I woke up this morning determined to get some more exercise in today. We did kayak yesterday, which was good and I wanted to hike today. However Roy needed to take his mom to see her sister, and I have a dinner date tonight, so I decided to go ahead and get a run in. I wasn’t feeling great, so I medicated to eat breakfast. To explain, with this current situation I often have no appetite which means I will go without eating all day. Yesterday I ate breakfast, lunch and that was it. Before bed I felt like I should eat something, tried 1/3 of a banana but after one bite felt like throwing up. So this morning I woke up with no energy, feeling nauseated. I decided I was having nothing of this, so I took one hit of White Rhino. Within 15 minutes I was hungry so I had my one cup of cheerios, cheated with half a ripe peach (it came in our CSA box, which I should cancel now because I can’t eat most of it) and I didn’t want to just throw it away, and coffee with coconut milk creamer. I felt much better so saddled Flik up for a run.
I decided that since it was mid-morning I would head out for a run on the new Ebey Waterfront Trail. I haven’t been out there alone since we rehomed Pogie. One of the reasons we took her in was because I needed a larger dog for safety. Even though Flik will protect me, the truth is he is not intimidating. He will bite someone coming for me, but a swift kick could really hurt him. A larger dog makes someone think twice.
So I head down and I’m relieved to see that there is trail work being done in the area where there are usually indigent people sleeping, using drugs and alcohol, and sometimes doing other things. Yay! That makes me feel safer. As I’m running I see another runner ahead of me with a dog off leash. It’s a big dog, but my hope is that he’s going to stay far enough ahead of me that he’ll turn and see me with enough time to recall his dog (hoping he has good recall) and leash him.
I notice, though, that the gap is closing and he’s not wearing running gear. Then he pulls off the trail and I hope to just run past him, as I run past, I notice he’s urinating and then the dog comes running at us. I’m trying to keep Flik from attacking the dog, who really does seem friendly enough and just wants to say hi (but Flik is not always dog friendly and I don’t want him to get hurt). That’s when I realize this isn’t a runner, or someone out for a walk, but an older man who is obviously also indigent.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not automatically afraid of indigent people. In fact, I have a big heart for them. He did not act in any way like he wanted to hurt me. He was startled (probably because he was holding his dick) and he apologized and told me he was jogging. I acted pretty tough (I felt) and was nice and just told him my dog was not friendly, and it was fine.
But it wasn’t. It scared me. It made me realize that as a woman runner, I am not safe running alone out there. I love that trail and because I am a woman and even though I can run, even though I lift weights, if a man wanted to hurt me Flik wouldn’t be able to do much. I tried to run off to put as much distance between us and that man as I could and push my fear away, but my insides turned to liquid, of course my digestive issues came up and I started cramping, feeling nauseaous, and finally had to stop and walk. I kind of walked/jogged for fear of him catching up to me, but I was so afraid I’d -well- mess myself because of how my insides felt. I realized that if he was a bad man, I had run myself to a dead end.
Blessedly about ten minutes later a police officer on a bike came by. I saw him and just started saying “Thank you Jesus. Thank you! Thank you!” Under my breath. Then you know how sometimes when a crisis is over and you held it together and suddenly you’re not holding it any more? Tears sprung to my eyes and I had an asthma attack. I get exercise induced asthma VERY rarely (like maybe once a year) and FUN here it came! So I stopped to walk and regulate my breathing. The officer rode down to the end of the trail and I am thinking, “Do I flag him down? Do I not? Am I overreacting?” It calmed enough that I was able to continue by the time he got back, but I did sit for 20 minutes to calm everything before I ran again. I knew Flik would tell me if anyone was coming and hell, I could jump into the slough if someone came, or over the barrier and run into the neighborhood through water (tide was out) carrying him if I had to.
God dammit it just isn’t fair that women have to worry about going places because we have a few men in this society that can’t control themselves around women. I miss Pogie and the protection and camaraderie I shared with her. I miss feeling safe. I feel like now I can’t run down there alone and while I love to run with friends, I also sometimes need to be in my own headspace. I used to run trials alone with Wiley and because he looked like a red German shepherd, no one bothered me. We were so in sync. I could take him out on a summer morning, or weekend, or break and we’d go run for hours. Roy never worried because he know I had Wiles with me to protect me. Now I just feel like a weak, sitting duck. Being so weak right now doesn’t help either. I’m down to 116 this morning, which most people would think is “yay” but that’s actually 3 pounds since Friday. Not yay.
On the good front, I actually felt really good on the run, and my symptoms left me until the last mile. I did have some butt clenching time on the way back but oh well. I feel like I’ll get that in control. I’m still feeling sad, but glad I got the run in. Flik was too! He’s such a good boy and I love running with him. Too bad he isn’t like 50 pounds heavier!