I love my hometown, but it sure does have its fair share of crazy people. It makes me sad, but I think it’s just a fact of life in any moderate-to-large sized city.
For instance: I ran a 10K last summer in one of the parks downtown and there was a man on the course waving a large branch around. I’m not sure if he was actually trying to beat any of us with it, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I gave him a very wide berth as I passed him by and didn’t make eye contact with him at all because for some reason I feel like the best way to deal with a crazy person is the same way you would deal with an aggressive bear.
I don’t live downtown, but rather in a nice, relatively safe residential-ish area just north of the city where it is more unlikely to encounter a crazy person roaming around in the street. The only people I usually see on my early morning runs are other runners or people out and about with their pets. Dealing with a violent crazy person was never really on my radar of things to be afraid of. Before last Saturday, my biggest fears were distracted drivers and angry dogs breaking free from their yards and chasing me.
I was on mile 10 when I turned down this one side street that loops through a cute little neighborhood where I run all the time during the week. I love running through here. The houses are adorable and I always find myself wishing that one of them would be for sale so we could buy it, but none of them ever are, which I think says a lot about the area. It was light outside by that point – thank goodness because this story would be even more terrifying somehow if it had happened in the dark. I made a left and started heading back out to the main road when I saw someone walking in the middle of the street up ahead.
Normally this wouldn’t bother me, but I got a bad vibe right away. I could see that the person wasn’t walking a dog and then a car came along and they got out of the way, but rather than keep walking on the side of the road, they stopped and it appeared that they were gesturing wildly toward the vehicle even though it didn’t slow down. I started to get really nervous as I assessed the situation. There was nowhere else for me to go besides back the way I came and even then the neighborhood is a big loop so I would run into this person from the other direction if I did that. So I resolved to keep going, give them a lot of space, no eye contact, and pick up as much speed as I could. They were obviously wearing a really big coat that went down past their knees, so even if they could get after me, I could probably outrun them. Hopefully.
I had my headphones in and I’ve never been so glad that I did. As I got closer, I could hear that the person was a woman and she was screaming and I really didn’t want to hear what she was saying. From the bits and pieces I could gather though, it sounded like some kind of religious rant.
She didn’t realize I was there until I was just behind her (and waaaaaaay to the right). I didn’t see her face because aggressive-bear-no-eye-contact-method, but I gathered she was anywhere between 40 and 60 years old and she. was. PISSED. As I cruised by she made an attempt to lunge at me. I heard her yell “MA’AM! YOU…..” followed by a string of expletives and what I believe was her telling me exactly what is wrong with me and how I’m ruining the whole entire world. Again, REALLY glad I had the headphones in. I almost expected to be hit with something as I sprinted to put as much space as I could as quickly as possible between me and this woman. Seeing me had only made her more angry and as I got farther away she got louder and louder. At first I thought she was chasing me, but she wasn’t. Moments later I was back out on the main road where I felt much safer because there is a convenience store right there and lots of people driving in and out of the parking lot.
And then I just kept going. I debated calling the police and maybe I should have, but I didn’t. It was 7am and there was this woman shrieking obscenities in the middle of a quaint, quiet neighborhood. I’m pretty sure if one of the people that lived there didn’t call, someone from the convenience store might have handled it.
In other, happier news, I ran my longest long run that morning!
From start to finish, it felt amazing. My splits:
Running a full marathon is starting to see so much more real.
Have you ever encountered anything scary while out for a run? Would you have called the cops?
I hope everyone had a great weekend! I have a fab giveaway in the works this week and I can’t wait to share it with you!