Tuesday, June 22, 2010

safety first

i love running in san luis.

i can't tell you how many times i've been so ready to dedicate an entire blog to all the sights and scents that spell home to me. from the smell of wet asphalt at my old elementary, to the myriads of all those flowers i don't know the names of (yes i still pay $100 a month for the B.S in horticulture i received at cal poly).

SLO has it all, and then some.

today that 'some' came in the form of my personal safety. for those of you that are female, who run or hike, personal safety is never far from your mind. i have lots of friends who only run/hike with someone else, or carry pepper spray, or some other form of defense-- but then there are those of us, myself included, who are naive enough to think that they are immune to any sort of calamity. its SLO after all right?!

i live in osos. i do most of my running in osos. MDO is my backyard and it doesn't get much better trail running than out here. of course there have been a few isolated cases of attack in the park, but for the most part it feels pretty darn safe- our biggest threat being ticks, snakes and oak. i've had my run in with all three, including the time a baby rattlesnake blocked my path and i had to be rescued by st. francis of montana de oro, or as i later found out the checker on aisle 4 at trader's. but that's another story for another time. i'm used to the park, and when i get my music goin' and my stride dialed, i rarely feel frightened, or consumed by the idea that mariska hargitay will have to discover my body later.

so the other day when my mom offered to watch the kids so i could go on a run, i agreed immediately. after dropping the kids off, i got my shoes on, turned up the gaga and hit the pavement. one of my old running routes from my days in SLO involves meadow park. growing up, meadow was my old stomping grounds. i had a bunch of friends in elementary school who lived there and i spent countless hours in that neighborhood doing paper routes, playing softball, and hiding in the bushes to spray innocent bystanders with a water main. there were some good times for sure. so when i passed the obligatory homeless man i didn't think much of it, till a few hundred meters up i thought, that guy wasn't just collecting cans in his shopping cart- there was more- he had that look that crazy couldn't contain. it gave me a little shiver as i made my way onto the path in meadow park. of course just as i turn the corner i almost hit another (male) runner, and then we do that super awkward like who's gonna take the lead bit- there are only two of us on this single track path, and i'm having thoughts like 'if i'm in front he'll probably attack me from behind, if only my hand could automatically turn into a switchblade when i'm provoked...' you know all the normal stuff. once i safely get away from him, i notice a 'work crew'- you know the kind. yeah, the CMC kind. of course they are hardly working and seemingly very loosely supervised. i keep going, and just as i'm getting ready to exit the park altogether and get back on the road, i see a creepy white van that unfortunately i've seen at other parks one to many times. next time i see it, i'm totally calling the cops. i'm not one to judge *ahem* but that thing has got amber alert written all over it. i tell you what, i'll take the cat ladies any day in their ratty ol station wagon parked in front of meadow park. at least they loved animals, even if they were the reason the show 'hoarders' came to be. so i make it out of the park, back on the roads, and have a pretty uneventful rest of the run beside some questionable rabid dog that i was convinced would attack if i ran by to fast. but then i remembered i have that fear every time i run by a dog after being 'for real' attacked while running when i lived in ediburgh.

so the rest of the way to my mom's house i thought about how i could prepare myself next time for all of these 'situations.' and then it came to me... a flash of pure genius. picture it, me 12 years old, in a hot sweaty building near franks famous hot dogs. the room was packed to the gills of women of all ages from 15-75 all awaiting their chance. 'next up, we have connie mcnoble...' i hear someone shout. everyone starts cheering. i wait anxiously as my mom comes out with her war cry. next thing i know a huge thing comes chasing after her- likely a man dressed in a hockey/football combo uniform with what looks like an nasa astronaut mask on his face. next thing i know my mom is hi-ya-ing and ka-booming this fool. the crowd goes wild. my mom has him pinned... all 110 lbs of her. handled. i'm confused, but incredibly proud. who can forget... model mugging.


no, that's not dark vador, just your local model mugger.


so the real question i know you are dying to ask... am i going to re-start a chapter locally? i know, so very tempting, but even with all my free time, i think i'm gonna pass. in the meantime we gotta figure out a way to stay safe in this urban jungle called SLO. so here's where you come in...

