Devotees will recall that I have had some interesting running experiences; from getting pulled over by a cop for “running on the wrong side of the road” (though he was in the wrong) to peeing in the woods because I had to go so bad and there was no bathroom in sight. This evening I had my most nerve-wracking experience ever!
I’ll admit I’ve been horrible about training for the James Joyce Ramble 10K that’s coming up oh in 10ish days! I started out great and psyched and stuck to a training plan for about 2ish weeks. However, I’ve barely run at all this past month. Excuses, excuses we can all find excuses but honestly they’re un-excusable when you really think about it. For me it was really just a sudden lack of motivation and I got so far down in a rut and couldn’t dig myself out. Yes I’ve been walking but hey the James Joyce Ramble isn’t a 10K walk (though they do have a Take A Walk event supporting the Dana Farber Cancer Institute). After a serious discussion on our Anniversary (yesterday, April 19th) my husband and I devised a plan for the next week to help me out with the remainder of my training. Of course we already hit a snag in the plan because the kids fell asleep around the time I should have left to go meet him at the track. However, we changed things up a bit and enjoyed a nice Army family meal at the weekly Club Stewart Pasta Night. After dinner he headed out with the kids to run errands and I headed out with my iPod to run!
I really didn’t have a set amount of distance or time in mind since I hadn’t run in almost a month, I just wanted to run! So I set the Nike+ to Basic, hit my Running Playlist (anyone know how to make the songs shuffle?) and hit the ground running! After a mile and a halfish I seriously started to feel my yummy dinner sloshing around in my tummy so as I turned into one of the trails through the woods I slowed down and began to power walk.
While powering though an oncoming stomach ache I began to think of Earth Day (the official day is this Friday, April 22nd) and the book I’ve been reading (Green Mama The Guilt-Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet by Tracey Bianchi). Then I thought, what’s one thing my family can do this Friday for Earth Day that will also be an educational opportunity for the kids? This is something Tracey talks about in her book and I’ll elaborate on more in another blog post once I’ve finished reading it. I looked around and realized thought “Geesh, there’s a ton of trash on this trail and we walk it so often…hhmmm… maybe we should come out here on Friday and clean it up a bit!”
I was excited about my project idea for Earth Day and as I turned the corner noticed a very strange-looking item at the edge of the woods. It was a blue pillowcase. I slowed down a bit because I thought I saw it move. I backed up and stared for a minute, and it moved again! I quickly ran past it and out of the trail and back home to see if Troy was back with the kids. What the heck was in that pillowcase? Since Troy wasn’t back I put Toby on his leash and grabbed my Pepper Spray (yes I finally bought a thing of pepper spray because I’ve had too many instances of getting chased by critters). I walked back to the spot where the pillow case was and grabbed a stick. I stood back and stared again and tried to get Toby to check it out but when it moved he freaked out and we both ran away. As we were running back home thoughts of what to do began to race through my mind. Luckily Troy was just pulling up and he could tell by the look on my face that something was wrong.
I brought Troy to where the blue pillowcase was and he called the MPs (Military Police for all you non-military lingo folks). I took Toby and the kids inside and began to pray. Of course the absolute worst immediately went through my mind so I prayed for the best. After what seemed like forever I got a text from Troy that read “it’s a cat” and I let out a sigh of relief. When Troy got home he told me that it was nerve-wracking for all of them and that the MPs expected the worst as well but were happy to report back into the station that they “let the cat out of the bag” and the kitty was well and ran off.
Yet another Liz DeLise running adventure is in the books. Even though it freaked me out I am so glad that the story has a happy ending. However, it made me think of other things and made me realize more than ever that you really need to constantly be aware of your surroundings, especially when running. You better believe that I’m going to start carrying my pack more often complete with pepper spray and cell phone just in case. My advice to you is to do the same; we’ve all read about it before in running magazines but until this evening I never really sank in. Here are a few running safety tips:
- Always make sure someone knows where you’re going and about how long you’re going to be out. Yet on the flip side, be sure not to post it all over Facebook or Twitter and to vary your running routes and times so that potential stalkers cannot easily find you.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t have your iPod blasting in your ears so that you cannot hear oncoming traffic or other critters.
- Run in well-lit areas and wear reflective clothing so you can be easily seen.
- Carry identification on you and a little bit of money in case you get in a bind or need to buy a snack or drink, etc.
- Bring your cell phone just in case. Sadly there aren’t many pay phones around anymore and even so, I’ll admit that I really don’t have many numbers memorized so even if I did get to a phone I wouldn’t know the number to dial. Plus with caller ID many people don’t answer the phone if they don’t recognize the number.
- Stay hydrated plus with all this “stuff” that you may have with you, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a CamelBak or other small running pack.
- Have fun! Don’t get too caught up in it all that you forget that running is fun and an adventure! You can be safe & have fun at the same time!