Slow and Steady

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Motivation: Safety Tip #0904

Better a thousand times careful 
than once dead. 

I am a freak'n magnet for dangerous situations. If you read my safety post HERE, you'll see where I made some mistakes. This time I made even few mistakes and still ended up in a dangerous situation. I was running on a popular route yesterday, score +1 for me. I was running with a friend, another +1. I was running at 8:30 AM with plenty of daylight, +1. A stranger spoke to us and I responded, -1. It got creepy, so we took off and said nice talking to you, +1. Then we turned down a side street to get to a more populated main street, +1. I called my hubby to say a guy was creeping us out and told him where we were just in case something awful happened, someone would know where to look for us, +1.

The guy followed us. Followed us on the side street. Followed us onto the main drag with plenty of traffic. Seriously, this guy was not deterred. We decided to cut over the 6 lanes of traffic, no crosswalk, we jaywalked ran to get away from Mr. Stranger Danger on a major thoroughfare and guess what?! O-M-G. There was a center garden type divide thing and I decided enough was enough, our taking detours and going on a more public street and trying to cross 6 lanes of traffic weren't working and I was S-C-A-R-E-D. So I did what any panicked person should do, the EXTREME. I doubled back from the center divide stood in the middle of traffic and flagged down vehicles for help. Mr. Stranger Danger kept walking, but still looked back at us as if considering still coming back after us even though we were trying to stop traffic. PSYCHO! We called 9-1-1, but I don't think anything came of it. So what did I learn?
  • Our situation went from feeling creeped out to feeling like we were in true danger quickly. VERY QUICKLY.
  • That even with all the +1's above, there is always the extra pyscho guy that is going to break the rules.
  • That knowing to bail on our planned route and getting to a more populated place and having been with a partner could have literally saved my life yesterday.
  • That my "being nice" conversation wasn't necessary. Who cares if you come off rude, safe is more important than congeniality.
I talked to lots of people about this and got lots of "advice" like "you should have called the police sooner." TRUE. I pay tax dollars, I shouldn't worry about false alarms, when someone is creeping me out, it is more important to be safe. In a matter of 1 block our iffy situation turned from weird to all out scary. O.N.E. Block. This person had no fear and was stupid enough to ask questions in our conversation that weren't even sneaky. He asked, "how far are you running?" "Is this your regular route?" and other fact finding questions that were not in a natural flow of conversation. C-R-E-E-P-Y. I was not going to write about this feeling that I would be judged, I mean seriously how can this happen to one person so frequently, two creepy encounters in less than 1 year? Well it happened and it happened to me and my mother said, it probably happens more people than I know because not everyone reports these creepy situations to the police. This is my blog and while it is therapeutic to type about it, I also wanted to share some things I learned from this experience.

I am fortunate to have friends in law enforcement and while I did lots of things right, I knew that there was more I should know about responding to dangerous situations. One piece of bad advice I got was to turn around and tell the person to stop, leave me alone and that I have called the police. That maybe saying this and confronting them would make them stop and leave me alone. However, when I spoke to my probation officer friend he had the following advice that I want to share with you. KEEP MOVING. Run, keep going, but DO NOT STOP. Individuals seeking to harm you, will do just that and may have weapons on them. The closer one is to someone willing to harm them the worse off they are especially if you allow Mr. Stranger Danger to get close enough to you. While he didn't brandish a weapon, it doesn't mean he didn't have one. In fact the police asked me that specific question, did he have a weapon?

So I am on the hunt for a good pepper spray. Will it save my life? Maybe. Will it give me a level of confidence to run again, a little. I have to take whatever I can get in the form of feeling safe. While a running partner should have deterred the average pyscho path, it appears having my dogs with me is going have to be an added safety measure. Mr. Stranger Danger could have ditched us as a twosome for another woman running "solo," but she had her dog with her. We saw her about 10 steps before we went from feeling creeped out to scared-out-of-our-minds. In retrospect I wish we would have stopped her and told her this guy was following us so we could have stayed next to her and the dog and let him either pass us by or take on all three of us plus Cujo. She probably wouldn't have appreciated being pulled into our situation, but as I reflect on all the things we could have done differently, that idea does cross my mind enlist as much help as possible.

This is a great reference LINK for those seeking more safety tips. I won't say I am not traumatized, because I am. I don't know how I am going to go about my life. It is easy to say that it is running and I am afraid and therefore won't run. But this could have been walking to my car at the grocery store, this could have been going to the park with my kids, crazy people are everywhere and one cannot stop living because they are afraid. Easier said than done, yes, but really the most important thing is never to be complacent. To be alert. To be safe. Know what to do.

Why I Kick A$$: I played it smart by having a partner and running in the daylight. I identified the creepiness of the converstaion. I responded the right way and tried to remove myself from the situation. I did what I had to do and stood in the middle of traffic to save us. I kick ass because I am alive.

Thankful Three
  1. For the power healing through love, prayer and education
  2. For having had a running partner who if worse came to worse would have been a great fighting partner
  3. For a husband who ran out of the house barefoot and sped to pick us up


Xaarlin said...

SCARY!!! And right in the start of the day too! Jeeze! You did the right thing and I can't believe that guy followed you. I appreciate this posting of your experience so that it can help others. I'm pretty much terrified to run outside anymore. (thanks local breaking news twitter accounts I follow!). I'm glad you're okay.

track coach and adorable wife said...

That is totally scary! I am glad you guys are alright. I have no idea what I would have done, but it sure sounds like you played it smart!