Yesterday was the first official day of summer break for Chloe – it also meant that it was Day 1 of triple stroller summer training.

I set off with a heaviness in my legs but tried to have happiness in my heart.

I get to run – I don’t have to – I repeated to myself.

To say I was happy that it was the start of triple stroller running is a lie. It is hard to push three kids in a stroller. Harder than any marathon I’ve ever run. I talk about stroller running all the time to try and lift myself up. To try to beat out the demons in my head that tell me to just give up and not train this summer. The voices that tell me it’s okay to gain weight, it’s okay not to run, who cares about being healthy – drinking all the time, eating like crap and not working out is so much easier. The truth is that IT IS EASIER to lead a sluggish life. To replace work outs with dinners out. To replace coconut water and protein shakes with margaritas and pina coladas. The old me isn’t gone. She is as much a part of me as any other part.

It is a daily battle to stay fit to not over eat. It is a weekly battle to remember that I love running and that even though it’s REALLY REALLY hard to make time to run with three little people that in the end it’s worth it.

Mile 1 I saw a woman up ahead – she was far off. I wanted to pass her. I wanted to take some of her energy and use it for myself. I caught up to her in the last minute of the first mile. As I ran past I said good morning – she said morning and then paused. “Looks like I need to pick up the pace if you are passing me pushing three kids” – I smiled – giggled – said thank you and then told her I was dying if it made her feel any better?

Mile 2 was slower. I reminded myself that an 8:20 start is not nearly early enough to start running in the summer with little people. Too sunny. Too hot.

Mile 3 I found my groove. I was tired but I was happy. I felt like I was having a turning point. I was going to listen to the advice I pass out to others. I was not going to make excuses in my head as to why it’s going to be impossible to train for 2 marathons this summer with little help and mostly triple stroller runs. I felt STRONG and my mind believed I was STRONG.

As I approached the end of the third mile I saw a car off in the distance. It was on the other side of the road coming toward me. The man inside was waving his arms, yelling, pointing, cursing – his window was down. I felt confussed. Was he getting upset at me or the girl who helplessly sat in the front seat not making eye contact with me.

When he pulled beside me [still on the other side of the road] I realize he was indeed yelling obscenities at me. I don’t remember all of his words – but none of them were nice. I started to get that fight or flight feeling inside of me – my heart was racing – I kept on running and finally when he yelled out that I was an “f-ing b*itch” – I lost it and flicked him off. In hindsight – you should never ever engage people who are clearly off their rocker. It was a knee jerk reaction – one I wish I hadn’t made. What I heard next were tires screeching as he whipped his car around.

The first thought that came to my head was that he was going to run me and my kids over. I started running scenarios through my head as fast as possible – do I dive in front of the car. If he hit my body would he just leave the kids in the stroller. Where do I run too? What do I do? I panicked. When I panic my mind does not work.

I started talking to my kids. Telling them to be calm and we would get away from this mean man. I told them they needed to listen to whatever mommy says and do it immediately. I ran as fast as I could up the hill towards my house. I was out of breath and my legs were burning bad.

I looked back over my shoulder and saw that he was still following me but was a little distance away so I made the choice to cross the street and head for a nature trail in the woods that I knew was close. I didn’t want to run back to my house and I couldn’t grab my cell phone and call 911 with out stopping and I needed to keep moving away from him.

As we got close to the woods I told my kids to unbuckle and the second I stopped to get out and run for the woods. In hindsight I realize that running somewhere more secluded was probably not the best idea but at the time it was the best move I could think of to get away from this man. As I stopped and my kids got out. The man in the car was right next to me again – yelling and screaming.

I grabbed my phone. Shaking – I texted my husband the license plate # with nothing else. I needed someone to get those numbers in case something terrible happened to us.

After that I called 911. He stayed there yelling and screaming as I ran into the woods and yelled that I was calling the cops. He drove off FAST once I said that.

The cops immediately knew my location based on my cell phone. They told me to keep walking to go to a certain house on the corner of the closest street and hide. They would stay on the phone with me till an officer came. Then they said something I will never forget. Are you wearing a pink shirt? YES. They could see me. I have NEVER been so grateful for technology in my entire life.

An officer was there with in minutes. He listened as I blubbered on about how scared I was. My kids oddly enough were fine. Maybe my crying made them feel they had to be strong. I literally for a moment in my life thought all four of us were going to get run over. It’s not a fun feeling.

