Running Safely

Years ago, I posted this to my blog about fear, and my gender and how the combination of the two kept me from doing certain things. From running along secluded paths and avoiding being out alone at night.

I thought these things as I set out this evening for one of three runs I’ve been averaging each week, two of which are happening more and more in the evening after dinner has been consumed and Clara is off to bed for the night.

I thought about Boston, as I ran for the people who wouldn’t be able to run anymore. About the fear and the anger and the hurt so many experienced, at the end of what was supposed to be a huge achievement, a happy occasion for so many.

I ran while the sun was setting, and the mild, sunny day started to cool.

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Fear is a funny thing, an annoying thing, a sobering thing.

I do my hill work at the early part of my run because it includes a lap around park area that’s not well lit, and would likely be dark at the end of my run. I stick mostly to well-lit, well travelled streets. My stair work is in a busy plaza and traffic is constant. When it gets too dark, I lower the volume on my head phones.

I’ve seen too many horror movies, read too many books on serial killers like Ted Bundy. I give parked vans a wide berth, would not, could not, bring myself to stop and help a injured man struggling to put a chair in a van with a cast on his arm. Hell no.

But sometimes, I still give mankind the benefit of the doubt. I want to get in just 3 or 4 or 5 more hills and I do the loop even though its darker than I like. A song comes on that I love as I turn up a darker street than normal and I can’t resist, the volume goes up, I’m suddenly oblivious to my surroundings.

I could worry, in light of the tragedy in Boston yesterday about the world that Clara is growing up in, the world that I’m spending more and more time alone in as I run through the night.

And then I don’t. Because there’s still safe roads to run on. There’s still more good people than bad. And there’s this, from Twitter today:

“Good to remind children: there’s more good than bad in this world- more light than darkness & that THEY can make more light #bostonmarathon” (@peterhreynolds).

I run so that Clara will run. I’ll be (mostly) smart about my safety so she’ll be smart. And I won’t be fearful, so she won’t either. And I’ll show her that there’s more good than bad in this world.

When the skies start to darken, I won’t run in fear. I’ll just run.

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