Today I have one of my long time blogger friends Jessica sharing some important information with you about running and your safety.
--Hello LAB readers! I'm here filling in for Tammy while she is off enjoying her vacation. Now I'm not going to talk about life or happiness because I'm right here along with the rest of you trying to figure that stuff out for myself. But what I can speak to you about is running safety. Formerly an avid long-distance runner, I've had to run many roads and trails on my own, and being ambushed when I'm by myself is one of my worst fears. I may also have watched one too many true crime shows on the Investigation Discovery channel. Anyhow, back to the point I want to make,- if there was someone out there who thought that I might make a good target, I would want him to immediately know that I'm not. I do understand that despite the best efforts, people still can become victims. But that's a blog post I'll have to save for another time.
Here are a few tips for safe running:
1. Don't be predictable. This is one of the main things they teach us in the military. Don't have patterns or habits which people can figure out. I try not to visit the same trails with any regularity, and I don't go at the same days or times. The fact that the nature of my job is not always predictable helps as well.
2. Bring your cell phone and GPS with you. Not only will you be able to find your way back if you get lost, but you will also be able to call for help or allow authorities to pinpoint your location. I always have my GPS on even if I'm just walking Stella.
3. Run/walk with your dog. Okay, so I know that running with a chihuahua isn't going to scare off any prospective offenders, which is why I no longer take my two small Jack Russells with me. But if you have a bigger dog, like I do, then it's always good to include him/her. Stella is a Pit Bull, and you can already imagine the stereotype associated with this type of dog. While she is the sweetest dog towards me, Scott, friends, and family, I have no doubt that she would attack someone who is trying to hurt me.
4. Bring pepper spray/mace/ or whatever is legal for you to carry. I have one of the small key chain pepper spray attachments. Make sure you know how to use it as well and that it isn't 10 years old or something. Rings with protruding stones and even keys can easily be used as weapons. Aim for the sensitive spots if required: usually the face, eyes, ears, nose, and neck. Think about what you normally have on you or whatever is small that can be used in your defense should it be needed.
5. Make eye contact with people along the way. This is important. When you acknowledge people with a "hello", a head nod, or just direct eye contact, you let them know that you are aware and you "humanize" yourself, if that makes any sense. Also, be observant of other people. Is someone running or walking with a huge baton by their side? (A detail which was actually in a crime.) Is someone all covered up in 90 degree weather?
6. When possible, run with at least one other person. What can I say? Strength in numbers always helps.
7. Be alert and aware of your surroundings. Have a map of the trail, nearby roads, the people and cars you see parked, etcetera. Look behind you and around you occasionally. Don't veer off established trails.
8. Tell at least one person where you are going. What's the name of the movie where the guy had to cut off his arm to save his own life because he didn't tell anyone where he was going? Ever since I saw that movie, I make sure to keep my GPS on, tell someone where I am, or post it on some form of social media that is viewable by friends and family only.
9. When possible, run when the path or trail is busiest.This might ruin your objective for getting a quiet, peaceful run. I know it does for me, but most trails are not crowded like Disneyland during the summertime is, so you should be able to get some feeling of solitude if that's what you're aiming for.
10. Follow your gut instinct. Do you ever tell yourself you need to do something, don't do it, and then tell yourself later that you should have done it? If someone is giving you weird vibes, run the other way or call someone while running the other way.
I hope this post made you more aware- not a basketcase, but definitely more aware. Thanks Tammy for asking me to post and I can't wait to hear about your adventures when you return!