In Broad Daylight

Happy Wednesday! Today is my work holiday party, woot! I got my boss the best, most fitting gift! I’ll have to share a pic of it here after he opens it!

Today I just want to talk about running safety for a minute because we should all be running as safely as possible! I’m not going to bore you with tips you’ve probably read before, instead I’ll just tell you a story.

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During the summer I am lucky enough to get to run during the daylight on weeknights. My normal route is always filled with lots of other runners and it’s, in my opinion, pretty safe.

During the winter I run in the dark a lot, but there are still always lots of people out because I live in the downtown / beach area which is heavily populated. When I run in the dark I don’t listen to music unless I’m around LOTS of other people. I keep my eyes and ears peeled for anything weird. I’m guessing you probably do that too!

Yesterday I was reading Jesica’s post about runner safety in which she mentions the story of a friend of hers who was attacked and groped by a stranger in broad daylight while running on regular neighborhood streets.

I honestly never really thought about being attacked in the daylight in an area where there are other people around. If you’re like me, you probably imagine being attacked in much more sinister conditions.

This got me thinking … while I’ve never been physically attacked I have had an unpleasant encounter and it happened in broad daylight too.

Last summer when I was marathon training I was running along the beach in the late afternoon; plenty of other people were at the beach at that time.

As I was nearing the far end of the beach I ran past what I believe was a homeless person and he yelled out, “hey girl, nice titties!”

Charming.

The far end of the beach is more secluded than the main area, but it’s still not an area that I would ever think to feel unsafe. However, after that encounter I didn’t run down to that part of the beach again for months. I stuck to the much more populated central area of the beach.

Luckily for me I had noticed the guy in advance and had dropped off the sidewalk and was running a few feet away from him when I passed, but who knows what could have happened if I didn’t. Maybe instead of a verbal encounter he might have tried to grab me. I’ll never know, and I’m glad for that.

My story is nothing compared to what Jesica’s friend endured, but what strikes me is that they both happened during times and in places that we all would generally feel safe. 

I guess I’m just writing all of this as a reminder to myself (and you) to not let your guard time. I used to never run with music, and then I switched to listening music but with only one ear bud, and now sometimes I put both ear buds when I’m not at risk of being hit by a car.

I’m thinking about going back to running without music just to make myself more aware of my surroundings.

I’m also going to let Adam teach me basic self defense. He trains in MMA and is very well versed in how to protect yourself. He’s asked me to learn several times in the past and I’ve always shrugged it off, but now I’m ready to learn.

Adam says all it will take is one hour per weekend for a month and I’ll have all the basics down to where I can feel confident if I’m ever in a bad situation. Hopefully that will never happen though.

I urge you to also learn self defense if you don’t already.

Remember that pepper spray and other weapons are only good if you know how to use them, and that they can easily be used against you.

Here are some tips from Road Runners of America for running safety.

Also, on Jesica’s advice I have ordered myself a Sabre Personal Alarm. It’s currently on sale for just $6 (with free shipping if you have Amazon Prime).

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The personal alarm comes in red, pink and black. I ended up getting the red one after learning that Sabre will make a donation to RAINN for every red personal alarm sold. RAINN is the Rape, Abuse and Incest Network.

If you’re still looking for a holiday gift to get a runner friend, or yourself, this is it!

Stay safe, my friends!

What safety precautions do you take when running? Do you run with a personal alarm? Ever take a self defense class?

28 comments

  1. Heather @ GirlGoesRunning

    You are so right! Everyone keeps giving me heck, or showing me they care, lol…by telling me not to run in the dark. The problem is that I am at work for the daylight hours. I never considered getting attacked in daylight before! I like the idea of a runner alarm though.
    Heather @ GirlGoesRunning recently posted…Canadian Blogger Christmas Swap Round 2!My Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      I’m in the same boat! During the winter by the time I get home from work it’s already dark out, and it’s still dark out in the morning when I get up. If I wanted to run in the daylight I could only run for about 20 minutes before work which is not enough time. I am looking forward to my alarm getting here. It’s a small token of safety but from what I’ve read if you can call attention to yourself quickly you are more likely to go unharmed.

  2. Staci @ Hoosier Running Mom

    OMGracious! The things people say and do! I read Jesica’s friends story earlier this year and holy cow!! The thing that really bothered me was the other women. They had seen the guy tailing her!! Why not let her know?? I am super glad the guy that was inappropriate with you just spoke. That is bad enough though. We shouldn’t have to worry while we are trying to enjoy our day by doing something we love! It is a crazy world out there sometimes!
    Staci @ Hoosier Running Mom recently posted…New Challenges and snacksMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Yes yes yes! I was appalled that the other women noticed him and didn’t try to let her know until after the fact. Or maybe they did and that part was left out of the story, but yeah, such an awful thing to happen!