The cop followed me home as I pushed the stroller. When I got to my house he again talked to me more – wrote down more information and told me they had a hit on the license plate number and that the man lived in my town. He was going to his house to talk to him.

20 minutes later the cop called and said that the man said he was VERY concerned for my kids safety – that something was wrong with me for pushing them in a stroller like that. He said he followed me to ensure the safety of my children.

I was MAD. So you yell at a woman, chase her down with your car, follow her, scare the cr*p out of her, and verbally assault her because you are concerned for her children? The cop agreed that it was a lie and he was just trying to cover himself.

The girl in the car never once flinched – she never once made eye contact – never once said anything to this man.

The cops said I could press charges against him but because I had already admitted that I flicked him off then he could twist it in court that he was going about his business when I decided to flick him off and get aggressive with him.

I don’t care to press charges but I do think this man is off his rocker and it’s not long before he does something like this again to another woman. The police assured me that they keep records of this in a database and should anyone call about this man again it will show up that he has a history of doing stuff like this.

What I learned from this situation:

  • Never engage people who are crazy. I shouldn’t have flicked him off. It made a bad situation worse. IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE.
  • Do not run to a remote area if you are being chased.
  • Always carry a cell phone if I am running with my kids. It’s probably a good idea to carry my cell phone with me on long runs as well.
  • Wear my RoadID. You just never know. It’s not helping me if I am not wearing it.
  • Never wear headphones while running with my kids. I don’t do this anyways but it reminded me that when I am running with my little people I need to be aware of my surroundings at all time to be safe.
  • Hold up your cell phone as if you are making a video [if you have a camera on your phone start snapping away]. People will likely change what they are doing when they think it’s on camera. [My husbands co-worker suggested this one]

This morning I picked myself up. I won’t let one crazy person scare me. Little people and I ran 4 miles. [We took a different route just in case.]

What do you do to stay safe when running? Have any helpful tips?

NOTE: I ask these questions not as the obligatory end of blog posting question – but because I really truly would love to hear what you think and learn some new ways that you have found to keep you [and your kids] safe.

Comments

  1. Wow! I’m glad you and your kids are safe! Thanks for sharing with us Dorothy. It is always good to have a reminder to stay safe while running. You never know who is out there, or what they might do!

  2. Still completely floored that this happened to you! Glad to hear that your kids weren’t scared! That man for sure is off is rocker and these are all great things for us to keep mind for when we do have kids and I’m sure out exercising with them. Honestly, we have been really lucky and haven’t had anything happen to either one of us. Hopefully, should a day come where we have to act fast we make the right choices and stay safe!

  3. I had a situation happen a few years ago where I was running down a main street and a group of teenagers yelled at me, “run, fatty, run!” Yeah, I flipped them off. Of course they got in their car and chased me down. Thank goodness only a few blocks later a police officer in a parking lot saw what was happening and pulled out in front of the car and forced them to the side. I was so scared I immediately ditched my route and sprinted past my house. I came back to my house through neighbors yards because I was fearful those kids would find out where I lived (yes, rational thinking was out the window).

    I carry pepper spray now and a cell phone on long runs. My little 3 -5 milers through my neighborhood I don’t carry those because I’m .8 miles from my house at any time and I can certainly get home a variety of different ways or stop at anyone’s house.

    Some people are crazy and unfortunately we have to be prepared for the crazies in the world.

  4. oh my, how SCARY!!! I’m so sorry that happened to you and your kids!
    My kids won’t let me run with them so I am usually by myself. I don’t carry any ID though, so thanks for that reminder that I need to do that! I also only run in my ‘hood. It’s boring as can be, but my only option out here in the sticks! 😉

  5. Again, so sorry you experienced this.

    To answer your question, I wear a Road ID and don’t run alone in the dark. The latter is why I don’t train as well in the winter. As to the Road ID, I’ve been hit by a car, thankfully slow-moving. They say for hiking to leave a copy of your itinerary in the car dashboard; maybe runners can do something like that, but on the kitchen table, online, or something

  6. I’m so glad you and your children are okay, That guy is completely insane. I hate the fact that crazy people are allowed to manipulate situations to make it seem as though you were ever at fault. It’s more annoying that he lives in your town! Stay safe!

  7. Wow, that sounds really scary! Glad you and your kids are okay! I try to let someone know the route I plan on taking, and when I plan on being back. Obviously things can change, but at least it will give a general idea of where I am.

