Thursday, October 28, 2010

Staying Safe

Thursdays suck!  Why?  Because the weekend is so close you can almost feel it, yet it's not quite there.

I'm tired.  I can't remember the last time I had a full night's sleep.  Last night it was the dog waking up to puke (nice, huh?).  The night before it was cat's scrapping outside - we have a cat, but there are a few wild cats that try to invade his space once in a while, or it could have been a raccoon too.  I've been having a hard time falling asleep, and once I do something keeps waking me up.  I'm designating Saturday morning as sleep in morning.  Which probably means I'll stay in bed until 8 ... maybe.

I'm also stiff.  I haven't been giving enough attention to stretching lately, plus I've been doing alot.  Which means every day I'm a little tighter.  When the dog woke up last night you should have seen it.  My husband and I both tried to shoot out of bed but he's been doing lots of physical work this week and his back locked up.  Normally he gets up for that kind of stuff but when he couldn't I had to jump into gear.  My calves are so tight I had to run to the door on my tip toes.  We're quite the circus.

Been another active week.  Tuesday was swimming again.  Amazing what a workout that is for the muscles that aren't used to it.  I still don't love it, but I appreciate it.  I also ran Tuesday night and Wednesday night.  Just easy runs.  Wed should have been speed work, but I didn't have it in me and it was choice A) easy run; choice B) no run.  I figured A was the better choice and was glad I did it.

How can you protect yourself out there? 

In the last few months there have been some unsolved and similar attacks on women in neighboring towns, one which resulted in death.  There was also a similar attack in my town.  There isn't a certainty yet that they are linked, but the suspicion is growing.  A few of the attacks have happened while women were out walking, in mostly well lit areas, not super late, good neighborhoods - the types of places most of us have probably walked/run alone lots of times, places you would deem as generally safe.

I rarely ever run alone, which is probably your best protection.  On the odd occassion that I do run alone I often do all of the following:

- bring along my dog
- carry a cell phone
- stick to well lit routes
- try to stay in areas where there are other runners/walkers/traffic/stores
- never wear headphones alone (well I don't wear them anyway, but that's not the point)
- stay aware

Of course I also always carry ID on me in case something were to happen, at least I could be indentified.  And usually at least one other person knows where I will be.

I was told yesterday that maybe I shouldn't run alone - ever.  Hmmmm.......

To me that's a bit extreme.  I don't believe in living in fear of "what if?".  I will not jail myself.  I believe you should take precautions and be sensible.  I must admit, it scares me a bit when I hear of people going out running by themselves in the middle of the night, or very early before anyone is really out on the streets.  For me, that is too risky.

I think staying aware is also a critical point.  One of the women attacked said she heard footsteps approaching and then was attacked.  If I hear someone approaching, or see someone (or hear anything) that makes me feel even slightly uncomfortable I will change locations, or look the person in the eye, maybe pull out my cellphone.  Trust your intuition - better to be wrong than hurt or dead.  If it doesn't feel right, try to change the situation.

This is also one of the reasons why I personally don't think headphones are a wise idea.  Countless times me, or my husband, have scared other people out on a trail.  They don't hear you approaching and next thing you are beside them and they are gasping, or shrieking, because you caught them off guard and scared them. 

Any other suggestions for those who run/walk alone?

Keep Active!



Marlene said...

Definitely scary to hear those stories - great tips here for staying safe.

Hope you can catch up on some sleep soon!

Missy said...

Sounds like you're taking great precautions to stay safe. I wouldn't stop running alone all-together, I just wouldn't do it in the dark (early morning, late night). Try to stay in heavily populated areas too... Might not hurt to run with a thing of mace...

Stay safe, but keep active! You are such an inspiration.

Fran said...

That are scary stories which definitely should result in taking procautions.

Where I live it's very safe so I never worry about that, I'm glad because I always run alone.

But I never run outside the village when it's dark but that's mainly because there aren't enough ligths and I can't see where I'm going.

I never go running without my cell phone. I take it just in case I might fall or something and can't get home anymore so my hub can come and pick me up.

What I've read recently is tell the people at home the route you are going to take so they will know where you are, I don't ever do that but I thought it was a good one.

Angela said...

There were similar incidences this summer where I live. I'm alone most of the time when I run, but to me being aware of your surroundings is key. If I'm running early and I see any male who doesn't appear to also be exercising, I stay out of reach (usually) across the street. It might make me seem like a nutcase, but safety first, right? I also don't use headphones very often so I hear someone approaching long before they get there. I liked your eye contact idea, too.
Stay safe out there!

Anonymous said...

great tips!
i usually run alone and should take more precautions!

Anonymous said...

I won't run at night alone - but that's just me. I will go to the gym and avoid it. I also worry about getting hit by a car too. I have almost hit people driving because I could barely see them. I worry too much about that kind of stuff though. I think you have the right things going for you if you do decide to head on out. But for some reason I think having the dog to protect you and scare unwanted visitors away would be your best bet.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should invest in one of those air horn things. Might help or at least a can or raid to spray in someones eyes. From your next overnight guest

ajh said...

Good post. It's always a worry. You never know who is out there. Be safe.

Anonymous said...

When I run by myself in dicey areas or dusk/dark, I carry pepper spray in my hand, finger on the trigger. I also stay very aware and make very confident eye contact with every person I see, male or female. The best deterrent is looking like you can handle yourself. Also, if you can run with your dog, that's great!

Nej said...

I've NOT run alone once. Once! Every single other run I've 4:45 in the morning, has been by myself. I live in a very old sidewalks, and streetlights are a rarity.

Is this a risk? Heck yeah! I know it is. But I don't want the fear of what could happen to keep me cowering inside. I have multiple different routes I run...and try to scatter them around. I don't run the same route every Wednesday, etc, etc. I have my cell phone with me at all times (learned that one the hard way!). I've been known to run with my backpacking knife....and have considered getting a can of pepper spray or taser (actually, the taser is hubby's idea). I never run with headphones, so I can hear what's going on around me AND because there are no sidewalks, so I'm running in the street.

I think being aware of your surroundings is the best defense by far. But it's scary....I don't deny it at all. :-(