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.


Seriously People?!!!

Warning- this will be rant like and non running related.

I left work on Wednesday with the plan of running speed work at be gym.   It was super hot out and I didn’t want to be tempted by the lake path so I took the back roads home.     I passed a couple of cyclists which always make me shake my head- this road is hardly built for 2 lanes of traffic let alone a bike.   Blind corners and hairpin turns abound.    Anyways, when I finally get back to town I turn onto a frontage road that really is just a secondary freeway.   Seriously, the average speed is in the 60’s.

There was a large Yukon in front of me and a few cars behind me.   Up ahead I noticed a man riding his bike with a grocery bag.  This road does have pretty decent bike lanes, I’ve actually considered running it before.   The biker kept drawing my attention; he didn’t look too stable,the bags were throwing off his balance.    Then he went down, sideways, directly in the Yukon’s path.

My brain refused to process what I was seeing.  Somehow, the Yukon slammed on the brakes and swerved left, I slammed on the brakes and went right, bear in mind, we were both driving fairly fast.   The driver of that Yukon had amazing reflexes- he missed the man and oncoming traffic.    He ended up angled partly in the other lane and partly off the road.    How we all avoided a wreck is still amazing to me.

The man, who was really a kid was fine, more angry embarrassed than hurt.   A car coming the opposite way offered him a ride but he turned it down.     He picked up his groceries before getting back on his bike.    It was during all this that my faith in humanity took a little hit.

The Yukon was still blocking part of the opposite lane and you could see that oncoming traffic was stopped about 50 yards up the road waiting while the boy was picking his stuff up.   The SUV behind me started laying on the horn.  Seriously?!  You can see what is going on, get over yourself!   The horn turned out to be not enough for them and they sped out from behind me into the partially blocked lane and floored it past the kid still in the street!   The car behind them followed suit.  Are you freaking kidding me?!   You see multiple vehicles stopped, one in the wrong lane, a kid in the street and you think it’s ok to throw a temper tantrum and squeeze yourself through!?  I was so angry!

Honestly it’s taken me longer to type this than it did to get everything squared away last night.    I could come up with no good reason for the cars to behave the way they did.   Come on people, what if that was you in the street?   Or a family member?  Don’t get me wrong, I think a runner or a cyclist is doubly responsible for watching out on the roads.  It doesn’t matter who’s in the right, against a car, we lose.  That said, people driving don’t need to be asshats- get over yourselves!

Once we were all on our way, there was a stop sign about a mile ahead.  The Yukon and I ended up next to each other, he went right and I was going straight.    We had a brief conversation through open windows.   He was super pale and I wondered if I looked similar.  I told him he had amazing breaking skills.   He thanked me for stopping.  We went our separate ways.

I was so shaky due to the situation and my anger at those 2 cars that I just went home.   I really wish the kid had let someone give him a ride home.  Part of me wishes I could have hollered at those drivers, part of me knows that would have solved nothing.

Thanks for letting me rant, I needed to get that out.   Regular Slacker programming will return next post.

Share your thoughts!!  Please- am I wrong to be pissed?