  8. Oh my goodness! What a scary tale! I don’t usually run with my cellphone, but I have been noticing a LOT of unwanted attention from men now that the weather is warmer.

    I haven’t had an experience as scary as you, but lots guys yelling from their cars, slowing down near me on the street, just generally creepy stuff. I am definitely going to run with my cell phone from now on, and I think I might stick to running trails instead of the street for a little while. Thanks for giving me the kick in the pants to tweak my running routine!

  9. Natalie says:

    Wow, what a scary situation!!!! Let one to happen to anyone, but especially with your children!!!! You’re an amazing woman and I learned a lot from this post! Thank you Dorothy!!

  10. I’m so sorry you had that horrible experience! I am so glad you and your children are safe. I’m especially glad that you didn’t let him scare you for long and that you got right back out there and kept running. You’re an inspiration!!

  11. Rachelle says:

    OMG bless your heart! I always run with acellular phone because of the nutties! Thank god it turned out the way it did!

  12. OMG that’s really really crazy and scary. None of what he did really makes any sense at all either. That’s just crazy. I started carrying pepper spray when I run solo in my neighborhood and no music in the “hood” either. A couple of years ago I was running alone (never felt scared mind you). I did have my music in and a car pulled up next to me and kept following me for several blocks (driving on the opposite side of the road to be up close to me). I didn’t look at them, I didn’t falter, I just kept moving forward like they weren’t bothering me. Of course my husband asked why I didn’t get up on the sidewalk where I could run up to a house. It’s hard to know how you’ll react though unless you’re in that situation. I am so glad you and the kids were unharmed.

  13. Wow that is a scary experience, so glad you are okay. Even running alone I am very cautious just because of the one or two crazy people that can wreck it for us. I always wear my road id, always carry my cell phone, never have more than one earbud in with volume not too high so I can hear all the sounds around me. And even in a car I don’t engage someone who seems violent.

  14. Scary stuff! Glad you are all OK, and that you went back at it today.

    I always run with my cell phone and 1 Band ID band (fits nicely on my Garmin). Also, I never run with headphones except on track workouts.

  15. Golly I’m so sorry, that sounds utterly awful. I would have been terrified as well. What did your husband say?? Well done for getting back out there, that took real courage. I hope the kids didn’t have nightmares.

  16. Oh my goodness, Dorothy- that is terrifying! I was once chased by a guy in a car with no pants on (seriously) who kept shouting suggestive (and revolting) things at me. I don’t have kids yet, so it was just me, but scary nonetheless.

  17. This is quite honestly the scariest thing I have ever read. I don’t know that I would have done anything different if I was in this situation. I am happy to read that you and the kids were safe in the end. As a mother, I know that my first priority would be to protect the little ones. For me, I have my Road ID and almost always have my cell phone. After reading this, I will never run without it.

  18. I was reading this with goosebumps, I am so happy you are all safe!

    Now that I take our baby out on runs with me, I always run with my cell phone,but I also always map my route out and leave it for my husband and let him know about how long it should take me. If he isn’t home I’ll text him when I leave and when I get home so he knows we are back safe. I definitely need to invest in a ID band though.

  19. Glad you guys are ok! I used to run a loop relatively close to my house but after a while, I started noticing a white pick up truck following me … every day. If I stopped and made sure HE knew that I noticed him, he’d drive off and I’d usually see him again in a mile or 2. One day he got really close and tried talking to me. I won’t say more than his comments were on the lewd side of the spectrum of conversation. I was already a little freaked out but that put me over the top. I cut through a corn field and thru downtown (small town, lol) to the police station. I was able to give them his license plate and description of the driver. The next day, the police asked me to come down and identify him. He was a convicted sex offender who hadn’t bothered to register in our area (and was living too lose to a school) and the registration and license plate on his truck were faked. As the cop was telling me all this, I just started shaking, wondering how many people he’d followed or made lewd comments to? How many people didn’t bother to report him? What would have happened if >>I<< hadn't reported him? It's a scary thing.

    Now, I carry pepper spray and my cell phone whether I'm running on the roads or the park trails. And I always leave a note or text someone with my route and how long I expect it to take. If I drive somewhere to run, I'll normally leave a note with my route and my cell # on my front seat too. Yes, I still run with my headphones in unless I"m on a busy road, but it's never so loud that I can't hear what's around me. I also make an effort to catch the eye of anyone running or biking past me and wave or say hello.

