And I don't care if you roll your eyes at me, which I know you wont, because I know that we ALL know how serious and scary this is. I am certain many of you read Beth's blog, Shut up + Run or also known as SUAR and many of you most likely have heard about her family member and fellow runner Sherry HERE.
Sherry headed out Saturday morning for her run, like many of us did. But she hasn't come home yet.
This breaks my heart and strikes a bit of panic within me. When I lived in Tacoma I was not usually afraid when I headed out for my runs. I was always aware of my routes and surroundings, but not afraid. I hate being afraid. Ever since moving here to my current home I have felt uneasy about running outside of my small neighborhood. It is no secret that I have been nervous to head out on runs and usually cover a lot of the mileage in the safety of my neighborhood. When I do venture out it is always a relief when I turn back into the safety of my neighborhood, off the road in the big, wide, world.
Saturday, when they may have just been discovering something was not right in Montana, I had this text exchange with RED:
I thought I was getting paranoid but this story reminds me I am not actually paranoid. Paranoia is a suspicion and mistrust of people or their actions without evidence or justification.
I think we all have evidence AND justification.
People are jerks out there and they don't care, they have no regard for human-kind. And unfortunately, we are not invincible.
I remember a similar incident happening in San Diego a few years ago. We, runners, get all worked up and ramp up our safety precautions, run with buddies, take the head phones off....then we get comfortable again. We let our guard down. We stop being aware of our surroungings. We put a target on our own backs.....
The tragic story about Sherry has me again reflecting on my own habits and safety precautions and my new routine of running at night. I don't use headphones while running at night, I stay in my neighborhood, and since Christmas I have been carrying pepper spray. Tonight I will add a pocket knife.
I think so. But I will not go down without a fight.
While running on Saturday, outside of the safety of my neighborhood, I kept playing it over and over in my head what I would do if a bad guy stopped to harass me, or tried to abduct me, or violate me. I had my pepper spray but aside from that I was helpless. I imagined grabbing sticks to hit or stab a bad guy with. I imagined pushing his eyeballs out with my thumbs. I imagined trying to outrun him....but to where? I am isolated out there on about a three mile stretch of my 7 mile loop. And what if I was too tired to outrun a bad guy? Running long distances makes us vulnerable.
I hate that I even have to think about these things. I should feel safe. We all should feel safe. The truth is, I don't. But I am not willing to let bad guys or fear prevent me from doing what I love.
I will run.
I will be safe and be aware of my surroundings.
I will not hesitate to use my pepper spray and pocket knife....
So please, if you haven't already, think about your running habits. Are you safe? Do you tell friends or loved ones when you are heading out? Which route you are taking? How far you are going? How long you expect to be gone? Do you carry a cell phone? Here is a short article by the Billings Gazette that speaks about running safety HERE. Give it a quick read and take a minute to evaluate your current habits. Let's be safe out there! After all, we run so we can lead long, healthy lives...
And if you haven't, head over to SUAR's blog HERE and give some support to a fellow runner.