Two Sides

You all know I love a good run and Tuesday night was no exception; however something or really someone overshadowed my great evening out on the trail

Here’s the good (great) side of running:

I came home from work feeling really good and ready to hit the trail running. After a quick change and eating half of a clif bar, I made my way to my usual jogging trail. I started off strong only stopping a couple times to stretch. I was over half way down with my run when I came upon another jogger. He was running in front of me and I noticed we both had a similar pace. Score! If you’re a runner, it’s always nice to find someone on the trail that you can secretly run with. He immediately became my pacer and my motivator. We’d run for a bit and he’d turn around and run backwards. It sounds silly, but I knew he was rooting me on to keep up with him. These types of people are a blessing in my opinion. They’re willing to help a complete stranger out simply by keeping the pace and checking if I haven’t crapped out and started walking. That’s the running community for ya! We’re a crazy group of people always willing to help other runners.

*Side story: A couple weeks ago, I was running my usual run and I noticed two women slowly jogging towards me. Out of utter randomness, I put my hand up for a hive five and yelled, “Keep it up!” Um. This seems to be my way of motivating other joggers. I think I scared the crap out of her, but I felt better afterwards.

Anyway, I was really grateful for that man yesterday because he pushed me farther than I’ve gone before. I wish I could thank that man for helping me. Sometimes you just need someone to keep your spirits going even on the best of runs.

Here’s the not so good side of running:

On this same run Tuesday night, I passed by a man on a skateboard about a quarter of the way through my run. I noticed this guy specifically because as he passed me he lowered his sunglasses and stared at me as he went by. I found it really odd, but didn’t think much of it. As I continued on my merry way, I saw this same man double back around and pass me again. The trail I run has several loops so that you can pick and choose how far you want to go. The farther out you go, the longer run you’ll have since you took the longest loop.

He took the shortest loop so he double backed and passed me again for the second time. If you’re on foot, you usually pass someone at most 3 times depending on both of your routes. Seeing this guy again and knowing he had stared me down didn’t make me feel good.

I kept running in the hopes of losing him once I crossed the street to the rest of the trail. Unfortunately, he came up behind me once and looped back around one more time before I got to the bridge that led me across the street. If you’re counting, that’s four times this guy has been around me.

As I hit the other half of the trail on the other side of the road, I was hoping I had lost him. I was a quarter mile to finishing my run and my pacer from the above story took a different path and we split ways. Darn. I was on my own.

I came around one of the last curves and my stomach dropped to my knees. The creeper was back. Ugh. He skateboards past me and I immediately hear him stop and turn around. Great! Now my back is towards him and he’s coming at me. This was the fifth time he had passed me and he was making it a sixth. I began thinking of scenarios of how I could escape and finish my run. I was heading to my car at this point, but I knew he’d catch up to me. And he did.

I may have been super paranoid, but he made his way around me and I slowed to a walk for a warm down. As long as he was in front of me, I was okay.

Here’s the deal. I’ve never worried about that area regarding creeps or suspicious activity. There are many fields that usually have some type of sport going on. Families are everywhere. Games are happening and kids are roaming around. I didn’t feel like I was in a whole lot of danger, but I was extremely uncomfortable with the situation.

I realized on Tuesday night that I really don’t have anything to protect myself when I’m alone on those trails. With that said, I’ve made plans to grab some pepper spray within the next couple days. I never want to feel uncomfortable like that again. Even though I felt confident that he wouldn’t try anything, you can never be sure.

Let this be a lesson for other runners. Always carry some sort of protection with you at all times. It was too close for comfort Tuesday night.

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