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Well, again, two of those women I mentioned were walking/hiking in very UN-populated areas. One was in the North Georgia mountains which is as pristine and natural a setting as you can imagine. Nowhere near the city with its criminal element. A drifter who preys on women had waylaid her on the trail out in the middle of nowhere. The other gal - the one they just found the remains of yesterday - was near her parents home in a small, rural area. She was literally walking down a country road when a car drove up behind her and snatched her. (She was on the cell phone with her boyfriend when it happened. He heard her plead with the kidnapper as she was abducted and he couldn't do anything to stop it. Chilling.) In both these cases the perp was a "loner" who was stalking women in isolated areas. Not a street thug who commits a crime of opportunity.
So although I agree that we can't live our lives in fear over every unknown, it doesn't hurt to maintain awareness that these things can happen ANY place at ANY time. Just don't let your guard down.
I make sure that I run with my cowdog any time that the hubby can't come, but she is overly protective. And, I make a BIG deal of hauling on the harness and talking to her. "good girl, come on, leave them alone" and it does a great job of keeping people at a distance. She growls and her hair spikes up, right up until I tell her it's okay. She's really good at relaxing as soon as she's told, but I wouldn't want to surprise her. She is fairly big at 48 lbs and I put a reflective harness on her so she's more visible than I am even.
I also have an armband that I put my cell phone in and a pepper spray the clips right on it, and can be slipped off easily. It also has a strap on it that you can put around your palm so you don't have to really hold onto it, but it's right there in place. I'll pull it off the armband if anything worries me. I also think it would be great for loose or stray dogs, wether to keep them from me or from my dog.
I will also pull the phone out and call someone if there's anything suspicious. To me it's just a "someone knows exactly where I am right this second" thing. Makes me feel better, if it it does mean slowing down to a walk for a couple minutes.
If there's really a crazy out there, none of those things will stop them, but in most cases as someone else has already said, they want an easy target, and everything you can do to make yourself seem a little tougher has to help!
Good thread, I'm looking into it as well so I've had some interesting reading here!
PB 5k (training): 25:32, PB 10K (training): 56:05, PB 20k: 1:55:13, PB half marathon: 2:01:32
4/2/2011 Prague International Half Marathon 2:03:37
6/04/2011 Silva Nortica Trail Half Marathon 2:14:54
6/18/2011 Olomouc Half Marathon
8/14/2011 Zebrak 25K
Not faster, but farther. Not catch up, but hunt down.
I read through the thread and there are some really great ideas. But, one idea that I haven't seen is something you can do in addition to your running program. Take a self-defense class. Better yet, make a martial arts program something you do to cross train. Being married to a police officer and a Krav Maga instructor (Israeli martial arts), he advised me of many of the suggestions that have been mentioned. Definitely knowing the area in which you run, time of day, surroundings, noticing who has cars in parking lots or drive-ways, etc. are all very important. And having pepper spray, a compact baton, or a cell phone with you when you run are all great too. However, arming yourself with strong basic self defense skills could always help the situation.
I am glad to see this thread. I have experienced two incidents since I started running in July, once during the day and the other at night. Each time I was within 10 minutes of home. Lately, I have had to run after dark and I have been pretty jumpy. My husband has offered to give me pepper spray to carry with me. I don't really want to carry a cell phone, pepper spray and my ipod. Tonight I took my dog with me and ran on the sidewalk along a busy street. It was a relief to have her with me.
7/5/10 -Started C25K
9/4/10 -Finished C25K
First 5K: Hoosiers Outrun Cancer 5K - 34:50
I don't know what I would do without my armband. It has a holder build in for a phone (iphone, droid type) and it is adjustable and stretchy so I can put it on snug and it doesn't move or bounce around. Then I clip the pepper spray onto it. And I have some songs on my phone, but I can also put the old style nano ipod in the pouch with the phone (or I can clip the new style nano onto it). I also tuck a key to the truck in behind the phone. It's stretchy enough that it will hold all three without a problem, leaving my hands free.