So I’ve been doing a lot of running on the treadmill as of late due to the stupid heat and humidity and storms we’ve been having. My work schedule has been less than ideal since I got back from Michigan as well and that’s complicated the time frames I’ve had to get my training in. I used to DESPISE the very thought of the treadmill, but I’ve learned it definitely has its own special place in my world, and I’m thankful for the option in times like these that are my “life” at the moment.
However, I’m not a huge fan of having to resort to the treadmill for dumb reasons like there’s a rapist on the loose in my neighborhood that is attacking female runners less than 1 mile from my house. YEP.
So I’m at work last night perusing our local online news stations to get caught up on what’s going on outside the 4 walls of the hospital I’ve been staring at for 13 hours at that point. I wasn’t the least bit thrilled to see the following headline “Woman attacked along popular walking path in ____________” The line is my suburb. Uh…say what? Oh it gets better. At 9:45 AM yesterday, in broad daylight, a female runner was attacked by a man 5’6″-6′ tall with a blonde buzz cut wearing a black t-shirt and jeans; wearing a camouflage backpack and holding a black box. They’re calling it a sexual assault and it was along MY running/walking route that I frequent just a wee bit too frequently apparently. Broad daylight and some dude is out there trying to rape chics while they’re running. She fortunately got away, but…so did he.
This path is less than 1 mile from my house, heavily used (which is what I can’t figure out how this guy thought he was going to get away with this) and the majority of it backs straight up along people’s backyards. I was just on it Memorial Day putting in a good work out.
My hubby and I moved to our suburb a little over 5 years ago. It’s considered a more “affluent” area (but trust me when I say we live in the “ghetto” of this suburb) and has a very VERY low crime rate. We don’t have murders, shootings, robberies, burglaries, vandalism, etc. Our monthly police reports are so short, it makes ya kinda feel all warm and fuzzy inside…and SAFE.
I’m not naive to think that this couldn’t happen in my little town. I’m not naive to think that I’m safe out there running at any time of day. Please don’t get me wrong, but violence of this level is just not typical of our place. Not in the slightest. So it’s shakin me up a bit.
I never gave much thought to heading out the door at 5:45 AM and putting in a ton of miles before most people even get up for the day. I’m always passing other runners/walkers/bikers along the paved trails that run for miles throughout our city. It’s generally a very active community and those trails have been a huge reason why we stay where we are. I couldn’t live without them. Within 5 seconds they’ve become my biggest fear. I don’t carry any sort of personal protection with me. Let me say that again. I DIDN’T USE TO carry anything on me but my phone. However if some dude is trying to rape, kill or rob you, what good is having a phone going to do other than you’ll be able to call someone should you be fortunate enough to get away?
My typical plan of “safety” has been to tell my hubby in detail the exact route I’m going to be running. I give him an approximate time frame I should be able to complete that run in. I call or text him the second I’m walking out the door and the second I walk back in the door. If I’m going to be even 10 minutes later than I said, I call him.
I also have a GPS locator app on my phone that allows my hubby to find me within I believe 100 ft of a pin placement/address on a map he can see on his phone.
Other than that, I have nothing.
I could get pepper spray. I could carry a knife, but really what good is that going to do me? All things can be used AGAINST me too.
Remember the scary dude I had screaming at me a couple of weeks ago during my run in my neighborhood? Between that incident and this attempted rape thing, I’m losing more and more faith in my “safety” as a runner out there on the road. This has really shaken me and I can’t seem to lose this fear that is gripping me.
I think I’m going to be hitting up the treadmill a bit more until I can fully get over it and stop living my life a slave to what “could happen.” I could be at Target in the parking lot and get attacked. I am surrounded by crazy things at work 24/7 and I don’t bat an eye, but something could happen there too. I could be attacked in my own dang house. Ya know? I can’t continue to live my life in fear, but I have to give myself time process this too.
What sort of personal protective stuff do you carry with you, if anything at all, when you’re out running? Have you known anyone or had anything strange happen to you that you have actually had to use it? What steps do you take to ensure your safety as much as possible?