There are a couple things in running that irritate me. One is walk/run types who stop ahead of me without notice and the other is irrational, hysterical fear of running outside (normally from females) by oneself.
It used to be in history that women never did anything by themselves. We were considered The Weaker Sex. We were good for staying home, taking care of the children, and cleaning the house. When women gained independence and free choice, it didn’t come without costs, of course in many areas. But I’m just talking about running here.
Crime in the United States is decreasing. We are safer than ever as a country. More women are running and more and more are running by themselves. This would have been unheard of in the 1960s even. But there are still many women who live in fear of being by themselves because they are glued to the nonstop storyline of how horrible it is for women.
I blame the media partially for this. They show the rare kipnapping, the attacks and recent violent crimes nightly on repeat. They do not tell you that crime numbers are declining. And even worse, are the dozens of dramatic television shows focusing on the violent abuse against women. Shows like Criminal Minds only help to magnify the myth of strangers out to prey on females. Viewers who still take their nightly news as truth believe everything fed to them. Their world looks like a monstrous, scary place. Stop watching this stuff if necessary, especially before bed. Watch some lightheated comedy instead.
Sometimes, it is the woman’s partner that exacerbates the situation. A husband tells his wife he doesn’t think it’s safe where she wants to run and unhappily, she doesn’t go running. There’s a lot at work here and definitely something that has to be talked out within the couple. All I’m going to say here is I’m very happy I’m single.
Running is about happiness to me and being fearful is the opposite. Running is also about confronting our fears and sometimes, we have to stare our fears in the face and tell them to Go The Fuck Away.
Now, I’m not saying to go run and not think. Bad things do happen, but if you run smart, you can run alone and enjoy it! Just be a smart solo runner. Here are some tips:
- Know your surroundings. If possible walk or drive around the area you wish to run if you’ve never visited it before.
- Wear visible clothing. Black may be cool, but bright colors are better.
- Turn your music down so you can hear everything around you. But it’s good to have your phone with you
- Don’t stop to give directions or chat with strangers. Pretend you didn’t hear them and keep running. As a city girl, this is something I do daily, but I don’t think country folk understand; it’s OK not to talk to everyone.
- Run in the street if it’s quiet and unnerving
- If it’s dark, always, always wear a headlamp, or some sort of light to see your way and that allows others to see you
- Run opposite of traffic
- If someone starts to bother you, scream obscenities at them, as loud as you can, attract attention
- Bring a loud whistle
- If you insist on carrying pepper spray, mace, etc, learn how to use it prior to need. Just having it won’t help if you do not have the instincts to use it in the seconds necessary.
We are Runners, not delicate flowers. Stop fearing the world. Be strong. Be fierce. And have fun.
Keep Moving Forward!