Creep Factor to the Power of Ten

My run started off pretty good tonight. Despite sore calf muscles and feeling tired, the weather was a bit cooler and it felt good to be outside. I wasn’t far along when I spotted two deer mamas and their fawns. Thankfully, they watched me before heading back into the woods (and away from a heavily traveled side road). 

My usual running/ walking route is just over two miles. I try to run everything except for the pesky uphill that happens to be right by the hospital.

I’m going to share my story to remind those out there exercising alone to be aware of your surroundings and to have a plan in place if needed.I’ve had men walking out of the hospital parking lot before stop me while I’m walking the uphill part of the route. One wanted directions, and the other (who had an untreated gash on his forehead), asked me for a cigarette. I’m in exercise clothes, my face is beet red, I’m walking briskly, and you think I have cigarettes?? 

Tonight, an older man who appeared like he was homeless crossed the street to get to me (he had been walking away from me). I had my music on and kept my focus on the road ahead (it was almost to the downhill portion). He yelled and yelled as he got closer to me so I stopped and turned off my music. He complained that the people in the business across from the hospital would not give him a sandwich. I shrugged my shoulders and started to walk. He then asked me if I had a sandwich (I’m wearing a tank and running shorts). Nope, no sandwich on me. He persisted and asked me if I had a dollar. Nope, no money. Then he suggested that he could come back to my house with me, and I could make him a sandwich. The hairs on the back of my neck are starting to stand up. I tell him no and he starts to walk with me. Thankfully I’m at the downhill portion so I start jogging. After a minute I hear heavy footsteps, and see him running up next to me. He proceeds to jog with me. I kick up the pace, and he quickly drops off. Needless to say, I didn’t slow down until I got around folks in my neighborhood.

I never expected to have issues on a run when going in the daylight. I don’t carry my phone, just my iPod. Now, I will be carrying my phone. I feel lucky that I know the area where I run. While he was talking to me, I was planning where I could go to get help if need be. I also decided that if he tried to follow me home, I was not going to go to my house, but a business where there would be people and a phone.

I don’t consider the area where I live to be a “bad” area, but it seems like I may need a change in running routes.

For everyone exercising alone, please be safe out there! Don’t get so into the zone that you loose track of your surroundings.

This concludes tonight’s safety message! Thanks for reading my story. 

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