After our run-in with scary dogs & guys hollering at us last week, my dad went ahead & got my running buddy Jamie & I some mace. Of course I feel like, "Ohhhhh daaaaad..." BUT it's a great idea. Even if I never use it I'll feel more comfortable having it when I'm running alone, or when we accidentally re-route ourselves to a sketchy part of town. We wanted to avoid that for this week's long run, so Jamie & I met at a nice park with a fitness path that had a lot of loops & was full of runners, cyclists, & families walking six abreast (scoot over please!). We had a great time talking about things that won't be divulged here, laughed, & did not come across any perverts or weirdos (apart from a guy who was roller-blading & singing at the top of his lungs). It's a good thing because I had not yet picked up the mace from my dad's house. We have a half marathon next weekend, so Jamie ran 13 with me & since my knees are feeling fantastic now I went ahead & finished my scheduled long run of 18 miles. They say that 18 is the magic number, meaning that if you can run 18 miles physically & mentally you can run 26.2. We held a consistent pace, felt fantastic, & I finished fast & strong. I couldn't be happier with my training than I am right now.
I left the park feeling awesome, & headed directly to the grocery store on the way home to pick up my 20 pound bag of ice for the ice bath, some beer, & bananas. The standard, I call it, & staples for every runner. It was a pretty cool morning, but was warming up, so I left my warm up pants in the car, put on my jacket & headed in to the store. Enter the split shorts: thin, nylon shorts that are split up each side & are build for performance. So I run in to get my items, & surprisingly in the liquor section I hear someone say "You have nice legs...would you mind flexing your calf muscles for me?" I turn to see a strange looking man in his 40's, who was visibly excited & nervous, & looked like he didn't get out much. I said, "No, & you're f*ing weird." & I walked away. I'm certain that he watched me & my shorts walk all the way down the aisle, & I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. Here is a composite sketch of the individual in question:
I headed straight to the checkout, where I spotted the store manager. I told him about my run-in & was able to identify the pervert. The manager walked over to the guy, asked him to leave his things & exit the store. After watching the guy drive off, the manager then walked me to my car. Women get in these situations all the time & it's horrible. He didn't threaten me, or invade my space, but I was still violated. If I had my mace with me & used it I would be the one breaking the law. I understand that I was wearing decidedly flimsy shorts in a public place, but in no way was I "asking for it" or anything that he must have been thinking. While what I said to him probably wasn't smart in hindsight, it was my first reaction & I hope it sent a message to him that I wasn't afraid of him & that he could take his comments & shove 'em. Anyway, I went home & continued to have all kinds of different emotions. We're down to joking about it now, but I hope I never see that guy around here again.
In conclusion, be careful out there. Guys too. There are a lot of crazies out in the world & the more you're out there the more likely you are to encounter them. Even though, with our tights & headlamps, we may look like our own personal super-hero, most of us wouldn't know what to do if we were attacked. I'm glad I have my mace & hope I never have to use it.