Running SafetyMonday morning I was out for a short recovery run after 16 miles on Sunday and around mile 2.7 a homeless man started yelling at me. I was on a part of road where I had to go straight or turn back (no side streets to take) and he was about 150 feet in front of me. His words were extremely threatening and aggressive, and the following thought process happened:

Can I outrun him?

When I turn by him my house is on that road and I don’t want him to see where I live, where else should I go? What is open at 7:30 a.m.?

If he starts to run toward me do I try to run away, or do I have something on me to fight him off with?

I ended up turning onto my street, and he came down my way a little bit and was still yelling (which I appreciated since it let me know where he was without turning around and looking!) I ran off onto a side street and immediately called the police’s non-emergency line. Thankfully nothing more serious happened, but it certainly got me thinking about how safe I am when I go out for runs.

Last October I wrote an article on running safety tips after one of the women in my marathon training group was hit by a car on her run. This incident on my run Monday has inspired me to re-share some of those tips, and add a few new ones.

1. Run against traffic. It amazes me how many people I see running with traffic. The rule of the road is run against it, and it helps you keep an eye on oncoming cars better.

2. Don’t use headphones. I know this wont be a popular opinion, but I really don’t give a shit about being popular. Running without headphones allows me to hear cars coming around a corner before I see them, and I can hear if someone is coming up behind me. These are two pretty important things you need to be able to do to stay safe while running.

3. Carry your phone and some form of ID. I take my phone on every single run. When I first got my garmin I thought it would be nice not having my iPhone on my arm anymore (since I used to use RunKeeper) but I don’t feel safe without having my phone on me. I’ve tripped and banged myself up pretty badly, and almost had to call someone to come get me. It’s also handy if you have some creeper harassing you so you can call the police (btw – find out your local police departments non-emergency line and put it in your phone NOW.)

4. Know the names of the streets you often run on. When I called the police and they asked me where the man was my mind went completely blank. I rattled off what I thought were the two streets that intersected where it happened but they called me back a minute later to say those streets don’t intersect! If you are injured, or need emergency assistance for any reason, you likely won’t be thinking clearly and you need to know where to tell people to find you.

5. Vary up your route and the time you run. I’ve had people in the neighborhood comment on how they always see me on certain days/times, and I know they don’t mean anything by it, but some people may see my pattern of behavior as an opportunity. Don’t let them get that opportunity.

Finally – if you run at night always wear a light, if you really feel unsafe consider running with pepper spray, and if something doesn’t feel right listen to your gut!

Have any other safety tips to add?
Have you ever had anything happen to you on a run?

Valentines Day Robbery

February 17th, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Health | Life - (18 Comments)

It’s been a heck of a weekend.

I had an amazing first date/Valentines date Friday night. I’m so mad at myself for not snapping a photo of us together! All I got was this one I took while getting ready. I promise, we  both cleaned up nicely.
2014-02-14 18.31.03He brought gorgeous flowers and coconut water, assuming (rightfully so) that a box of chocolates wasn’t on the top of my ‘want’ list.
2014-02-15 08.18.44We stopped by Artel Gallery downtown where they were having a silent art auction and a reception before the Vagina Monologues. We didn’t stay for the show but ran into a few friends and he bid on some art (and won!) as a gift to a friend. 2014-02-14 19.15.22We had dinner reservations at Picasso’s Jazz Club downtown. They just opened a few weeks ago and were slammed that night. We had reservations for 8:30 but I don’t think we were actually at the table until 9:30. Thankfully, I had great company and we found seats at the bar.
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I went with something light, a cheese plate, to leave room for what I really wanted – dessert. 2014-02-14 21.56.53I had this truffle tasting with paired wines and it was freaking delicious. Oh, and a few bites of his chocolate cake!2014-02-14 22.24.41We ended up at Intermissions where I totally schooled him in foosball. That art on the table is what he won at the auction. The entire night was going perfectly until I went to the ladies room and he stepped away from his phone on the table for a minute and someone stole it. So lame.
2014-02-14 23.57.26That was definitely the worst part of the night. The best was when Dave Coulier (a.k.k. ‘uncle’ Joey on Full House) talked to me on twitter. #LifeComplete

