Posts tagged ‘safety’

Stalked by creepy car during run


I am a shaken from my run today and having a hard time getting my thoughts clearly stated.  I decided to do 4 miles during lunch instead of this morning and headed home at lunch to change.  My run started off pretty normal.  I am still trying to figure out my Nike+ insert but otherwise, non memorable.  Just before the halfway point, a white Honda passed me from behind and slowed down as it drove slowly over the hill and out of site.

Cars slowing down always send alarm bells off in my head, but I tried not to overreact.  The car had just turned from a main road onto a neighborhood road, so maybe he just needed to slow down.  Two minutes later, the car passed me going the opposite direction, and I got a good look at the driving taking a good look at me.  He then turned down one of the side streets.

Despite being very close to a school and in a neighborhood full of cars, there were no people.  I kept running and was approaching my next turn onto a half-mile stretch that would take me back to another main road.  If I stayed straight, I would hit the main road in .2 miles.

Four minutes passed and there was no sign of the car.  I wondered what to do.  I decided I must be overreacting.  I passed a guy walking and almost asked him to walk with me for a few blocks, but decided this was perhaps riskier than a guy in a car and maybe crazy too.  I opted to do the full run since I missed all my runs last week, but distracted I turned one street to soon and ended up on a dead end.  I realized it about six houses in and turned around.  My heart still racing, I decide to slow down and walk back to the street, as I would have a clear view of any cars approaching.

I got off the sidewalk and decided to walk a few feet into the yards.  After about two houses, the white car turned onto the street.  I headed immediately for on of the houses and watched as the driver saw me and then turned the car into the second driveway, backed out and left the street.  I am not sure why realizing I was aware of him made him do this, but I am still thankful.

There was a house with an open garage door and I stood in their driveway a few more minutes.  The car was gone.  At this point I was about a mile from home and needed to get back to work.  I sprinted to the main road and made my way back looking in all directions the entire time.  Every white car made me panic.  I tried to use my anger to run harder, but all I wanted to do was yell.  No person has the right to make another person feel scared.

This is the second time this year something like this has happened to me, once while cycling in Texas and while running today.  Both times the cars left when they realize I was aware of them.  I don’t know what would have attracted either (I was not wearing revealing clothes and there were other joggers/walkers around) and don’t know what their intentions were.  All I could think was that my next trip to the running store would not be for socks or shorts, but for pepper spray.  I wondered about the ads I have seen for personal defense and when the next class would be.  I thought of ways of meeting nice people who would join me for runs.

Writing this blog entry has not made me realize a way to rid the world of all the creeps nor has it settle my still racing heart.  What happened today took away some of that freedom I feel when I start out for a run.  It took some of the joy I feel when I finish a run.  It took the security I feel in my neighborhood and my confidence in my ability to protect myself.  But it will not keep me from running.

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October 15, 2009 at 8:54 pm 1 comment

Safety First


If you are like me, people have been telling you to be careful your entire life.  And you probably tell them the same.  Sometimes I think about these words and other times I don’t.  But today the threat that faces us as runners and cyclist each time we walk out our doors hit me once again.

I cyclist friend in San Antonio forwarded information on a memorial being held for a husband and wife who were killed last week while riding their tandem bike.  I easily found newspaper reports from the incident and felt that numb shock reading a story that could have happened to any cyclist.

Next I received a newsletter from For Beginners Only, discussing how hybrid cars at slow speeds are almost impossible to hear.  Manufacturers are looking for ways to add noise so those around the car are more aware of its presence, but for now there are an increasing number of potentially silent cars cruising a neighborhood near you.

I have always felt the threat of the road more when cycling than running, but the truth is any athlete on the roads is vulnerable to motorist.  People are talking on their cell phones, interacting by passengers, trying to multitask.  We must be careful and alert, watching our surroundings and terrain throughout each workout.

These are the safety tips I try to follow for my activities and there are many other great tips online.

1. Leave a map. I make sure my family always knows where I am running and when I will be home.

2. Bring an ID and a little cash.  Better yet, check out an ID bracelet.

3. Ditch the headphones.  If you can’t handle running without music, choose an mp3 player that has a built-in speaker.  This will allow you to hear both the music and your surroundings.

4. Drive new routes before you run or cycle: A road may look great on a map, but in person it can be filled with potholes or overwhelmed by traffic.  A quick spin will let you know if this route is safe.

5. Mix it up. For boredom and safety, mix up your workout schedule and routes.

6. Assume motorist don’t see you.  I do a lot of waving when I run.  It sounds cheesy, but I want to make sure a parked car sees me before I cross in front of them.

7. Wear bright colors in all conditions.  Reflective clothing and lights are critical for earlier morning and twilight, but make sense all the time.

8. Stay alert.  Don’t zone out while pushing through the miles. Keep your eyes on the road and your surroundings at all times.

9. Run with a friend. The more people in the group, the more likely you are to be seen.

10. Hit the park. If you can’t find good riding conditions near you or just to avoid hazardous roads on rainy days, hit a local park, golf course or the gym.

I know I can do more to be safe when running and cycling, and when driving too.  Take care and stay alert.

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October 6, 2009 at 3:56 pm Leave a comment

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