This post is on a more serious note. I typically write with a sarcastic edge but this subject denotes a more sincere voice. Today I was enjoying the nice weather during my run. A car approached me and stopped in the middle of the road. I looked over to see who or why, since I was in my neighborhood I figured it was someone I knew. As soon as I glanced over I noticed it was an older man who is known (even when I was a kid) as a, for lack of a better word, creepo. He just said hello and asked how I was, I of course said something inaudible due to the distance between us and picked up the pace. I was most concerned because I had already passed him and he must have turned around.
This particular guy has gotten in trouble for approaching young women and children with the preface that he is a photographer looking for new models. He had come into my work at some point over the summer. Since he belongs to the same pool I do, I was being polite and finding out what he wanted to talk to me about. My co-worker did not know this at the time when she came in the back to get me. He handed me a card with a message and his business card inside which was false. I mention this only because I called the police immediately after I was informed of some of his other actions from his neighbor, another co-worker of mine.
The purpose of the story is more to discuss the real dangers that young women, especially when running or walking outside need to be aware of.
I have several rules that I try and live by when running outside.
- I never run at night or early early in the morning alone... I take a dog or a friend
- If it is a new location especially a path, I walk with someone first to check it out or even bike through it
- I avoid running on deserted roads... traditionally I stick to main roads or neighborhoods that I am familiar with
- Always always I carry my cell phone fully charged (only takes half-hour at the most), a dollar or two and a little can of mace. They all have clips and go on my IPod armband and really doesn't hinder my workout
- Not that it would make a huge difference but I don't wear tight or short clothing... even if it is super hot outside
- Most of all I try to be very aware of my surroundings even if I am with someone. I am lucky in that my family made sure that I learned how to defend myself early on. I know what situations I can handle and how to get out of the ones I don't (or at least I like to think so)
- I hardly run at night, but if it is the summer and I am running at dusk I have reflectors (small ones)... I don't care if it looks ridiculous, it is more important to be safe
It is a scary truth but people aren't as safe as they think they are. This guy may just be freakin weird but I know some stuff has gone down and even if it hadn't you still need to report anything. I am not saying to be scared or afraid to go outside. When you are running, especially if you are a woman, just be smart about the choices you make it really could mean the difference between something or nothing happening.