Still Running

Technically, “Still Running” is the team name I’ll be running with for Hood to Coast 2011.  But it’s apropos today because I’m still running, even though it doesn’t always feel like something I want to do.  Every time I lace up my shoes in spite of not feeling like it, I am reminded of why I run…because it frees me from the frustrations of my day.  Running allows me to escape my demons for a few miles.  But sometimes, running is also a reminder of those demons.

My preference is to go out with nothing but my headphones and running attire that makes me notice my body the least – good shoes, good seamless socks, and running shorts that don’t chafe or ride up.  And I definitely don’t like to take anyone or anything with me that I may need to talk to or listen to.  When I run, I don’t want to be a mom or an employee.  I just want to be the simplest “me” I can be.  In other words, I want to escape into the world of my head and listen to only my breath and the songs loaded up on my player.

 But these days my runs include this dude.  His name is Charlie.  He’s a Boxhound, otherwise knows as a Boxer-Greyhound-Humane-Society-Special.  He is fast, big, and very, very protective.  Which is why he runs with me these days.

I don’t particularly appreciate the fast part of my running partner as he is a sprinter and I am not.  But I do very much appreciate his size and his protection.

Because as a woman, running is never a fully safe endeavor.  Case in point, the other day I went for a run.  Charlie and I were running along at a fairly quick pace when I notice a bicyclist pass us.  It is a man on an old-school ten-speed type of bike.  At first I only register it’s a road bike and he’s not wearing a helmet or other “biking” attire.  And then he starts circling.  Every block he’d circle back so as to pass us again.  Then, he started weaving in and out of the dotted lines alongside us. Finally, he pulled ahead of us and disappeared in the traffic ahead.

I was very glad to have my big dog running alongside me during the whole thing.  While I don’t know what the bicyclist’s intent was nor what my dog would do if the bicyclist’s intent was malicious, I have a feeling that if my dog hadn’t been with me, I would not have been safe during that run.

In fact, most any activity you can think of is not particularly safe for most women at most times.

How many times have you heard this response to a female jogger slain, “well, she shouldn’t have been out so late.”  Or some version which blames the woman for the actions done to her.  When violence is done against women, too often the response is that the victim should have done something differently in order to maintain her safety.

Which gets at the real matter that keeps me running from my demons…why is it my responsibility to keep the morally impoverished from acting immorally?  Shouldn’t they be responsible for their actions?  And why oh why do we blame the victim for others’ inability to be “good”?  The result is more and more people acting without regard for others and leaving more and more people trying to put their lives back together after the fact.

I may be cracked and battered from encounters with some but I refuse to stop running.  To do so is to let them win.  So tonight, when I lace up my shoes and strap on my iPod, I’ll be getting out the running leash for my dog.  And together, we will run a few miles, exercising our muscles and our demons.

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8 thoughts on “Still Running

  1. Yikes! I’ve been told about a million times that I am too skittish about being snatched/injured/ or otherwise bothered during my early morning runs. The Mister thinks I’m being ridiculous. I might be, but I’m ready to flee from harm at just about any minute!

  2. Sounds unpleasant.
    I tend to worry more about dogs and horses – but so far I’ve not had any scrapes.

  3. This reminds me so much of something I wrote right after a late-night run during law school. I try to find it every so often, but the entry was on a blog I used for maybe a month and for which I no longer have access to the email account. I feel a little less sad about having lost it now, seeing it expressed even better here.

    Better to live, and to run toward a world in which folks no longer blame the victim for doing what she ought have been able without worrying about anything more than twisting her ankle.

  4. A) This is a little like giving compensation for folks living in tornado ally who’s house get’s destroyed by a tornado. They new it could happen, they should be prepared for the possibility. Taking responsibility for ones condition in life should be expected. If you live in the boonies you stock food in the event of getting stranded, why wouldn’t you learn how to protect yourself/ equip yourself for protection if you live in a place where you are likely to become a statistic.
    B) We already do blame the criminal, it’s called jail. We even try to prevent the criminal from ever existing, via public education systems and other normative social pressures. Sure they don’t always work. But the law is just some words written down by men, there is not a force of god behind them. There is no mystical power that will stop someone from breaking into your neighbors house and murdering them in their sleep. The law prosecutes results, it does not magically protect people.
    C) an ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure. You’re ounces happen to be carried in a brown fleshy puppy dog who stands as tall as most dudes do. As an aside, mr big brown dog is a good deterrence but I wouldn’t rely on him exclusively, he’s not trained as an attack/defense animal (to my knowledge).

    People need to be aware of the risks involved in life. You could be killed by a meteorite right this second as you’re reading this. Odds are slim, that’s why you don’t have lead roofs. But a lone woman jogging (often listening to headphones, which cuts their perception/awareness of the world around them) is a weaker target than my big dumb arse trotting down the street. Does it suck that there are pieces of shit parading around as human beings who will choose to do horrible things to other people? Yes it sucks. But society has attempted to minimize those risks as much as it can without blockading to many of your freedoms, you’ve gotta cover the rest of the distance yourself.

    –Jak

  5. Proud of ya for still running, something I don’t do. Yup, it’s scary out there and it sounds like you’re doing what can reasonably be done.

    sorry, I just got this comment done, stuff happens.

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