Better Safe than Sorry

This week it was reported that 10 violent robberies occurred in the neighborhoods near Syracuse University.  Weapons such as guns and/or knives were involved in 9 out of 10 of these events. The police are warning the public that these suspects will take whatever possession is on you-phone, jewelry, money, etc.  This news is alarming to me because I run on these same streets everyday where the incidents occurred. Furthermore, these streets where the incidents occurred are well-lit and usually pretty safe to run on.

As the daylight hours continue to drift away, it’s hard to escape running in the dark whether you are a morning or late afternoon runner. It’s also easy to get complacent in a running routine and have the attitude that it will never happen to me.  I admit, I am one of those complacent people.  Incidents like this will get me on my tippy toes for a while but it eventually fades away as the media attention calms down.

When it is dark outside or the weather is frightening, I never leave my driveway without the usual safety precautions such as reflective clothing or a vest with blinking lights. It astonishes me that I still see so many runners that are not wearing reflective clothing when it is dark. With more and more drivers distracted by talking and texting while operating a vehicle, the chances of getting hit by a car are greatly increased.  And you don’t want that to happen. I was hit by a drunk driver while I was running with a group of ladies during daylight hours.  So it can happen at any time.  An accident like that can put you out of commission for a long time or for good if you know what I mean.

Aside from being robbed, raped or attacked, so many other things can go awry on a simple run.  Especially when it is dark and the weather is less than desirable.   Slippery leaves covering huge potholes can cause you to go down immediately. Random dogs can come out of nowhere or they decide to get zapped for a piece of meat. Adverse changes in the weather can also be dangerous and put you in a hazardous situation. You just never know.

Even if you don’t want to know or already know all of these things, I am going to rehash some of the things to do to keep safe on the run.

1. Whenever possible, try to find a partner or group to run with. Remember safety in numbers.  If that is not possible, let friends and family know the time of day and route you are running in case of an emergency. I recommend changing up the route regularly to throw off any stalkers.  It’s also a good idea to let the concierge or the hotel personnel know who you are, what your room number is and the route you are running when you are traveling. As a former business traveler, I know how important it is to get in that run.  If all else fails, run on the dreadmill inside the hotel or nearby gym.

2.  I know, this one sucks; but leave the iPod at home (at least when it is dark outside).  It’s way too easy to get distracted and lose your sense of awareness in your surroundings when listening to tunes.

3.  Carry a charged cell phone in your pocket or waterproof running belt.  My husband and I actually purchased really cheap cell phones, we call our secret phones, for this purpose.  iPhones are too expensive to replace and are not covered by extended warranty for water or sweat damage.

4.  Add  your health insurance card, identification, and emergency contact information to your pocket or belt.  I keep my old driver’s licenses for this purpose. RoadID is a company that offers a variety of products for this exact purpose that can be worn around your wrist, ankle or attached to your shoelaces. I’ll come clean on this topic-  I have a RoadID bracelet that has not been worn in years.

5.  If you have any known drug allergies or medical conditions, invest in one of those medical alert necklaces or bracelets.

6.  Carry some strong pepper spray and a whistle to ward off creepy individuals and animals.

7.  Bring along some cash or debit card in case you have to high tail it to call a taxi cab if you don’t have time to wait out the storm in warm building or coffee shop.

I know it sounds contradictory to one of my earlier posts about carrying a lot of gadgets while running,  but I have to put safety first during training runs.

Have a wonderful weekend and feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below.  I can’t believe tomorrow is the first day of the last quarter of 2011.  Where did this year go?