Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Things I Think about while Running (Safety Edition)

I was lumbering along after about 25 minutes this morning when this 19-year-old blonde gazelle comes leaping past me down the trail like I was standing still.

My first thought was "Damn, that makes me feel slow!". My second thought, realizing that she'd barely broken a sweat and had to have been running at least 15 minutes given where she passed me was "Damn, that makes me feel old!". And I know from sweat, boy, let me tell you! I don't sweat like a pig - in fact, pigs have been overheard to exclaim "Dang, it's hot! I'm sweating like Tony Plutonium!".

My third thought was a recurring one - is it really a good idea for women to be running by themselves in the woods? Most mornings I run in the UNC-owned Horace Williams tract - the thousand or so acres currently home to the Horace Williams airport and targeted for development as Carolina North (more on Carolina North in a later post). While the paths through the woods get used by dozens of people a day for running, dog-walking and biking, at any one time you are usually not in sight of anyone else. I gotta say that, as sad a statement on the human condition as it is, it's a pretty damn dumb idea for a woman to be out there alone - particularly the ones running or walking with headphones on. I'm sorry, but that's just stupid. A number of recent attacks in Chapel Hill and Carrboro (including a sexual assault in our neighborhood last fall) should dissuade anyone from thinking that this is some safe haven where the outside world doesn't intrude and bad things don't happen. Maybe I worry too much, but I just don't think so.

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