Most of you probably know Renee from her blog: www.skwigg.com Renee is a very well schooled in martial arts. I asked her about self defense and other matters yesterday after my 'scary' run.
I've ordered the two books that she suggests.
This is her response. We can learn from her:
How freaking scary!
Here's the thing that you learn from self-defense - your best weapon is your brain. If your brain is in high-gear, hopefully you don't ever get into that last-ditch, worst-case scenario where you have to physically fight for your life. We're taught that if you end up in a physical confrontation it means you screwed up. You didn't assess the situation right, let someone get too close, got overconfident or made some other tactical bumble.
You know that voice you heard that kept saying "You're overreacting. You're overreacting." That's the one you want to listen to. The fact that you're even having that thought means that you're in serious danger. It's like in CPR class they teach you that when someone says "I'm not having a heart attack." it means that they probably are. That denial is so universal that it's actually considered a symptom.
It would be crazy not to react because you think that you could "take" the guy with your skills (god, I can't even type that without thinking of Napoleon Dynamite, LOL) or that if you had some self-defense training you could have continued merrily down the road without feeling any fear. There's nothing to keep someone with several tons of car from running over you, or from pulling out a gun and shooting you and then raping you in the woods. You did exactly the right thing by trusting your gut, getting out of there, and calling the police. Ideally, you would have totally trusted your instincts and done it a little sooner. In an isolated area like that, the second time he passed me I would have been off the trail and into the woods, making my way back to the car and people. Yes, it's inconvenient, possibly embarrassing, probably nothing, but you don't take any chances at all when it comes to your personal safety.
There are two books you should get your hands on ASAP.
The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker
Beauty Bites Beast: Awakening the Warrior Within Women and Girls by Ellen B. Snortland
They're both great reads and very empowering and informative. Self-defense isn't just about learning some techniques to beat people up. The biggest change that happens is internal. Everything about the way you think, the way you view your surroundings and the way you carry yourself changes. I do feel more confident and less afraid, but at the same time I've learned not to take unnecessary chances. I have more street smarts. Those books are a great start for working on the mindset. I think the Ellen Snortland book has info on finding a self-defense class. If you want more help on that or have any other questions, just let me know.
I'm glad you're ok. You did good!