Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stranger Danger

I will admit that I'm not the toughest girl around.

Okay, so anyone that knows me, would agree that I'm not exactly bad ass and ninja-like.

However, I did live in an apartment complex for several years where people fired guns on a fairly regular basis and the cops regularly patrolled the place, shining spot lights into our windows in the middle of the night that were bright enough to be seen from space. I finally bought my townhouse in a better neighborhood after I was getting into my car in the parking lot and some crazy douche bag fired his gun out of his car window less than 50 feet from me. After that, I packed up my dog and cat and stayed with my mom until I moved into my house.

The point I'm trying to make is that I'm not typically a person that worries about going out alone, no matter what the time of day. I don't freak out about parking lots and I don't feel like I need an escort at night.

I used to watch My Ghost Story on A&E and then scare the shit out of myself by running at night afterward and let me tell you: I'm typically MUCH more afraid of ghosts and goblins than serial killers or kidnappers.

I pretty much see this on every night run. True story.

Last night, I ran 8 miles. I left somewhat late because it's still warm here in the desert. It was about 8:30 by the time I left. Now before I get all sorts of lectures about running at night, I live in a pretty nice neighborhood and I've never felt that I've been in danger in the 3+ years that I've been a runner.

I was on the last mile of my run, running along a fairly busy street, but being that it was around 10pm at this point, there wasn't a lot of traffic. I had just slowed down to take a walk break when a silver Mustang pulled along side me, coming from behind. There's 3 lanes of traffic each direction, but no other cars were on the road at that moment.

I stopped and stared for a second, surprised, but then he sped off. I really tried to shake it off like maybe he was just going to ask for directions or had just pulled a U turn and simply pulled into the farthest right lane, but my hackles went up and I felt unsettled in a way that rarely happens to me.

I watched him drive away for awhile and then continued on, still feeling shaken. I jogged along for another 5 or so minutes and that same car came back from the other direction and turned left into a row of medical offices right in front of me.

By now I was only a quarter mile away from my house. He didn't pull his car anywhere near me, but rather pulled right up to the front of a dentist's office and got out of his car.

Now this is where you could say I was supremely stupid or sort of bad ass.

Ninja or Dumb Ass? You be the judge.
I literally stopped running, and turned and stared him down...from a safe distance, of course. I was plenty far away, close to my house, and I knew there was no way he could catch me before I made it either to my house or the strip mall next door, where a Blockbuster is located.
Finally, I turned and jogged off, but I kept looking over my shoulder just in case. And then of course, I went home, got in my car and decided to drive past the parking lot several times from the safety of my vehicle on a busy road from the opposite side where he couldn't see me.

The car didn't move and the man was no longer there.

I will admit that I watch a lot of crime drama. Like, a lot of crime drama. Maybe I watch too much Criminal Minds late at night, but that's not unusual for me. I've watch crime drama since I was young.

Why, hello there, sexy crime fighters!

Anyway, the point of all of this is that experience really shook me in a way that I haven't experienced in many years. I could be over reacting, but since I don't scare easily (unless we're talking ghosts, then yeah.) and on some base level I was really unsettled and unnerved.

I'm still not sure what to make of that experience, but considering I rarely react like that, I think my gut was trying to tell me something...

So yeah, 8 miles done last night.


  1. If you felt unsettled, there was probably a reason for it and I think you are a bad ass for turning and staring him down. You let him know that you saw him and that you were aware of him and his strange antics. He may have been harmless but I think it is an important step in self defense to make known that you aren't unaware to your surroundings.

    WTG you Running Ninja Dressage Queen!

    1. It's still bothering me, but I think maybe I will run my old route closer to my mom's house. It was just...creepy.

  2. So will you run again at night? I have been struggling with the question....Am I being irresponsible by running in the dark?

    I agree that your instinct and actions were correct.

    1. To be honest, I haven't run since Monday night. I plan on running tonight, but I'm definitely going to think hard about which route to take. Living in the desert, there are months on end where there's really no way around it. It's way too hot for a lot of the year to run when the sun is out.

      I've been running at night for years, even along dark streets and parks, and I can spook myself with thinking I'm seeing ghosts but I've never had something like this happen that bothered me like this.

      So yes, I will be running at night, but I think I will stick with running laps at the Police Park close to my house where it's well lot and the police cars are constantly coming and going. It's only a mile from my house, so I would normally run there, but it's going to be a long time before I feel okay running past that office complex, so I will drive to the park.

    2. After I posted my question I decided that I would also continue running in the dark (usually in the morning for me). My life is so busy that I have to run when I can. It is more irresponsible of me to continue living my life in an unhealthy way. I, like you, will think about it and run as safe as possible.


Thanks for reading!