You Never Know

Monday’s run was short and turned odd.  Not just because of my achy calves and silly shoes.    Remember my rule?


I headed to lake path after work on Monday with the hopes of doing a few laps in the new Brooks.  I am still having troubles breaking them in and my legs are giving me fits.   I was optimistic though.  I stopped once to retie my shoes- again.  Skipping the arches and using every lace hole near the ankle.  What are those called?

Anyways, my first lap was ok so I was hopeful to get in a few more miles.   On the second lap I noticed a woman with 3 dogs coming my way.  That in itself wasn’t odd, I see her and the dogs every time I run that path.  What’s odd is that she is usually with an older gentleman.  I didn’t see him that night.    I did see another man a few yards behind her though.   He caught up to her and I could see them talking.    Well, him talking and her walking.    He dropped back and she continued on but I heard her ask what color dog he was looking for.   I noticed that she waited until she was farther from him before saying something.  Hmmm.    I continued heading the way I had been running.

Hold up, the man had turned around and caught up to me on a walking break.   He started asking me if I had always been heading in that direction.  I was thankful that I could hear him even with my headphones (Aftershokz for the win!) but I made a big show of pausing the music.  I had no idea who this guy was, I didn’t want him to know I had heard his previous conversation.   He said that he couldn’t find his son.  That maybe he had run ahead.  Wait, what?  You just asked the other women about a missing dog?!?!?!   He also didn’t sound overly concerned either.

Ok, once again, another creepy run at the lake.  Time to get the heck out of dodge.   I picked up the pace and ran ahead.  I was keeping an eye out for a kid running though, just in case my paranoia was running in overdrive.    Around the corner, across the bridge and no kid.   Down a side street, half a mile later and almost back to the parking lot.   No kid.  Last curve to my usual stretching station and wait, what do I see?  What looks like a 12 year old boy… walking a dog.   Hmmm.   So I slowed and asked him if he had been looking for his dad.  He gave me the side eye.

Great, now I am the creeper.    He said yes so I told him that I thought he was about 1/2 mile back.     My calf had been twinging the last 1/2 mile so I decided to just call it a night.

So it turned out to be nothing creepy but it’s sad that you just never know.  And because of that you can never take things at face value.   My rule of thumb for running alone is that everyone is a creeper and needs to be treated as such until proven otherwise.  Does it potentially help keep you safer when alone?  Maybe?  But it also leaves a foul taste in your mouth when you mistrust honest situations.

Does this mean I am going to be less cautious on future runs?  Not likely.

Do you run alone?

Ever encounter a creepy situation?


19 thoughts on “You Never Know

  1. Oh my – you know I run alone, early in the morning before the sun is up – so usually I’m waving or saying Hi to people in their driveway getting into their cars, and about once every couple of weeks another runner or walker and I will cross paths, but for the most part, it’s clear and each person has a purpose, but the other day, I ran and there was a guy… in all black. Walking, but not like walking to the 7-11, or not like walking for exercise, it was very unusual for my morning characters, so I just picked up my pace for a bit, checked over my shoulder and all was well. But still! All black? at 5:45 am? yeah, no.


    1. I don’t know how you do it, early mornings freak me out! A man in all black clothing would have scared the crap out of me! Or pissed me off, there’s a ridiculous number of runners around here who at night wearing all black. I get very cranky when I see it.


  2. You absolutely made the right call, especially after hearing his conversation with the other lady. Changing his story like that would have been a HUGE red flag for me. I try to practice resting bitch face when I run, and I generally just ignore people who try to talk to me because you just never know.


    1. His tone of voice was even more of a flag, he didn’t sound very concerned! I realize that it is a pretty public park and path but come on! I know I have a very cranky resting bitch face but I have a feeling my running face just looks haggard. 🙂


  3. It is sad that the world we live in requires us to treat everyone we encounter as a suspect. But sadly, running alone with headphones in a quieter more secluded area is one of the most vulnerable situations we can find ourselves in, especially with the recent tragedies that have been in the news this summer. It’s not fair, but, what can we do?

    I live and run in an urban area, so encountering people who seem a little off is actually the norm for me. I’m rarely approached on a run (although I constantly get honked and sometimes whistled at), and since I run in busy high traffic areas I usually feel pretty safe. But part of the reason I don’t like to run early in the morning is that I get a little creeped out running in the dark when no one is around and no businesses are open.


    1. I am rarely honked or whistled at and for the most part that just makes me laugh. Unfortunately, I’ve had a few creepy run in’s now, most of which were at the lake path. It’s very public but that doesn’t seem to help. And it’s never the occasional vagrant that scares me, it’s always the people who look very normal. It just reinforces that I will likely never be an early morning runner.


  4. What are the odds it would be a kid AND a dog? lol I never feel paranoid when I have my dog with me because he is very protective, but then when I’m travelling and want to run somewhere new I’m too scared to go out in a strange city on my own without my protector =( It’s a sad world we live in when we have to be scared being on our own.


    1. Right!? When I saw the 2 of them together I thought really???? There are times I wish I had a dog to run with. Most of the time I feel ok running on my own but there are definitely times when I would feel much safer with a dog!


  5. I agree with everyone else … though it saddens me to say it. You really DO have to go with your gut … and though generally speaking since I am a guy I have fewer of these concerns to deal with (which again really saddens me to say), when I ‘have a bad feeling’, I listen. A couple of years ago there was a guy walking on the road on a sunny day … and for some reason I just chose to alter my route on the fly. Something just didn’t feel right, so I listened.

    And I think you were right in your non-trust instinct … I have been looking for my kids, have seen kids who got separated from parents – and there is generally an emotional charge to it that comes through, to the point where they are barely looking at you even as they speak. Lacking that, I would expect to be led to a van on the promise of candy 🙂


    1. Part of what seemed so creepy to me was the general lack of concern when he said his son was missing. I’m not a parent but I imagine I would have been freaking out. Even if they were around 12 years old. It was just too weird.

      I’d rather alter my run by distance or route if I feel something is off. Safety comes first but sometimes I wish that we didn’t have to worry about things like that.

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  6. Oh that story creeped me out! I tend to just put my resting bitch face on when I run, especially given that its London. If a guy were to stop me and tell me that story I’d at least have the knowledge that there were other people around to help him, even if I didn’t. I know it sounds selfish but that would have creeped me out, and the number of times i’ve been stopped by weirdos who actually did just want to creep on me… I dunno. It’s a tricky one.


    1. It’s a pretty public park but it has been home to some creepy situations. His lack of distress was odd to me so my response was equally low key before I high tailed it away. I felt bad but so many of those situations can go the other way. 😦


  7. What a weird situation! You should always follow your gut – it’s your body reacting to things you’re not even consciously noticing. I run in the early morning around the city but feel pretty safe – I mostly see other runners. I mostly get freaked out on trails that I’m about to see a rattlesnake or mountain lion.


    1. One of the reasons I don’t run in the early morning is because of mountain lions. I live in city limits but barely so we get visits from large cats sometimes. I can’t win- creepy people on the public paths and scary creatures in the mornings!


  8. My creepy-radar definitely goes into high gear when I’m running alone… I follow the Slacker rule closely! Glad this wasn’t a creepier situation than it seemed, but still worth being paranoid about, I think!


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