Monday, March 2, 2009

The Scary Truth

Back in December, a woman was attacked and raped on my running trail. I was visiting my parents in Cincinnati that weekend, but when I came back, my co-workers told me about it. I was absolutely shocked as the trail winds thru neighborhoods and main roads. I always knew it was a possibility.... but it just seemed so unlikely.
At first I felt awful for the poor woman who was raped, but she was so brave and strong and worked with the police to find the asshole who did it, and he's in jail now. It was a completely isolated incident, and there have been no other reports of problems on the trail... thank goodness!
Then, as it sunk in, I got really mad! I've always known as a woman, it's a possibility. I do take some precautions, but I can't give up my ipod, and I don't always have a running buddy. It's so unfair that I have to worry about my safety when I'm trying to be healthy and do the right thing! Sometimes it seems like the universe works against those who are trying to be healthy (like the price of organics!!! ugh, don't get me started...)
So anyway, then it got snowy and I couldn't run if I wanted to... so it was a non-issue. It warmed up a few times, enough for me to go run... but rather than go to the trail, I ran in the neighborhood with Pumpkin. She can be a pain on me and will just sit and stop, so I hate to take her to the out and back trail, I like the neighborhood loop so if I have to carry her home, it's not as far... which I have had to do many time in the past. Yes, she's only 20 lbs., but carrying 20 lbs. after a 2 mile run for another mile... not fun! But, she can be vicious and will attack strange people if I let her, so I do feel safe with her around. She sweet for her mommy, but she's a spitz mix, and spitz's are known for their temper!
So now Spring is around the corner... and I'm faced with a dilemma. I don't want to let fear get the best of me, and I really do miss running. I've been having the worst runs on the treadmill because I get so bored... I'm starting to doubt my ability - and that makes me mad! I was able to run a 10k in November. 6 miles! I ran the whole thing! That was absolutely the proudest moment in my life, running across the finish line, beating my 70 minute goal! And now, I'm hoping I can make it 3 or 4 miles... with a possible 10k in 1.5 months.
So I might be a little scared to go back at first, but rather than avoid the busy times (Saturday and Sunday from 10am-12pm), I think I am going to go then so there will be many people around. I will still wear my ipod, but my mom's going to get me some pepper spray. I don't really want to run with it, but I want to run. I want to make a t-shirt that says, "Back off a-holes, I'll pepper spray your face".... but I don't run in t-shirts...
It just really sucks that someone can take something away from you, the feeling of safety, and freedom, which is what I felt when I ran my 4.6 mile trail...


  1. oh, I have so much to say on this post. I agree with you 100%. It totally sucks to have to give up something that motivates you (like an ipod), in order to feel a bit safer. It's just sad that we even have to go there. There are sooo many trails by my neighborhood, but I kind of live in questionable area, my complex is safe but the surrounding neighborhood isn't. So, I haven't been outdoors running in months b/c it is way too dark at 5am when I go work out now. When I do though, I have a small thing of pepper spray that I now run with as well. It's just so maddening though that we have to resort to that as women. There is such evil out there. It's smart to be aware of your surroundings and all, just kind of wish we didn't have to be..I sometimes wonder what life would be like if it were more like that movie "Pleasentville"

    p.s. thanks for the comment on my hair cut, I am so insecure about it so I totally appreciate it!

  2. I know exactly what you're saying. I'm always so nervous running by myself and I refused for the longest time to stop wearing my ipod. I'm slowly weaning myself off of it though. Like the other day I did a 6mile/61min run and made it 52 minutes without the ipod. I had it with me the whole time, but didn't turn it on until the last 9min when I needed that push and didn't think I was gonna make it. At first I'd only go 15 or 20min without it, but I've slowly improved. I also try to stay on busy main roads although, I think that just gives me a false sense of security... stuff can happen anywhere. I took a self defense class a few months ago and plan on doing another one. Good idea to carry pepper spray with you. I may do that too.

  3. I was just thinking about this as I was running today. Not too many people out, plenty of time with me on the trail or area just by myself. I was listening to my ipod thinking I need to be more aware of what is going on around me. I look (or anyone for that matter) like I am in my own world when I have my headphones on... easy target.

    My mom was carjacked several years ago and does not live in fear at all!!! She still runs, by herself and does everything normal. I have to say though she is much much more aware of what is going on around her!

    Don't live in fear, just be aware!

    I think running on your trail at peak hours is probably safer and doesn't take away from your goal of healthy living! Keep up the good work!

  4. Something you could also do: Call someone, like JJ (if he's not at home when you run) or your mom, someone that's home, before you run, and call them after you run, so they know that you got home safely. That's what me and my husband do when the weather gets bad.

    It can be annoying not to feel safe. I think I would be a little scared too.

  5. Wow. I worry when I run too. My FI kinda runs with me, sorta. He runs way ahead of me, but always stops and walks back to meet up with me at the end. Even then, I still get sketched out when I see other people who aren't runners on the sidewalks during my run.

    As far as treadmills go, the only way I can force myself to run on them is with intervals. I mix it up every time. Sometimes I do 90 seconds at 5.5, then 30 at 6.0, repeat.. Other times I do .1 increases every minute. I have to do something different every time though. Its torture for me.

  6. Hey Ash, I totally feel you on this point. I figure all I can do when I run outside is be as safe as possible...I run when its light out so that hopefully there will be others around, I run on major roads (Boston is great for this because the Charles river loops run along two major highways), and I don't put my iPod on that loud so that I can hear if people are coming towards me. I like the pepper spray idea, though. The way I see it is that I can't let fear stop me, otherwise I would never leave the house, so I just have to be brave and be smart about it.

  7. I am right there with you. I used to walk alond wooded trails all by myself... now I wonder what I was thinking! I stick to outside running during the day and in open places and hit the treadmill when it's dark.

    Try the pepper spray! I've always got it on my outdoor runs!

  8. I know exactly how you feel, which is why I never run alone. My husband always goes with me, and I'm very fortunate that we are both passionate about running and share similar schedules. I, however, live in Atlanta, so it's not exactly the place I would recommend any female running alone. I think having pepper spray is a GREAT idea, and just be alert at all times; run backwards for a few steps here and there, etc.

  9. You might consider running with just one earbud in. I do this when I'm running at the lake because I need to be able to hear bikes and rollerbladers approaching behind me. It also helps me stay aware of who is around me. I'll only put both earbuds in if I'm running in a group where someone else is paying attention for us. :-)

  10. I understand your frustration, and feel the same way. My hubby doesn't want me to take our dog for early morning walks by myself (right now at least) because it's pretty dark out when I want to go--around 6. Part of me wants to go anyway, and the other part realizes he's right in that I should be smart about it. We shouldn't live in fear, but make wise choices with that stuff... I think pepper spray is a good idea. And your TShirt idea made me laugh. :)