Monday, January 05, 2009

Please be careful out there, everyone.

So...I had a pretty rough Christmas season. Here is a post I wrote on RWOL on 12/22:

I've been debating for a while whether I should post this. I decided to go ahead, to let my experience serve as a reminder.

I was sexually assaulted Saturday afternoon on my long run. Seven miles in, I was running on a stretch of my local rail trail that is fairly isolated and with a wooded area bordering it. A man grabbed me from behind and pinned my arms and head before I could resist. I couldn't move. He used my ear warmer to blindfold me and demanded money. I didn't have any, so he demanded other things and pushed me into the woods. He threatened to kill me with his hand on my throat, squeezing hard enough that I believed him. Finally, he let me go and I got out of there. I never saw his face. I know I did the right thing because I'm alive right now, but I can't help but feel like perhaps I should have died fighting to prevent the persistent feeling of filth that I can't wash off. I feel weak, cowardly.

Don't let this happen to you. I know you all know how to keep yourselves safe, but a reminder never hurts. BE SAFE. Be careful. Try to minimize your risk as much as you can. It would take an extraordinary stroke of bad luck to have something like this happen. Don't give that bad luck too many chances if you can help it.

One thing I can say is that this dirtbag will not scare me away from running. I'm going to stick to the treadmill for a while (had to give my clothes, including gloves, ear warmer, and my only pair of tights, to the police as evidence), but soon I will venture outside with my running group, and eventually alone in well-populated areas. I doubt I will ever be able to bring myself to run that section of trail again though, even with a group. We'll see.

Saturday, I had a bagel and a small ham sandwich and that's it. Yesterday, woke up and ran 13 miles on the treadmill. Couldn't eat beforehand. I think I was fueled solely by rage (the fcuker also stole my last GU!). After that, I felt better and even felt hungry again. This guy didn't completely win.

I apologize for the long, decidedly depressing post. I hope this reminder helps keep you all safe this holiday season and beyond.
So...yeah. Now it's been a couple of weeks and things almost seem back to normal...almost. Today I'm meeting with the prosecutor to discuss the case. I'm still downright jumpy. I was running outside this past Saturday in a Louisville park and heard stomping footsteps behind me--practically jumped a mile before I realized it was a preteen girl just romping around on the path.

Argh. BUT, I am back outside for most runs. I'm still hesitant to run alone at night, even around campus. So now that my winter break from work is over, I need to figure something out, like running loops around a small but particularly "safe" area. But at least I am warm! Through the amazing generosity of both my local and online running friends, I've been able to replace my winter gear. I believe some also donated money to the Middle Way House. So a lot of good is actually coming of this. Also, it sounds like the people I've told about this have been a little more on their guard. A good thing.

I've been running a LOT. The past two weeks have both been over 60 miles. It's been helping.
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