Cars, dogs, and…

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!

15 miler
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!

~ Salt


30 thoughts on “Cars, dogs, and…

  1. Laura says:

    Oh my goodness – I wonder what she was so upset about! I have had people yell things from cars, and almost hit by cars, but nothing like this! Crazy. And congrats in your run!

  2. playfulpups says:

    WOW! That is nuts!! I have encountered some people that make me uneasy, but never anything like that. This past weekend a German Shepherd busted through someone’s fence and came charging at me. I am not afraid of dogs, but I’m pretty sure for a minute I thought I was going to die. He was growling, barking, and running full speed towards me, then all of a sudden a few feet away from me (he was now in the middle of the road), he skidded to a stop. It was quite weird- maybe my guardian angel intervened. Anyhow, I survived (obviously…lol), but had to take a detour home (which added an extra mile on my run).

    A good reminder that we all need to be aware of our surroundings at all times!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Definitely! Gosh I’m so glad you’re okay! What you just described has been one of my biggest fears forever! (I’m not a big dog person either so I probably would have fainted.)

    • txa1265 says:

      Dogs are a ‘wild card’ – generally they are territorial rather than actually mean or vicious … but you never know (based on owners mostly). I have come across all sorts of dogs through the years and never had a real issue – it was funny when we moved into our first house I had a dog pursue me into the street at the end of our road … and I was all upset about it … then by the light of day we could see that it was a really old and super-nice dog who could never have caught me and would have wagged me to death it she did!

  3. txa1265 says:

    That is DEFINITELY scary … I think I would have called the police. But it really is a tough call.

    I too have had people yell from cars. Almost monolithically for me it is men in their 30s in pickup trucks swerving to force me off the shoulder … but I have also had high school / college girls yell at me as well, more in a sexual harassment than scary way 🙂

    I only once got really startled, there was a guy dressed all in dark clothes out walking – mind you this is about 5AM – and I came upon him and everything jumped inside of me! Turns out he is just an older guy in our neighborhood who has taken to morning walks to keep moving. I saw him this morning – he stays in when it is too cold!

    Once last year I was running on a decent sized road and saw a guy with a dog and just had a bad feeling so I took a detour. Probably nothing, but I found a great 1/2 mile extension along one of my routes and I felt better.

    And congrats on your longest run! Great times as well!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thanks! I definitely think it’s better safe than sorry when trusting your gut. I really wish I had had another out that didn’t include jumping peoples’ fences! It’s so crazy how you can just get a bad vibe like that sometimes!

      The only other time I’ve been startled on an early run wasn’t even by a person. It was by a stupid reindeer lawn decoration that someone had put in this little clearing of trees at the side of the road. It was so dark out and the deer wasn’t lit so when I ran by it it caught my eye and I thought someone was hiding there. I almost jumped out of my skin! But yeah…plastic deer decoration. Awesome.

      • txa1265 says:

        haha – but in those cases we can laugh at ourselves! I had a similar one with a Halloween decoration on top of a mailbox on a poorly lit road that I came upon and it looked like there was someone behind the mailbox – totally freaked me out! Then I laughed, and every time after that I wished it ‘good morning’ when I passed … I missed it when they took it down!

  4. Kelly @ Turned up to Eleven says:

    Oh the crazy… and YIKES! I would have been so nervous but knowing you could RUN is helpful for sure. I’m glad it wasn’t anything more than fear and some speed that got you out of that situation. Good for you on trusting your gut!

    We have a crazy neighbor. I call him Drunken Cowboy. He’s been picked up a lot by the cops for public intox. He’s always hammered when we see him. He always wishes us a happy new year and welcomes us to the neighborhood, even though we’ve been neighbors for almost three years now.

    I feel bad for him, but clearly no one takes care of him. He can usually be found pushing his shopping cart around town, in coveralls, not dressed warm enough, drunk as a skunk and waving as he collects cans. It’s really, really sad.

    I hope that lady was picked up and taken somewhere safe. I wish that someone would put our neighbor in a home, or get him a rehab appointment. 😦

  5. Kelly @ Turned up to Eleven says:

    I meant to say we have called the police before on our neighbor, but he was laying in his front yard and I wasn’t sure if he was passed out, or he had died. We also called the cops one night when one of his friends left the house, could barely walk and then got on a bike, to ride it, in the pitch black. Sometimes I wonder about this world.

  6. afastpacedlife says:

    Scary. Many years ago I went trail running by myself. As the sun was setting, I was alone and running back to my car. Then someone appeared in the horizon going in the opposite direction of me. This person was dressed a bit bizarrely. He/she was wearing something like an indigenous Peruvian costume, only in dark colors and completely covering the body. Only two eyes could be seen peering over a bandana and underneath a black floppy hat. The person was also carrying bags. I was a bit creeped out.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I always get a little extra nervous when I’m out on the trail alone and I would have been completely creeped out if I encountered that person. I’m glad nothing bad came of it. 🙂

  7. ambertherunner says:

    Yay for a new half PR during your longest run! It must’ve been the unintentional speedwork around that strange woman.
    Lucky for me the scariest thing I’ve seen on a run is a deer to close to the trail (what can I say, I was afraid it would spook and run into me while trying to run away…).
    Looking forward to your giveaway!

  8. onedreamymess says:

    Haha, yes every town has their share of crazies! The guy at your race with the branch reminds me of Big Daddy when Adam Sandler teaches his kid to throw sticks out in the sidewalk to trip the roller bladders! Too funny!

  9. Alexis @ funrunning4life says:

    Yikes, that’s so bizarre! Glad nothing too serious came out of it. I did kind of laugh about the guy with a branch during the race, though. Also, YOU ARE SO FAST. My goodness! Can’t wait to follow your training and see what kind of beastly time you get for your first full!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thank you so much! I’m starting to feel better about it. When I first signed up, I was afraid that I wouldn’t even be able to finish and now I’m sure I will. It just remains to be seen how fast I can get it done. 🙂

  10. Andrea says:

    That is scary and I’m sure it’s really unnerving for future runs. I’m glad that she didn’t do anything aggressive other than yelling. I was running on the sidewalk next to a bridge once and encountered a drunk man. He started reaching into his jacket and luckily only pulled out a bottle of vodka, but it was definitely a scary moment. The sidewalk was a few feet off the bridge so the only place to go was forward, backward or a huge fall into the Ohio River. It has definitely made me even more aware of my surroundings.

  11. kristenk says:

    Um that is a crazy story!!! I wouldn’t have known what to do, I probably could not outrun a crazy person on a long run! This year on New Year’s Eve I was at a bar downtown and me, my husband, and his friend and girlfriend left the bar at midnight to see the fireworks. We were running down Girard Ave. and I was clearly happy and drunk because it was midnight! Some homeless man in the parking lot of the 7-11 started screaming at me and ranting about how New Year’s is “just another excuse for bitches to get drunk and be annoying”. I was terrified that he was going to come after me but luckily we got out of there without any incidents! Crazy people are so terrifying!

    Anyways, great job on your run! That’s so crazy far and I have no idea how you can keep that pace for that long. You need to give me long run lessons!

  12. Jesse - Questionably Texan says:

    Those are some great splits for a 15 mile run!
    I went for a run in Salt Lake City during a business trip, and had a lady pick up a big stick and take a swing at me. I saw her pick it up in time for me to go wider around her, but it was still closer than I wanted! I was running from the hotel to a restaurant for dinner, so I made sure to take a different (better lit) way back.

  13. Lindsay says:

    Holy guacamole, what a scary story!!!! I’m so sorry that happened to you. Congratulations on the rockstar run though! I’m never going to be able to keep up with you on our run 😉

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