can defend ourselves. He’s constantly sending us horror stories and reports and statistics about women being attacked to make us think about it. It’s a harsh reality but if I chose to dwell on it I would never leave the house..
- Call police immediately if something happens to you or someone else, or you notice anyone out of the ordinary. It is important to report incidents immediately. Know where phones are along your running route. Because I run at a local university a lot, my run route goes along the paths where they have call boxes. Just in case :)
One Cautious Neon Lemon