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Saturday I received this months Bestowed box. Great timing because I was starving and had zero desire to leave the house! I ate everything pictured except for the oatmeal and Santa Barbara bar that day. It was all delicious, as usual. When I get an email that my Bestowed box has shipped I start stalking the tracking number. If you want to try it (and I recommend it 100%) you can use the discount code HELLOYUM11 to get their first Bestowed box for $10 (normally $19).2014-02-15 10.18.34Later that day I stopped by the restaurant my Valentines Date works at to give him a belated Vday present. He insisted I eat some triple chocolate cheesecake, drink a glass of wine, and taste some whiskey. I felt obligated so I did. Such a hard life.2014-02-15 16.37.01Sunday I woke up early to get my long run done. I was thrilled when my old running partner said she’d run 10 of the miles with me. Running anything over two hours alone gets really, really boring. It was also nice that she helped keep my pace up a bit quicker than my normal long run pace (11:30).
2014-02-16 09.36.28After a quick shower I headed downtown to meet some friends. I hung out with them last year in New Orleans and they’ve since moved to Wisconsin so I don’t see them nearly as often as I wish I could. We walked around downtown for a bit and were able to watch some of the Zombie run.
2014-02-16 11.11.22It was in the mid 60’s all day and could not have been any nicer out.
2014-02-16 11.30.45-1How was your weekend? 

A friend told me her date had their phone stolen on their first date and they’ve been together 2 years now! Have you had any bizarre things happen on a first date?

Fitness Friday: Valentines Edition

February 14th, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Fitness | Health | Life - (12 Comments)

Workout Wrap UpFeb 14

Well, I think I’m marathon training. I hit almost 40 miles this week and I’ve got my eyes set on the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN in April. Ironic, since I dislike country music. It just times out well since it gives me 2 months to train and it happens during my break between the Spring and Summer terms. I’m not 100% committed to it yet mostly because I’m not sure of the financial side of it, and not knowing who I’d go with (I can’t imagine driving home 6.5 hours 1-2 days after a marathon.)  I figured it would be fun to start doing long runs on the weekend again anyways so it’s a win-win no matter what happens!

Thursday I tried my best to do some speed work. I really, really dislike that stuff. I’m so much more comfortable at running slow and easy. I really feel like I could run 11 minute miles forever (and may test that theory with a 50k next year!)2014-02-13 11.55.24Tuesday I decided I needed a change of scenery and did 8 miles along the beach. It was gorgeous!

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Another great view on one of my runs this week. I’m so spoiled here. I despise the heat and humidity in the summer, but it’s a pretty sweet spot to live at for runners October-April.

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Monday I received this amazing medal from Pace Per Mile! I did an interview with them last month and they gave me their ‘people inspiring people’ award. I’m so honored!

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Yesterday I drove over to my parents house to do laundry and eat all their foods. While I was there I rummaged through Mom’s books to grab a few to take home with me and came across this typed biography from one of our ancestors. Mom is uber into genealogy and is slowly turning our house into a museum of our family history. I’m so glad she’s doing it as we’ve learned some incredible stories about our families! Dad’s side had a few beheaded in England back in the day. Mom’s side had some dude who was pivotal in winning the American Revolution, and some people who were captured by Indians and held hostage for months.

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I took this awesome photo with Salem before one of my runs. I wish it hadn’t turned out so blurry, but y’all get the idea. He’s a psycho, and I sleep with one eye open at night.

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I much prefer him when he’s like this. Remember when I asked readers to be my Valentine last year? I ended up sending out over 40 handmade cards/gifts to strangers. I wish I would have had time to do it again this year!

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As for my Valentines plans. I have a date. A first date. With a friend who I’ve played a flirtatious tug-of-war with for 5 years now. Imagine a romantic comedy featuring a run-hungry, kinda smart but really weird white girl being matched up with a hilarious, smooth talking Mexican. That’s my life right now.


What are your Valentines Day plans?