Slow and Steady

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday: Safety First and 10-10-10 Race Report

 ~unknown

So I haven't run in two weeks and I am "running" a marathon in 3 days. I posted a weak moment, whaa, whaa, whaa post yesterday and talked about being afraid. Well, we'll talk fear in just a moment. Let's cover the 10-10-10 race report information and lessons learned tonight.

RACE REPORT-short version, there is a bigger story here
  • Today I went for my first run just to test out my knee. 
  • I put on my new purple running skirt, grabbed my iPhone for the Pandora radio access and headed out the door feeling pretty cute and ready do it!
  • I chose a .5 mile loop in my neighborhood and started conservatively.
  • About 1 mile in I was fairly sure that I wanted to finish the 10-10-10 run put on by RunningDivaMom For this reason, I did not have a race bib on (sorry)
  • I really wanted to do the run on 10-10-10 but I was still living in fear that I had completely lost the ability to run and didn't want to know for sure. Damn knee bursitis
  • The first 3 miles were completely pain free, woo hoo!
  • The second three were still "pain" free, but I felt some of the bursitis pressure and needed to take walk breaks.
  • Despite walk breaks I was pretty happy with my 1:11:03 finish (11:30 ish minute miles) 
Lessons Learned

Tonight I did the following:
  • Wore a head lamp
  • Wore a bright yellow reflective vest
  • Did not take my dog for fear she'd trip me and I would get injured
  • Ran on the street (asphalt) to avoid as much concrete as possible
  • Hand my phone for an emergency (and Pandora radio)
  • Only used 1 earbud so I could hear traffic
  • Ran in my own neighborhood on a .5 loop so I was close to home if my knee began to hurt
All of the above sounds pretty safe right? Well as the quote says above, "The way to be safe is to never feel secure"...well I am not sure I totally agree, living in fear would suck. I do think that we should not be complacent. Tonight I ran at 9:15 PM. Running at night is not safe for many reason, low visibility being my primary concern. Well tonight I was reminded how vulnerable I am. While running tonight I was very cognizant of my surroundings. I took note of cars driving around, listened closely to things going on around me and paid attention to my internal fear. About half way through my run I was feeling concerned that I wore a skirt running at night, I would be less of a target if I wore pants and looked like just a person, not a woman. With 3/4 of a mile to go, I decided not to do the .5 loop. While running a car that I felt had driven past me already gave me the creeps so I decided to finish the last bit of my run by doing 5 loops on the .1 loop a block from my house. Yay me for making at least one smart decision tonight. No sooner than finished 1.5 of the 5 laps I needed to do before running home did I see that car again. It looped the .1 and came back around and pulled close to me. A guy, late 20's early 30's, (my age) pulled up and said, "How you doing?" Really? How are you doing at 10:00 at night?! I backed away from the car and asked if he was looking for someone. While asking this I was pulling out my phone from my vest pocket. The guy didn't respond to my question and just eyed what I was doing. Once I dialed my husband and brought the phone to my ear it registered for him and the guy slowly drove away from me. I then proceeded to S-P-R-I-N-T home.

Questions:
  1. Why did I dial my husband and not the police? Well first of all he was only 1 block away and could get to me sooner than the police
  2. My husband would have killed the guy, while the police, well...they may have just hassled him a bit and given he did nothing wrong, would let the creepy guy off
  3. Why did I talk to the "stranger"...honestly I thought he might have been a neighbor, but it became clear very quickly that he was no friend of mine and had different intentions
  4. Why didn't I run away? Well, to get to my block I would have had to pass in front of his car and I didn't want him to hit me, chase me etc...
On the phone with my hubby I asked him to come out side to meet me as I ran home. Some how my feet just flew, there was no knee pain or pressure and I was light, I was literally flying. My husband said he could here me from the end of the block because I was practically hyperventilating. He hussled me in the house in case the guy tried to follow me and so he wouldn't know where I live. 

I called the police to come patrol the neighborhood. My husband drove the neighborhood. For my own reassurance, I also drove the neighborhood looking for the Blue Toyota Hybrid with no plates, just the Toyota Town label of a new car where the license plate should be. I don't feel better yet.

I'm still shaken up and am blogging after midnight because my mind can't rest about what I should have done, could have done differently and the things that could have happened. I tried to explain to my husband that this guy must live in our neighborhood, why else would he be here? To that my husband reminded me we live close to a university and that creepy guys troll around the area looking for unsuspecting college girls. It hadn't even occurred to me that bad people go out looking for bad things to do in my "safe" neighborhood.

What kinds of safety measures do you take? What measures should I take...besides not running at 10:00 at night in a short skirt? I feel so stupid about that, ugh!

Thankful Three
  1. That nothing happened to me tonight
  2. For a pain free 10K
  3. Lessons learned-be smart. be safe. 


9 comments:

Michelle said...

All of my runs are on a military base so I feel pretty safe. I see at least 5+ cop cars every time I go running. I know something could still happen, but I feel relatively safe. All I do is wear a reflective belt if it's dark out and that's about it.

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Sounds like you took all the right measures and still this happened. hopefully with the follow-up with the police it will now be a safer place to run.

Christi said...

Damn that sucks and I am so glad that you came out the mess safe! I think you did everything you could do to remain safe.

I am glad to hear you ran pain free! I will be praying for you this weekend. You go girl!

P said...

Yikes - that's pretty scary! I'm glad you're safe and sound and mostly pain-free. This is exactly why I'd rather wake up early than run late, I don't like to know what kind of nonsense goes on in my neighborhood when I'm asleep.

Meredith said...

Oh my word!! My heart is pounding for you right now!!! As I started reading the post, I thought, "cute skirt!" As I finished, I think I kinda agreed on the not running in a skirt at night. So scary and so glad you're safe. Seriously. My hands are shaking!

Clarkie said...

Oh my gosh! That is incredibly scary. I used to think that getting up early in the winter to run was safer, but really, anytime you are alone and running something like that could happen.

Nowadays, I make sure I carry my phone (which kudos to you for doing!), I always go to busy streets with a lot of lighting, and if possible I started going with my local running club. Even if their pace was faster than mine, at least they knew I was out there with them and would check back on me.

With the winter coming and cutting into daylight hours, this kind of thing unnerves me (although it could happen in daylight as well). Better to be overcautious.

Becky said...

I've been creeped out by looping vans before, even now that I've moved out of downtown and into a "nice" suburb. I felt a little safer in the city, because at least there would be witneses if something happened to me. It's a very good idea to carry your phone!

I really can't think of what you could have done differently. Shorts or a skirt would still show enough leg for creepy trollers.

Julie said...

Super scary! You were so smart to get out that cell phone! I am so glad that you made it home safe:)

Running Diva Mom said...

Holy crap! WOW!

You are quite the safety girl and were very prepared. That's awesome. Glad you were. Thank you for the reminder about how vulnerable we are out there on the road. I sometimes get too comfortable running in the dark (or even in daylight) and forget about what can happen. I am now grateful that i have my new treadmill and can run inside now (since it's getting dark out so early now). Congrats on setting such a good example for the rest of us. I hope that you have been able to calm down a bit from this -- I'm sure it was super scary.


Thanks for participating in the virtual race and for blogging about it.