So yeah, it's been a while. It's also been a while since I ran. Neither was intended. I love writing about all my super fun exciting and sometimes hazardous runs and I LOVE running. Unfortunately I've been dealing with an injury since July. It started out as hamstring/but which I then called Hambutt....then it went to my low back....then to my hip flexor. Then all three. I've been chasing around this injury for months. I thought I was better and stupidly ran a 15k, primarily to win money. I know, it's sad. I need the money but need to stay healthy to win the money.....argh. If you're thinking I should shut up, replace the work money with happiness (not that money means happiness to me but it does mean paying bills and buying food). Anyway, I ran a 15k and my hamstrings and glutes totally seized up. That was a fun time for the last few miles. WOW! I tried to take it easy and recovery for a few weeks only to feel more pain as time went on. Coming up on the holidays and my super busy time at work, I decided to shut it DOWN.....! Just in time to get sick, miss Rehoboth, get sick again, etc. and not get better. What?
A friend of mine has had the same hambutt issue and hasn't run in years. This cannot be my fate! I have nothing else. right? It's been almost a month. I know that worse case issues (like stress fractures) take 6-8 weeks off to resolve so I don't want to rush and re-injure myself. I also have not had time to go to an actual doctor to figure out what I have. Or cross-train. Or do anything other than work and sleep.
So, here I am. Doing not a gosh darn thing. Except trying to educate people on how to defend themselves. I'm NO expert but having just encountered an incident I feel like I have a little something to offer. But I also want to say that because runners (and more likely women runners) deal with threats and obstacles all the time, we are more prepared than anyone. I have watched so many videos and read several articles on how to defend myself if attached. I have armed myself with pepper spray (what is legal in NY) and a back-up knife if needed. Almost every run is met with some sort of cat call or random harassment (or almost being hit by a car making a turn against the light). After years of insanity on my runs I've become almost numb. What should be enjoyment can be ruined in 2 seconds with someone swinging a tree branch at me yelling "suck my big bL@ck D!ck"...[direct quote]. But we run by. Don't engage. Engaging could bring on an assault. The anger builds up, only to be released on the next run, unless another incident occurs. Right now I'd give anything to go on a pain free run even if it meant someone would throw a lit cigarette at me (yes this happened too).
But instead, my exercise is walking 2 blocks to a parking garage, then up 7 flights of stairs, then 2 blocks to work every morning. This Monday morning was different. I could see someone hanging out in the stairwell of the parking garage so I decided to be lazy. I hit the elevator button, saw the guy still standing in the stairwell and decided I should grab my pepper spray. As I took it out of my bag I thought "alright, come at me bro"....and he came rushing at me and said "i'm fucking robbing you, give me your money." I swear to God I stood there, looked at his hands in his pockets with or without a weapon and blasted him dead on in the face with pepper spray without flinching. I never thought I would ever be that strong or level headed even though I thought I was. He immediately took off and I ran after him in my big winter boots, WHBM dress and leather work bag on my shoulder....spraying him and yelling "get the f*ck out of here" and "that guy tried to rob me" to anyone who would listen. Like a lunatic. I would have thought that I imagined it all but a woman in the parking garage came running out telling me she saw the whole thing and "it was awesome!" LOL. I needed that validation!
In the end, after talking to police and all of Albany knowing about it - I come away with feeling good that many people know now that they can legally get pepper spray in NY and defend themselves. They need to pay the f*ck attention and get their heads out of their phones. Fight back! Pepper spray works. I have a knife and a gun (not conceal carry) and feel like pepper spray is very effective. Even though he was probably a low level threat criminal, I feel like it surprised him enough that he took off. Pepper spray did what I needed it to do. Using a knife or taser most likely means physical contact. I'm glad it didn't come to that. If it did, I would have gone ape sh!t....but luckily it didn't and I feel good that I got through it. And I feel like all my bad ass runner friends will too!
Pepper Spray can be purchased online at Walmart. Since I got mine years ago they now have so many options! There is pepper spray with tear gas and UV dye so police can detect who has been sprayed. Glad my basic canister still worked
Now I just need to get to running - not chasing down criminals!