Thursday, January 12, 2012

I've Got Something to Say....

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.

Scary, huh?

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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.


  1. So scary - be safe! I always run with my cell phone and tell my hubby my route, but I think investing in some pepper spray is a good idea...

  2. Since hearing about Sherry, I have been preoccupied with safety as well. I always thought I was a "safe" runner, except when I actually thought about it, I often run in very deserted areas, without telling anyone where I am, and no one has a clue of what my running gear looks like. I definitely plan on running smarter.

  3. There was once that I got a little spooked. I just so happened to have my keys with me. I NEVER run with me keys in my hand, and I can't even remember why I had them with me that evening. I made a fist and had the keys sticking out from between my fingers down near the knuckles so they poked out of my fist like little daggars. I just kept telling myself, "You'll only need to land one punch in the throat..." Thank God it never came to that. I WAS just being paranoid...

  4. It's terrible to think that people do such things. We've been praying to Sherry and everyone since we found out. I think your precautions are unfortunately good one!

  5. I've been thinking of this story all day today. I couldn't help but feel different on my run today. I always feel safe in my neighborhood but you can never be too sure. Thanks for this.

  6. As a bigger man, I'll admit, I don't really worry about such things. I live in a fairly high crime city, but I always figure I can outrun, outhit, or outmatch about anything outside of a gun. Maybe it's a little arrogant to assume that. I don't know...

  7. After a scare last year, I always run with my cell phone and pepper spray....and I live in a nice small town! I also keep my road ID. I try to always tell my husband or family where I'm going, but I'm not the best at that. I would like to think that I would fight and scream like mad....punch, kick and fight. Who knows...hope none of us have to find out. Hope Sherry makes it HOME because this has scared me. I keep checking SUAR for updates.

  8. Sherry's story makes me so sad. I keep opening my laptop just to check for news.

    Because of my heart condition, I am already ultra cautious in lots of ways, and strangers must think I am a weirdo because I stare down potential threats to make sure they know I'm not an easy target. I do succumb to the belief that I am the "meanest bitch in the valley" and can take on all comers, so I'm trying to use this as a reminder.

    Still hoping she is found, safe and sound.

  9. I was just thinking yesterday that I need to add a pocket knife to my sock or something. I really enjoy solo running and refuse to "give in" to the scare that evil people give this world. Rock on Sister!

  10. I feel so bad for Sherry and her family and I hope she is found soon.
    I always carry:
    my phone
    my ID
    a small knife
    and always leave my route at home so the hubs knows where I am.
    Safety first and on my run is where I trust no one...

  11. I live in a small city in Iowa but often run on a trail behind a truck stop. I never run with headphones, look at people in the eyes and am always thinking of options when I see someone who doesn't look like they belong. About 2 years ago, I started running with my dog. But Sunday, I finally started running with my phone. I've had a handful of freaky encounters over the years and need to be a smarter runner. It is sad that we cannot be carefree but we may as well accept that that is the way it is.


  12. Wow...what a story! I'll admit I get a little spooked sometimes. When I'm by myself on a trail run in the middle of the woods.

  13. "I imagined pushing his eyeballs out with my thumbs." OHmylord.

    You're right though. Luckily I have had some classes in muay thai, and run with my phone.

    On my longer runs, I write the route out for my family, I jot down the time I leave [if they're still asleep] and leave an ETA.

    You can never be too careful.

  14. What an awful and scary story, I cannot believe she is gone. I'm usually with a buddy and on a bike in the back country of AL but there are several female solo runners in my 'hood who go down long empty country roads. I fear for them after reading about Sherry.

  15. This is a great post. Thanks for sharing. Between reading this and SUAR's blog, I am also re-evaluating my safety on runs. I spend a lot of time outdoors and alone.

    Thank you! I may also start carrying a pocket knife - similar to yours.

    Stay safe out there!

  16. When I first heard about this I told myself that it could be a million things other than an abduction... Today when I read that they found her body and have a man in custody for questioning, I got sick to my stomach... what has this world come to!? My heart is sad.

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  18. Scary stuff out there. Women runners unfortunately have to deal with this sort of stuff. When I run I usually try to make eye contact, smile and greet a runner running in the opposite direction. Sometimes lady runners don't make eye contact and kind of keep to themselves. At first I thought it was me somehow turning them off but... well it might be... but it might also be that they are worried and cautious and want to just get their run/walk in and that's that. Good for you, though, that you carry something to protect yourself with.

  19. Great post. I had a weird experience with a guy on my trail I run on most days. I went straight out and bought pepper spray that night. I never run without it now. But after your post I'm thinking I might grab a pocket knife too. Guess we can't be too careful. I hate as females we have to take these extra steps. Great post!

  20. So tragic about Sherry, I can't believe it... I never run alone outside in the dark, I've always been a "chicken" and therefore do all my weekday runs on my treadmill. On weekends I run with running friends or along busy roads. Be safe!!

  21. I've been struggling with running outside since I read of her going missing. I run up and down the same 4 mile run for my 8 mile runs and while I always felt safe now I feel almost naked. Vulnerable. Ugh. I hate it.

  22. Be careful with that knife. Make sure it has a lockable blade (looks like it does) and be sure it fits in your hand comfortably so it won't slip out of your hand if you have to use it. A Marine friend of mine always tells me - don't carry a weapon unless you know how to use it, otherwise it can be used against you.

    Please be safe!

  23. i've always been really cavalier about running safety, while my hubs would always insist i run with someone. would drive me insane. but after following sherry's story, hubs is so right. i'm dfeinitely keeping safety more in my mind now.

  24. I never thought about running with a knife. I may just start doing that. I will have to see if I can find mine.

    It has been so easy to feel safe and secure here in rural Montana, what a wake up call.

  25. Sherry's story makes me so sad. It's scary, but I know we can't stop doing what we do because of it. We can only move on and learn from it. Running is not always safe and we need to be smart.

    Way to be prepared. I need to get some pepper spray!

  26. Yes, it can be scary. I headed out on a long run at 4:30 in the morning last summer (in my neighborhood) and some wacko was walking on the opposite side of the street and yelling at me, "Excuse me!" It scared the heck out of me. Haven't bought the pepper spray yet, but I think I need to. Thanks for sharing on this serious topic!

  27. Those are quite adequate for self defense. In fact, women should carry those tools as a last resort.

  28. It is a good idea to carry a pocket knife with you especially during night time. If you have time, you can actually do some tricks with the knife to ensure your safety. In addition, a perfume can also be used as self defense item. It contains alcohol that may cause eye irritation.

  29. Survival knives are not only being used in the wilderness during backpacking and camping. They can definitely be used for self defense. My wife always has a bear grylls survival knife in her bag for her to be used during emergency crisis.


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