Saturday, August 13, 2005

Scary Run

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 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.


Anonymous said...

Julie I am so glad that you are OK.

Egad I'm glad that creepy Mr. Mustang just likes to leer & show off his unmentionables. Yikes.

Scenarios like this are a major reason that I do 90% of my runs on my stupid treadmill. People scare me. Creeps are everywhere.

Be safe. You might want to invest is some pepper spray. They sell some with a permanent paint/stain in it which makes later ID of the creep easier. I'm glad that you run fast & have great endurance & that you run with your cell phone.

Take care.

Kyra said...

I'm so sorry that happened to you. You did NOT over react. I am SO TIRED of people using that term in regards to when a woman is threatened and she DOES something about it. You did right. You did perfect.

As for running with a gun - you are more likely to have your own weapon be used against you than to have it help you. But pepper spray is an excellent option, OR a "noicemaker" that blasts and blasts. Usually something that makes a huge commotion like that (even though lots of people ignore it as just another car alarm) is enough to jolt the creep out of there.

But you were already ahead of the game with your cell phone. And realize that even your own keys can be used as a defensive measure.

When I go on long runs out here, I run loops by my house, and I tell people exactly where I am going to be and when I should be back.

*major hugs* You did great!

Anonymous said...

YIKES! I agree, you did not over react! In fact, you appeared to remain very calm and collected.

I don't carry anything out there besides ID, and maybe, on a long run or ride, my mobile phone.

You just proved that we should always trust our intuition when something just doesn't seem right. Just being aware can be our best defence.

Julie B said...

Thanks Cathy, Kyra and Jessie. You guys are right. I didn't overreact. When you feel the hair on your neck prick and that panic feeling in the stomach, the legs are going to cave...something is just plain old wrong. That's the intuition saying move on out of here! So cheers to being aware of our surroundings and listening to that intuition.

Anonymous said...

The SECOND time you saw him come around you should have headed back toward your car.
I'm glad you didn't get close to the drivers side. I knew a girl who got to close when a guy asked for directions. Yes, she was pulled in abducted and raped.
Listen to your instincts. Run another day.

Anonymous said...

I don't carry any weapons when I run outside. However, I always take one or both of my German Shepherds. They pretty much make sure that people stay away from me, just with their presence.

Perhaps you can teach Topaz to snarl at lunatics like Mr. Mustang.

Glad you are safe.