I was going to run a 20 mile route on the asphalt today but Topaz looked so sad that I was going to go without him, I changed my mind, grabbed Topaz and headed for the Prairie Drive Trail. This is the 7.5 gravel road loop that goes through the Wildlife Refuge; it is for automobile. They drive through the refuge.
I park my car at the visitor center, fill my water bottles with water and Hammergel Heed, grab my cell phone, Topazs' leash, keys..I'm off.
One mile into my run a guy in a brand new white Mustang goes by..no biggie. There are autos out here now and again. 15 minutes later and he drives by again. This is a 7.5 mile LOOP. Why is he driving by again? Another 15 minutes later, he drives by again and is leering out of the window. SHIT.
I can feel the hair on my arms and neck prickle. I'm listening to my intuition: this isn't good. Am I over-reacting? I call my friend Ann. Are you going to be out here to run? No, her legs are tired and she's still in bed. OK. As I'm running and talking to her I notice a pair of mens' shorts and underware in the middle of the gravel road. What the hell? Oh, maybe Mr. Mustang got out of his car to look at the Eagles and accidently kicked out a change of clothing. Maybe that is why he is driving around and around..looking for his clothes. OK, all is well now. I was over-reacting.
15 minutes later and he drives by again. I always position myself on the side of the road near the passenger side. I don't want to be near the driver. He leans over to the passenger window, rolls it down and stares..and slows down to an impossible pace. I'm at the side of the road and scared shitless. He continues on and I'm a mess.
I call home and the line is busy. I call Ann and the line is busy. Should I call the Sheriff? Am I over-reacting? No one else is driving by..maybe he's casing the place, figuring out where others are so he can get me...oh sheesh.
He drives by again. That's it. What kind of lunatic drives 40 miles in a circle like this. He's purposely scaring me. He's leering. He's awful. I call 911. I explain where I'm running, describe the car, the guy. Deputy tells me he'll send someone out to drive through and see what's going on. I tell him I was going to run 21 miles but will get to my car and get out of there.
My phone rings a few minutes later. It is the deputy. His deputy is a ways away and can't get right out there. He asks me to call him as soon as I get to my car and asks if I've seen Mr. Mustang again. No, I haven't.
I get to my car and call the deputy. I'm here safe and sound and heading out to another trail. OK. I figure that's it. The end. Who knows if I was over-reacting or not.
I get to the Blue Hill Trail for another 5 mile run to make my 20. As I'm running the phone rings. It's another deputy. He asks where I am, I tell him. He tells me that he spoke with Mr. Mustang. WHAT? You saw him? Yes, he was BACK at the Prairie Drive Trail. Oh my gosh. I would have totally lost it if I had seen him go around again. Mr. Deputy told me that Mr. Mustang has been arrested prior for indecent exposure and trespassing, that he is a 'slime ball'. He told me that he is not a sexual predator. Mr. Deputy asked Mr. Mustang why he was going around and around the Prairie Trail. He told him "I liked to look at her dogs' eyes..and her arms" Oh. My. Gawd. Mr. Deputy told Mr. Mustang to get out of there, and Mr. Deputy followed him to the County Line.
What the hell? So, was I over-reacting? I don't know.
It makes me want to run with a gun holstered around my leg.
I finished my additional 5 miles and was almost expecting to see the Mustang at the trail head.
I didn't. Thank Goodness! Ugh.
So, women runners out there: what do you carry with you while running to make you feel safe? Does anyone carry a knife, gun or weapon of some sort? How sad that we have to worry about ourselves while running by ourselves.