I’m still doing the Runner’s World streak with just a few more days to go. It’s pretty awesome, as I’ve never ran more than 6 days in a row before this Thanksgiving. However, sometimes it’s challenging to even complete the minimum 1-mile run for the streak. (Driving several miles to get to a treadmill so that I can run one mile on it?) It has been raining a lot in Atlanta this December, and I’m accustomed to running earlier in the day, although now that winter has set in, it’s colder in the morning than the afternoon. An incident just happened that made me re-think how I get my miles in when I’m close to home.
The other day, I decided to do this quick 1-miler in my neighborhood before sunset–around 5 pm. It was still daylight and I always in my own neighborhood when I am alone. (Since the seasons have changed, my running group meets at the same times, but it’s always dark outside now and I don’t like running in the dark, even with reflective gear.) When I get literally two blocks from my doorstep, and a bright orange car with three or four 20-somethings rolls up. I notice them as they are about to turn down the street that I am about to cross. They yelled something out the window–I don’t know what. I looked to see who it was and then turned back and ignored them. They turned on the street and pulled over. One of the guys ran and caught up to me, but I didn’t give him a chance to say anything before I told him to leave me alone. He immediately put his hands up almost apologetically, turned around and went back to the car. I’m grateful that no one touched me or did me bodily harm. I also saw a couple running in my direction, so I wasn’t totally alone.
I’m well aware of safety precautions to take, including carrying mace, a phone, ID, and not running with both ear buds inserted. I know some terrible things have happened to all kinds of people while running, from dog attacks, kidnappings, rapes and of course death– but like Beth of Shut Up + Run, I refuse to let a few dummies incite fear in my heart and keep me from doing an activity that keeps me sane. I learned how to do a take-down earlier this year, but it looks like I need some more self-defense classes.