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.
mustard in the eye. genius. thanks esther.