Running is on my mind a lot. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Safety is also on my mind a lot. I am a woman, I am not afforded any other way of living. My husband does not have to double check his surroundings when he’s out somewhere at night. He doesn’t have to think about what he’s wearing before he leaves the house, or even question whether or not to leave the house and head somewhere alone. However, that is my world. Our world, as women.
I often carry pepper spray on my runs though I recognize that I have never been trained on how to use it and it could very well be used against me, or blow back in my face if the wind is not in my favor. I took a self defense class in college that was pretty intense, but that was over ten years ago now.
These women were all out in broad daylight. Let me say that again. Each of the 3 women who were murdered recently were out running in broad daylight. They were not out in the dark, they were not in particularly remote areas. And each of them was brutally murdered. More than likely also sexually assaulted in some way.
What now, ladies? I refuse to stop running but I would be lying if I said this wasn’t making me think twice. I am aware of my own safety and I take precautions. I tell my husband where I am going and how long I will be gone. I wear a Road ID with my pertinent emergency contact information on it. I generally run with only one earbud and it’s one that allows for ambient noise to be heard. I was pleased to see Strava’s new feature with the Beacon feature so that someone can know where I am in real time. But that’s only for premium subscribers – yet another reason to maintain my premium membership. I try to look everyone I pass in the eye and acknowledge that I see them with a “hello” or “good morning”. My neighborhood is safe. It’s also boring to run in. I am blessed to live right by a wonderful multi-use trail and it’s my favorite place to run. I haven’t run on it in a week, and I am nervous a little bit about my long run tomorrow. I don’t always see a lot of people on my runs. I have never felt unsafe, and have never run in to anyone who made me feel threatened. But maybe these three women never had either..
It’s scary. And sad. How many of us are taking more of our runs to the treadmill to avoid “taking a risk”? How many of us are ANGRY that we have to think that way? I am furious. And somewhat powerless. It has got me thinking about taking another self defense class. And more than likely I will not run with any headphones going forward. A running buddy is not realistic for me. Neither is a large dog. I want to feel safe in my own skin. I want to be safe in my surroundings. In this world right now though, I know that as a woman, I am not.