  3. Amanda @ Slimplify Life

    This is such an important topic! I always run with my phone for safety reasons and I’ve given up running in the dark!
    Amanda @ Slimplify Life recently posted…Rice Krispy Treats (Gluten Free)My Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      I always run with my phone too, but I keep it in an armband where it’s zippered in… not sure how fast I could get to it if I needed to. I used to hold my phone in my hand, maybe I should go back to that. Hmm!

  4. Hanna

    Man….shudder! I’m glad your creeper only spoke to you. Hopefully these stories about people getting attacked/harrassed in the daylight will make all of us take running safety at ALL hours a little more seriously!

    My biggest safety precautions are that when I have to run outside at night (try to avoid it if at all possible), I run on the sidewalks along busy, crowded streets. I live and work in a city near a lot of arterial roads so this is easy for me. Yes, it sucks having to deal with the traffic and stoplights but it’s a small price to pay for feeling a little bit safer. I also run at times when there are still a lot of people around (right after work). I avoid quiet areas like parks and even “safe” residential neighborhoods at all costs. It’s weird, last year when I was training for my first half marathon in the winter I was fearless about running in the dark. Now I keep hearing these stories, plus I’ve been spoiled by summer/fall running, and I just don’t want to run at night at all.
    Hanna recently posted…Kill Your Darlings: My 2015 Running GameplanMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      I know exactly what you mean! During marathon training I just got up and got the run in, I never really worried too much. I guess we had tunnel vision and were super focused on our goals!

  5. Lorraine

    Thanks for your safety post!!! An eye opener!
    Lorraine recently posted…From Green to White..My Profile

  6. running schlub

    Great post. I’m looking into this RIGHT NOW for Mrs. S.
    running schlub recently posted…Review of 2014 RacesMy Profile

  7. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    This is such an important topic, and one that we should always keep coming back to even if we have read about it a million times before. I run with a personal alarm, and while it makes me feel a little better I still am constantly paying attention to whats going on around me when Im running.
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Fruits And Veggies And Weird Eating Habits (WIAW)My Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      I hear ya! I have noticed it’s become a lot easier for me to pay attention to my surroundings now that I’m a more experienced runner. When I first started running I was always paying attention to my discomfort or trying to zone out or whatever, but now I’m much more focused on what’s going on.

  8. Megan @ Meg Go Run

    Why do guys think it is okay to yell “nice titties” at a girl? Who the hell raised them??? If I were his parents, I would be MORTIFIED by his behavior.

    I should get pepper spray. I think I asked for it for Christmas… if not, I will use my Christmas money and buy some. It is ridiculous to not have it, as it is such a small/easy thing to carry.

    There is a really good book called The Gift of Fear, which I highly recommend. It is by a former FBI agent (I think… something like that!) and he gives real case examples of people who either followed their intuition about potentially dangerous situations/people, and people who DIDN’T follow their intuition. It is a fascinating book, all about how FEAR really protects us.
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Standing Up for Female Runners (How I taught a douchey teenager a lesson!)My Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      I know, right?! I just keep thinking that maybe he was mentally handicapped and didn’t know / realize he was being so rude and obnoxious.

      I will have to check out that book, it sounds like a captivating read!

      I try to always follow my intuition. When I see homeless people I feel bad about skirting around them because I don’t want to be rude and I think most of them are likely harmless, but you never know. I mean you never know about anyone loitering around, not just the homeless!

  9. Lauren @ The Foodie Runner

    In high school I took RAD (rape aggression defense) as a PE class and I definitely feel so much safer knowing how to protect myself if anything bad was ever to happen out on a run. Also, I hardly ever run in the dark, mainly because I’m really afraid of the dark, and always carry my cell phone so I can call for help if necessary!
    Lauren @ The Foodie Runner recently posted…This Year in Running: 2014My Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      That’s so awesome that your school offered RAD. I wish I had the opportunity to take such a class in high school!

      I carry my cell phone too but it’s usually in my armband so I’m not sure it would do me a lot of good in an emergency where I need to get to it fast.
      Kristina @ Blog About Running recently posted…Catching Up!My Profile

  10. Jess

    Taking a self-defense class is one of my “no excuses, must do this ASAP” tasks. (It’s just hard finding one – they fill up FAST around here!) I think I blogged about this but someone was brutally assaulted and murdered in one of the metro parks in a nice, well-to-do suburb here in Columbus over the summer, and we had an issue at another metro park where several people were molested. So scary. I basically never run on the train system or in the metro parks anymore, and I’m even kind of weird about running downtown unless it’s broad daylight. (Though, as you know, broad daylight doesn’t really mean anything / doesn’t necessarily make it safer.) I had a weird incidence over the summer where some guy was taking photos of me as I ran and kept turning around to see where I was.

