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?



A Cautionary Tale

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. 

No questions today, just share your thoughts please.