I feel so guilty.

I feel so so so so guilty.

And I’m not going to include any photos on this post for safety reasons, and I’ll tell you why.

So Thursday night, I fell asleep around midnight.  I honestly felt like I may have been asleep for 15 or 20 minutes when I heard someone pounding loudly on the door of the girls who live below me.  I was confused, and sleepy, and assumed that the girls were throwing a party and someone got locked out.  But as the pounding continued, and Coco started getting riled up, I kind of started getting the sense that something wasn’t right.

And then the pounding stopped.

Suddenly, flashlights started coming through my window on the second floor, and I realized that something that was going on over this period of about 15 minutes that wasn’t as simple as the girls downstairs throwing a loud party.  I peeked downstairs, and saw that two Raleigh Police Officers were climbing up on the porch, and it appeared that a kid, probably my age, had broken into the apartment downstairs.

The next day, when I went down to speak to the girls, one of the women told me that she had met the kid a week earlier and had gone on one date with him.   ONE.  He’d wanted to come over on Thursday night, and she said that she was sleeping.  He came over, pounded on the door for a while, and when the girls refused to answer, they thought he left, when in reality, he went around the back of our building, scaled the porch (about 10 feet in the air), and found an unlocked door or window.  He broke in, and began pacing the apartment while the girls cowered in a closet on dispatch with 911.

As the girls were hiding in the closet, the kid began to pull on the closet door as an attempt to get at them.  He only stopped when he heard the footfalls of the police, and ran to hide underneath the sheets in one of the rooms.  The police were able to locate him, arrested him, and charged him with a breaking and entering.

Looking back, I feel horribly guilty that I didn’t investigate the weirdness going on downstairs further.  All I could replay over and over was if he had managed to hurt the girls before the police arrived.

And it brings me to this.

If you hear something, do something.  Had something worse happened to those poor girls, I could have never lived with myself.  So ladies, protect yourselves.  Lock your doors, meet the new dates in public places, let someone know where you are and PLEASE, once again, if you hear something, say something.  

This one’s for the ladies (mostly).

A few months ago, on an unseasonably warm winter evening, after teaching a Zumba class, I set off to do a quick tempo run.  My legs were still itching to move, so I put on my highlighter pink top (so I could be seen), laced up my Tempos, and headed out, headphone free.  I looped around for about 3 miles, and was passing the bus stop in front of the Y when I was quickly reminded that running alone as a woman could be dangerous.  As I ran past the bus stop, I turned to look at who was sitting in it, when the folks inside, thinking I was someone else, stood up, and began to yell at me.  The last thing I realized before I turned on the turbo spoilers and sprinted out of sight, is that the gentleman in the stop had gotten up, presumably to accost me for whatever it was I’d done, and as I ran out of sight, he threw his bicycle in my general direction.

When I reflected on the strange situation later, I realized, I’m not the only young woman who’s experienced some weirdness or danger on runs.  Yesterday morning, two women, one city over on a morning run, were followed in a car by some men who tried to exit their vehicle, presumably, to do some harm to them.

And the absolute worst case?  Meredith Emerson, a 24-year-old graduate student in Georgia, was murdered in a State Park on a hike by a man who’d made a career out of similar attacks.

It absolutely sucks, and it’s not fair, but especially as women, we have to pay special attention to take care of ourselves on our runs.  It may be really tempting to put in the headphones and zone out, but it’s just not safe.  Attackers are looking for that person that may be able to be caught off-guard in order to mug, rob, steal, or worst case?  Rape or murder them.

So a few tips to stay safe on your run?

  • Let someone know where you will be.  Call your mom.  Call your dad.  Call your boyfriend.  Text your sister.  Just let  someone know where you’ll be, so that if you don’t return, you don’t show up for work, even if it’s just because you’ve sprained your ankle?  They’ll be able to say, “Hm, I think she said she was running!”
  • Lower your earbuds!  I won’t tell you not to listen to your music, because I do it.  But save the zoning out for the treadmill.  When you’re running around your city, it’s not the time to zone out.  You should be able to hear traffic, hear folks on the sidewalk, and your ears shouldn’t ring for hours after the run.
  • This stun gun. 


I was given this as a gift, and it’s to the point now, that I’m just sick of hearing about folks being attacked. But if you have one? Seriously know how to use it. It’s not going to do you any good if the best you can do with it is throw it at your attacker.

  • If you can help it (which I know you can’t always), but if you can?  Stay home between 6pm-6am.  That’s when the majority of attacks will happen.
  • It may be tempting.  But do not run the same route, day after day.  Do. Not.  Change it up.  Because unfortunately  people take notice.  And you may get so comfy in your route that you do each day, that you’re not paying as much attention as you should.
  • Cash/ID.  Carry it with you.  
  • Use your spidey senses.  If it feels wrong, it’s just wrong.  You know what this means.
  • And you’re going to make fun of me for this.  But Oprah taught me.  Never get taken to the second location.   Ever.  If someone is going to kill you, the second location is where it’s gonna happen.  So, in the super unlikely event someone tries to force you into their vehicle?  Kick, scream, yell, honk the horn, run, and do whatever you need to do to stay exactly there.

So ladies (and the guys reading this too!), I’m sorry for the dark subject matter, but it’s SO necessary, especially as more of you embark on new running journeys as it warms up. I’ll deliver a more fun post soon!