    I never run with headphones, so I try to take in noises and things around me. The area I live in is pretty safe and most of the time you see kids walking around by themselves after school or parents running with strollers (insane) and dogs. I try to make eye contact with people I encounter, and I find that helps.

    I need to buy one of those Sabre alarms and some pepper spray as well. They’re so inexpensive and very worth it. (As for the pepper spray, I have unfortunately had some scary incidents with dogs off their leashes and someone recommended that pepper spray may be a way to escape if I get stuck.)
    Jess recently posted…Run the Bluegrass Training Week 1My Profile

  11. Lizzy

    This is terrifying. I’ll be honest, it’s one of the reasons why I don’t run with music, even though I usually run in daylight. Fortunately, I’ve never had any problems, but unfortunately I feel like verbal harassment is so common that it’s only a matter of time before it happens.

    Stay safe out there everyone!
    Lizzy recently posted…Training Tuesday – 3 months to goMy Profile

  12. karen

    Pepper spray! I do carry pepper when I run on the trail and in the mornings when it’s dark. The stuff burns and should give you a chance to get away if needed. I have been robbed in the afternoon in a grocery store, there is no “safe” place really. When someone sees opportunity who thinks that way they will often make an impulsive decision and grab you, very hard to prepare for. No one even reacted when I was robbed inside the store, I think shock took over… it shocked me, but luckily my husband was outside. I got my self together and started screaming and he knew when he heard me, he ended up catching him and the robber still had my pocket book in his hands, i was fortunate that time. I will tell you, hubby was a police officer for years and robbers and gropers are on the prowl all the time, happens so much more than what one would think.
    karen recently posted…Training TeamMy Profile

  13. Carmy

    What a coincidence! Great minds really do think alike haha I just finished my draft and scheduled my post on running safety for next week right before swinging by and seeing your post! I was chit chatting with a friend and he was horrified at my running: “is that SAFE?!” which totally inspired me to write my post. I’ve never heard of that personal alarm for runners so I’m going to have to check that out!
    Carmy recently posted…Beginner’s Guide Part 2: Benefits of Hill Workouts + TipsMy Profile

  14. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

    Ugh. I’m SO SORRY you had to deal with that. Running is our time to feel strong and own ourselves; how DARE someone step in on your time!

    When I was in college, a runner was attacked at 4pm in broad daylight right near campus. She was grabbed but was able to get away. I wasn’t a runner then, but knowing it could happen in the daytime was so scary even then.
    Ali @ Hit the Ground Running recently posted…Mail Time!My Profile

  15. LeAnne

    I have that personal alarm too and I run with pepper spray when I run early in the morning before sunrise or late at night.
    LeAnne recently posted…Wednesday’s running recap and a few words of wisdom…My Profile

  16. Jennifer

    Wow I just read both of those stories – so scary!! A good reminder not to put our guard down in daylight or in neighborhoods. I just added the alarm to my Amazon cart. Thanks for sharing Kristina.
    Jennifer recently posted…Year in Review – 2014 Running by the NumbersMy Profile

  17. Cori @ She's Going the Distance

    Dude, this is all so important.. not just wear bright clothes and stay away from secluded areas, but be AWARE of your surroundings. So important to remember especially when wearing headphones. There are days I don’t want to cross train, but I know my strength would help if I ever got caught in a bad situation–but MMA and basic self defense is one up and something I’m definitely going to look into
    Cori @ She’s Going the Distance recently posted…Shoppin’ For My-se-elf…My Profile

  18. Lou @ Running Through China

    This is horrifying stuff. Glad you will be learning self-defence. I hope you never have to use it though. I am probably too nonchalant with regards to running in the dark and nearly always by myself – but China feels like the absolutely safest country I have ever lived in and I feel very safe on my runs. The only places that I haven’t felt safe was in Malaysia, London, and sometimes in Newcastle, Australia, during the early morning times. I tend to carrying my keys and jangle them though, as a sort of warning to anyone nearby that I have something stabby on hand, and like you, would probably steer away and cross over if I thought there was likely to be someone harassing me. But in China, honestly – hassle free. The worst (and it’s not bad, its generally a good thing) that happens is a friendly ‘ni hao!’ or a surprised ‘eh? laowai??’ (=foreigner).
    It makes me so sad and angry that some scum attack others, and you’re right, in broad daylight?! Makes it more outrageous and shocking somehow. Very scary to think no passer bys would step in and help. 🙁

  19. Violet Alexandre

    Running safety is an issue close to my heart. I had a running scare a little over a year ago when my 11 month old son almost fell into an icy creek when I slipped on some black ice with him in the Bob. That said…..this experience led to RunSafe an app designed specifically around safety for runners. Here’s how you can download it http://RunSafe.me/download

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