Thursday, March 15, 2012

Attack of the Cacti: On Running in the darkness

Do you ever run in the dark? How do you do with it? Are you comfortable, and just enjoy the peacefulness & anonymity? Or are you scared of the dark?

I try to be badass.

I try to be fearless.

I tell my husband "Pepper spray - schmepper spray" "alarm system? Sch-larm system" when he tells me to be aware of my surroundings.

But really? Let's be honest. This lady is scared of the dark.

Today I went for a run in my neighborhood for the 1st time ever in the dark. Usually when I work out before I go to work, it's still dark out. Therefore, I light weights in our "home gym" or I use a tredmill @ my gym.

(may I add we live in a ridiculously safe, mostly retired, community...)

But today I decided it's time to wear some reflective gear, wear my head-light, and carry some pepper spray & a cell phone.

Sounds like I was armed, right?

Didn't feel so. I was a nervous wreck. My first encounter was when I heard footsteps, and I started saying OUT LOUD "Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God!!" (I thought for sure it was an attacker)

No, it was just a fellow runner.

Then I saw an tall being standing in the desert off my running trail. I got my pepper spray cap off, ready to aim in case he attacked me. I thought to my self, "WITHOUT DOUBT this is either a sex offender or a javelina"

A javelina is a wild pig which habitate in the Sonoran Desert. I don't know which is worse to get attacked by....

Then as I got close and ready to attack, I realized it was a cactus. And this is where I realized I'm hypervigilant and need to take a "chill pill"

I think the root of this issues is my community's lack of street lights. My community doesn't allow street lights so the citizens to see the beautiful stars and save on energy. Great concept....pain in the ass.

So how do you protect yourself while running, walking, biking, exploring out in the wild? Really, we should have ourselves "armed" in some manner. You never know what/who's out there!


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I used to run in the dark when I lived in my Bloomington condo. I rarely saw people, I mostly saw things like deer. One morning, a deer jumped out in front of me on the running path and it scared the crap out of me! Yikes. Since then I haven't ran in the dark much. I did do some after-work runs in the dark, but i did it on a running path that is pretty well lit, so I felt pretty safe. I hate running in the dark, though. My pace feels off and I just don't like it in general, so I can totally relate. You are smart to carry pepper spray!

Jess said...

I actually used to run in the dark quite often, especially when I was training for a half marathon in the winter - given our limited daylight, I really didn't have too much of a choice, unfortunately! This winter though, I've been less inclined to run in the dark because the sidewalks where I live now are quite icy and the last thing I really want is a twisted ankle from not seeing where I was going.

I must admit - you almost attacking a cactus did amuse me.

Marlys said...

I've always worried about you running out in the desert area of Arizona knowing what crazy characters linger in those areas! I'm glad you are more aware of this and that Ryan reminds you to be careful! It's a dangerous world out there, my dear! I wouldn't run in the dark!

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

I run in the dark MORNINGS pretty often and it doesn't bother me at all. I live in a good neighbourhood that is also a pretty busy neighbourhood so there is a decent amount of traffic / other people out and it's well lit. Running in the dark NIGHTS freak me out though, not sure why.

I only carry my cell phone and try to wear bright clothing! I'm sure I could be safer...