I run solo. It's not so much that I prefer it, it's just the way it is. My pace, and schedule, and location doesn't lend itself to running partners. It's just always been this way. It's what I know. It's what I'm used to. So, I never really think about safety issues. That is, until I hear stories about women like Sherry Arnold and Sarah Hart. Women, mothers, wives, daughters, who were just out doing something they loved.
It makes me angry that we, as women, face more threats than men do. No one writes blogs giving men safety advice when they are out running alone. No one tells a man he is stupid for going out at 5:30am alone for a 5 miler. Men don't think about checking in with a friend so someone knows where they are. But there it is, ingrained in girls as soon as they are young enough to venture out on their own.
I can remember being a teenager and getting caught sneaking out to go to a party with my friend. When her mom caught us, one of the biggest things she was angry about was not knowing where we were. She kept saying, what if we hadn't made it back...she wouldn't have even known where to start looking. That we had to always make sure someone knew where we were. It stuck with me to the point that it's now something I tell my own daughter.
I will fully admit that I don't do enough to ensure my safety when I'm out running. I just seem to have a Bad Ass mentality that no one is going to do anything to me. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and believe that most people are good.
That being said, I need to do more.
I run pretty much the same route. I have ways of making it longer or shorter, depending on the day, but it's the same basic route. However, I realized while talking to my husband over the weekend, that even though I run the same roads 3-4 days a week...he has no idea what those roads are, or what my running schedule is. He doesn't know which days are long runs, and which are short runs. That's something that needs to change.
I always try to be aware of my enviroment. I look at everyone I meet and give a head nod, a wave, a hello...some type of acknowledgment that I see them. Even so....I've been caught off gaurd. I've had people come "out of no where" or the sun in my face and I didnt see them. It always shakes me a little when this happens.
The biggest thing I have to kick myself for is talking to people in cars. I must stop doing that. It doesn't matter if someone things I'm rude because I didn't tell them where the local fast food breakfast place was. my safety is more important.
I have had people stop and ask for directions before and I've given them, but one time...in the middle of the day, on a busy street, in front of the fire dept of all places...I had a guy pull over and ask me if I needed a ride. I couldn't hear what he was saying, so I approached the car and leaned down. I should have kept walking and ignored him. Of course I didn't want a ride, and I said as much and walked away, but in the time I took to find out what he wanted, something very bad could have happen
Lesson here...Be a bitch. I do not have to be the polite little southern girl I was raised to be. Who cares if someone I don't know, and will likely never see again, thinks I'm rude. It's better than my family having to identify my body later.
I love running. I don't want to be scared away from it. I want to feel like I can walk out my front door and come back 10 miles later, unscathed.
I will be making changes to how I run. I will make sure someone knows my route, and my schedule.