I was still caught off-guard last Sunday.
I was running a 14 mile out and back at around noon. The route takes me through the nicest parts of my hometown. The entire length of the route follows Lake Michigan, so it is full of great views, huge homes, busy streets and lots of cute paths. The last 10% of the route gets a little bit isolated - edged on one side by the lake and industrial buildings on the other. Behind those buildings is a rather unsavory neighborhood that has its share of crime. I only entered this area because I needed the extra mileage and I have run there a million times before.
|Lake Michigan Lakefront in the summer. Obviously.
HOLY SHIT. What am I going to do?
At that exact moment, two women that had driven passed circled back and asked me if I was ok. They were watching him follow behind me from down the road and thought it was so strange that they came back to check on me. Guardian angels exist! I ended up turning around while they watched to make sure he did not follow me anymore.
I called the police right away and they wanted to do a formal police report. Even the football player-sized officer was like, "Wow - that is really creepy." And yes - it was. I've never really felt that vulnerable before. But I learned a really valuable lesson about my safety - being aware and prepared is so incredibly important.
Going forward, I vow to follow these safety precautions any time I'm on the road:
1. Stay on main roads with high traffic
2. Let people know the route and when I should arrive back home
3. Carry a cell phone
4. Carry Mace Sport Jogger (If you don't have one - get it today. NOW.)
5. Do not run with headphones
6. Run during daylight hours whenever possible
7. Run with others more regularly
BE SAFE OUT THERE, FRIENDS!