'how do you best protect yourself when you go running or hiking by yourself?'



i copied this idea from my favorite blogger of all time cuz she's kind of a genius and i want to be just like her when i grow up and or be her comment of the day... wink wink.



comment of the day: i read a kids book in middle school where the heroine used ground mustard; she tossed it into the attackers' eyes. i'm carrying a li'l bag until i can get a dog. or a tazer.
-esther jane

mustard in the eye. genius. thanks esther.

14 comments:

zaiahbird said...

Uh my best way to stay safe is NEVER GO RUNNING IN MEADOW PARK!!! that place is sooo ghetto and crawling with perverts, and CMC workers, and scary homeless men. I say stick with your San Luis Bay Drive Route.

The Avilas said...

Um

I actually took a class like that and took Jui-Jitzu so I feel totally prepared for those situations. Of course I never run, so I guess I'm just waiting for the random raging person in line at marshalls !

Jenn

Brandon said...

You need to tap into your inner Chumash.

esther jane said...

this ? came up for me this morning when, around 5:45, some dude in sunglasses and indiana-jones hat takes 2 pics of me running toward him as he sits in his white cadi at the intersection - and then floors it. creeped me out more that i care to admit. i read a kids book in middle school where the heroine used ground mustard; she tossed it into the attackers' eyes. i'm carrying a li'l bag until i can get a dog. or a tazer.

Kristen said...

Those "cat ladies" you mentioned...are you by chance refering to the creepy women who used to hang around Laguna Lake (and various other parks) in the 1980's and early 90's??? I am having total flashbacks to being a kid and being very, very creeped out and disturbed by them. They had their station wagon packed to the roof with trash, etc. I would love to know if those are the same women you are thinking of...

Holls said...

you know it kristen, they were kind of the original homeless of slo. they were everywhere with all their trash, and cats, and facial hair. i kinda miss them sometimes.

Trisha said...

Get a dog that looks scary..pepper spray??People will be creeps for sure! I am so trusting its bad. I go places that I shouldn't. I remember a few years back I was running out in osos..on Santa ynez..kinda ghetto in parts over there. Some dude kept following me in his car and talking to me..It was a great work out, cuz I ran fast to the nicer part of town..anyhow. People be weird out there. I never go anywhere with out Odus now. I have pepper spray, but I forget it all the time. But Brandon has a point-gotta tap that inner Chumash..

Erin said...

I never ever run alone. Not anymore. As soon as I heard about that chic getting attacked under a bridge by AG high school I was done with running alone. So for now, I run with my little brother, or I go to the gym and run on the stupid dreadmill. And I'm anxiously waiting for our pit bull to be big enough to run... then I'll feel really safe:) So my answer to avoiding being attacked... never run alone. Too many women do this and it's scares the crap out of me.

The Schmidts said...

I have one of those water bottles that strap onto my hand. The strap has a pocket on it and I carry my cell phone in it. It is something at least. -Rhiannon

Marc said...

Don't run alone, and learn some HIyAA!

A.M.H. said...

i loved running in meadow park. actually, i remember doing the awkward running dance with you once there, and rather than humbly let you take the lead i think i tried to keep up. not my best idea.

i usually run with a bob stroller and a fluffy 17 pound dog - not sure if they are protection or a huge target.

ParadisoPerDue said...

I always carry my cell phone. I do get nervous, but I do all of my jogging on the beach and the beach I go to has houses right there. I always just hope that if something happens someone in the houses will hear me. The weirdest thing to happen while I was jogging on the beach one time was: NO ONE was on the beach with me and I'm halfway down the length of the beach and I see a lone man in the surf. as I got closer I saw that he was completely naked and washing his clothes in mid thigh high water. it was so strange. I called someone right away and chatted til I was well away from where he was. He hadn't seen me and I didn't want to know how this crazy man would react to me seeing him starkers. good ol' Morro Bay. :)

The McCabe's said...

ha! I knew something was up with that place. Will & I took the kids there a couple of weeks ago for a "picnic." yea, that was not pleasant for me at all...a couple of creepy men just hanging out right there by the playground. sketchy.

as for safety for me? I def won't be running through Meadow Park anytme soon :). I usually hang out here in Osos, and I run with one of those little maze things that fit right in the palm of your hand. I feel sort of safe unless it's a windy day. then things can get tricky.

Team Calamond said...

concealed weapons permit, you can find a pretty small gun out there to strap on!