I tend to think of myself as a fairly street savvy city woman. I rarely take my safety for granted - even when in familiar neighborhood territory - and have learned to adopt a “don’t mess with me” demeanor when walking alone in the evening. Regardless, I know that the fact that I just look like I might be a bitch isn’t going to necessarily save me from danger.
Still, sometimes I forget. Sometimes I’m in my own world and completely unaware of my surroundings. Sometimes it does not even occur to me until it’s too late that I may have unwittingly placed myself in a situation that could turn ugly. And sometimes, my level of stupidity surprises even me.
Take last night, for example. As of late, the ‘mill (as in the treadmill) has been failing me. I struggle for every five minutes, talking myself into 20… no… 25… come on… you can do 30… minutes. I’m a bored little hamster, and it finally occurred to me that I have crossed the threshold and become an outdoor runner.
So, for the first time ever, I decided that I would hit the streets alone after work for a lovely four-mile jog around the neighborhood. It was a nice night – if not a bit on the humid side – and I left my apartment around 6:50pm estimating I would be gone between 40-50 minutes.
Twenty-five minutes into my run (somewhere between mile two and mile three), I felt great. I contemplated extending the run to five miles. But by mile three and a half, I was feeling less than stellar. I was chilled and clammy – signs of dehydration – incredibly thirsty and unable to find a drinking fountain in area of the neighborhood with which I was unfamiliar. And, I still had a mile to go.
Every Saturday, for our group long runs, I carry the following on my person: my ID, my bus pass, a little bit of cash, my cell phone, and water.
For last night’s four miles alone, I brought one thing: my bus pass. I had no phone, if I needed to call for help. No ID if something happened to me. No cash if I needed a cab or to buy a bottle of water. Nothing. Nada. In the event of something bad happening (“Something bad happened?!?!), I made a conscious choice to rely on the CTA to save me.
I can’t imagine what I was thinking.