And the lake path and I are breaking up again. There are a few reasons but let’s chat about the main one. Remember this post?
So yeah. I crack jokes at work that one of the unstated descriptions of my job is that I have to have stalker skills. I need to be able to pay attention but not seem like I am totally creeping on conversations. I like to think that some of that “talent” comes in handy when running. I try to always pay attention to my surroundings and the people around me. Being honest, 2 of the places I run can get a little sketchy at times. I love them but there have been a few shady incidents. If I run with headphones, I only have one earbud in and the other is usually tucked under my bra strap. Lately, I don’t even run with them. But I know I miss things. Like tonight, when I ran by a house I don’t recall noticing before. Oops. But I do my best to keep an eye out. As all runners should.
Last Tuesday I headed out for a run. Still being super sore after Firehouse, I figured the nice flat lake path would be a good place to run. Plus if it hurt too badly, I was always fairly close to my car. Once I parked I realized that I had forgotten my running belt. My belt has my pepper spray. Oops. So I ran with my phone in my hand. It wasn’t horrible. Full disclosure- I was running and tweeting at the same time. I wanted to run and participate in BibChat at the same time. Silly, I know but I was still paying attention to my surroundings. I said hi to all the usuals and nodded to all the other runners. I also dodged all the road construction (the other reason the path and I are taking a break).
I did my 3 miles and walked back to my stretching area. The lake has 3 exercise stations around it and I love the ones with the parallel bars. They are the best way to stretch my legs. They hit me around mid rib cage. So again, full disclosure- my leg gets kind of high, but I was also wearing pants. However, even if I had been in booty shorts, what happened next was still not ok.
As I was stretching, I was listening to the people walking or running past. They would pick up in volume as they grew closer to me and fade as they moved away. One lingered longer than it should- it hadn’t faded and seemed very one-sided. First, I figured I was overly paranoid but I looked around stealth-ily. A man was standing behind a tree, staring at me. He was on the cell phone so I gave him a little benefit of the doubt, maybe he didn’t realize how creepy he was being.
I made eye contact. He noticed and starting walking again. I went back to stretching but watched him out of the corner of my eye. He got about 20 feet away, stopped, turned and stared again. WTF?! I made eye contact again; once again he moved on. Another 20 feet, another stop and stare. He moved on without my prompting this time but only to go another 20 or so feet before venturing down the side of the lake to stand behind a bush and stare some more.
I’m out. I headed back towards the lot acting like I was looking at my phone. Dude changed direction and followed me. I did my best to ditch him in the lot, found my car and bolted. I watched the rear view mirror for the next 10 miles.
Could I be paranoid? Yes. Could it be coincidence? Yes. Either way, why risk it? Bail. No workout is worth it. Move on and change your patterns. I try to be careful about what I post. I never post town names or even name the river or lake but if you know the area, you know where I am running. I would like to trust everyone but unfortunately things are just not that rosy colored. It’s life but I hate being reminded of it.
Every run now will be shaded by this. It may have been nothing but it’s going to feel like something for a long time.
Keep running and stay safe everyone.
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