Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Morning Runs

I don't talk about this very much, but around this time of year it bothers me. So I will today.

I like running in the morning, but not alone. And not outside.

Which is kind of sad, because I hate running inside. I hate that I've been on my treadmill the past 2 weeks, when it's perfectly nice outside. I hate that I've been riding on my trainer, with a fan pointed on me, when it's a gorgeous morning outside. Sometimes I'll let it slip, that I've been in my basement already, when it's just September, and people ask me why. And I say because I don't want to risk a flat at o'dark thirty and be late for work. Which, is kind of true.

But that's not the real reason.

When I'm alone, anywhere, but especially in the morning for some reason, it bothers me more. I don't feel safe. Which is often silly, as I live in a very safe neighborhood. Nothing ever happens here, right? Except that's what everyone said before it happened.

A jogger found her. In the morning. Someone jogging, alone, found her. I know, it's wasn't completely a random thing. I shouldn't be worried 20 years later. She was targeted, he had contacted her before, she was only 10 and she fell for the oldest line in the book, blah, blah, blah. But for some reason, around this time of year, I remember it again, and it bothers me.

I just remember that day, the day the principal came in to tell us they found her, because her brother was in my grade--what we all sort of knew but didn't want to hear--and that it was a jogger. In the morning.

My close friends will tell you I'm skiddish alone, and in the dark. I drove a few of my friends and housemates nuts in college, constantly nagging them to lock the doors, lock the doors, all the time hearing "but nothing ever happens here...."

It's just very sad, because, well, we're going on twenty years here. And a small part of me feels like I have almost twenty years of fear that I wouldn't have had otherwise. And, of course, anger. Because she would have turned 30 later this year.

Anger that he's still out there, as far as we know.

So, unless someone wants to join me, I'll be in the basement a lot here for a while. I'll miss some great sunrises, and maybe someday I will be able to be a jogger in the morning.

But not right now.


Tamara said...

Sara ~ It is sad, but you're so not alone. I grew up in safe suburban Columbus but when I moved to DC at the age of 21 my parents were paranoid and passed it alone to me. 14 yrs later, I'm still uneasy about running or riding before dawn or after dusk. I read others talking about the joy of running and watching the sunrise, and I'm envious of their naivete. Do what's safe and best for you and your boys!

Wil said...

If anyone understands this one sis I do. I don't know if it ever goes away, that fear, but at some point along the way it gets easier, I know that. I'll call ya later today to check on ya :)

TrainingtoTri said...

Oh I hear you. I get totally spooked running alone in the morning and if I do it alone, which is rare, I stick to the main street and run on the sidewalk under the streetlamps, instead of in the lovely park like I do when running with someone else.

I put an ad on craigslist last year looking for runners in my area and was able to hook up with 2 other people and we ran all winter together. You might try that?

Spandex King said...

Oh! Morning running! You scared me for a minute. I thought it was, well, ya know, morning RUNS! lol

Wes said...

Ya know Sarah. That's perfectly cool. You need a training partner. I, for one, believe you can never be too careful, and that holds especial true for the female gender, Ironman or no. I constantly worry about my wife and daughter. They have to be aware of their situation all the time. All it takes is one lapse in judgment for something bad to happen. This is a classic case of "ounce of prevention". Be safe, be happy. Rock your training :-)

Michelle said...

Sara - I totally get this. I grew up in a very safe neighborhood and I live in a safe neighborhood...but I am always thinking back to Adam Walsh. I was little but I remember the news and It freaked me out. If I run alone in the daytime, I have to call when I get to the park and then call when I get back to my car and then I also freak everyone out if I change my route or decide to run longer, etc... Keep up the safety chic!

Alili said...

You are definitely not alone. I rode inside just the other day. Every night when I get in to bed I insist that my husband double check all of the doors and windows. When I see someone out running alone in the cool of the morning I am envious that they are running in such a serene setting. Next time you jump on the trainer at o' dark thirty, know that you've got company in Michigan.

tryathlete said...

I live in a nice neighborhood, but when I've gone running in the mornings sometimes I've encountered last night's drunks. (In this country pubs can open for 24-hours.) Most of the time they can barely move straight, but I've had one or two close calls.

Part of me feels like I won't risk running when it's too late/early or too dark - no telling what will happen - yet another part feels it's a disproportionate sort of paranoia. Still, safe not sorry, I suppose.

Why not vary it a bit - after 5-10 minutes of warm-up, do two minutes fast on the treadmill/bike, then one set of squats/pressups/jumping jacks, and repeat. That's less monotonous, and it's something you can say is more suited for the basement than out in the street.

Steve Stenzel said...

I wish we were neighbors. I love morning runs, and we could go together. Seriously.

BTW, with the title of this post, I was ready for a bad GI story. Maybe Chipotle or Taco Bell related. But no. Just running.


BuckeyeRunner said...

I am with you on this one. Especially now with a kid. I have started carrying pepper spray on runs and walks. Too many horrible stories in our neighborhoods and metroparks not too. Stay safe.

Kim said...

i would love to run with you in the ams! so move to boston ;)

Cliff said...


Too bad u don't live where i live or vice versa...I will run w/ you. I got up today at 4:20 am to go for a lonn grun.

it is very sad..and better to be safe than be sorry.

TriCajun said...

Sad but true. I worry about my wife and four daughters and never let them run alone in the early mornings or late evenings.

Jill Costantino said...

Just reading your blog - great stuff. Congrats on your accomplishements.

Siren said...

I don't blame you. Aside from being skittish about something maybe happening to me, I seen enough Law & Order to know it's always the morning joggers finding things you don't want to find.