  20. Glad you are ok! It is the scary times that reminds us what is important! Thanks for the great advice and by your post, I’m sure you saved others in the future!

  21. I’m so glad you all are safe. That is so scary. I had to had some guy stop at a stop sign as I was running by and just started yelling at me and my running partner. I let it go the first time it kind of scared me,plus I really didnt know what was going on. it was dark at 5am and could see who it was. It happened again and I like you yelled at him to stick where the sun doesnt shine. I to probably shouldnt of doune that but he pissed me off. We werent doing anything wrong. We had headlamps, reflective vest and clothes. I dont know how much more stuff we could of put on for him to see us. I to started running with my phone. It is very scarey. Just glad you and your babies are ok.

  22. So happy to read that you and your little people are safe!!
    I always run with my cell phone and let my husband know when I’m leaving and when I’m back (even when he’s travelling for work, he checks in if he hasn’t heard from me) and I too love my ID band.

  23. So scary. I’m glad you’re all OK! Whenever I run solo I bring my cell phone and always let my husband know which route I’m planning. But sometimes I change my mind …

    I just watched the promo video for the new Bia Sport watch. They’re fundraising on Kickstarter right now — I hope they make it. In addition to being a streamlined GPS built for women, it’ll have an alert function that will send out your location to whoever you set up. Sounds pretty brilliant. I want one.

    Glad your run was better today. Stay safe! And just think of how fast you’ll be once you’re racing without the stroller …

  24. How scary!
    I do listen to my headphones, but keep it pretty low, also it’s my phone so i always have that with me.

    I also wear my road id all the time now. I used to just wear it when I ran, but then I’d forget it, so now it is always there (not a bad idea if something should happen to you anyways).

    I usually run between work and picking up my kids from after school care, so I always leave on the computer my planned route on mapmyrun.com. That way if i never make it to pick up the kids they know where to start to look for me.

    I’m glad you’re ok as well as your kiddos.

  25. That is terrifying, Dorothy! I always carry my cell phone for safety and my dad sent me pepper spray to run with. I am hesitant to bring it because I’m scared of spraying myself accidentally but maybe I should start. Yikes.

  26. Very scary indeed. I once was running a loop at a park and a van slowed down next to me and the male driver made some remarks about me being “hot” or something. Even when profanity is not involved — that is still very uncomfortable and scary. I tried to smile as if I appreciated the comment and then continued on using an “ignore” tactic.

    I agree it’s so tempting to flip the bird but I have refrained for fear that would agitate someone more. These are some reasons why I don’t often run in secluded areas. I’d rather be in public so someone could hear me scream. Also I never run outside w/headphones. Only on the treadmill.

  27. So glad you are safe Dorothy. Uggh. How scary!!! Good for you for thinking clearly. I think you made the right decisions to get to a side area and be able to dial 911. Thank Goodness for technology. Staying safe? Hmmm, I run with a phone on my long runs. I don’t run in secluded places by myself very often.

  28. I don’t understand some people! I was heckled and yelled out a few weeks ago while running (alone) and it was just so jarring that it was hard for me to lace up again the next day. I can’t imagine what it would be like with kids. I am glad you’re okay!!!

  29. This is so scary and crazy. People are insane!!! I am so sorry about this. I am glad you are ok. Don’t beat yourself up over what you should have done or what you did do. Fact is you kept you and your kids safe so I would say score one for mommies!

  30. OhhhhhhhMG. That is so crazy. I’m glad that you and the kidlets are okay. People are bananas. I think your lessons learned are a great takeaway! Be careful, lady!

  31. I’m so sorry you had to deal with this, but I’m glad you and the kids are safe. Great job for getting back out there today!! P.S. Your kids are the cutest little people! Stay safe out there!

  32. That’s so awful! Some people are just the worst.

    I always make sure to run in the direction of oncoming traffic, whether I’m on the side of the road or a sidewalk. That way I can see anyone approaching me on my side of the street, and cars can’t come up behind me like that guy did. I also ALWAYS wear my RoadID.

  33. Jenni Ortman says:

    I’ve never had anything happen like that! My son is 6 so I don’t push Him in the stroller anymore; but he does ride his bike occasionally on a short run. I always carry my cell, mace and info I’m my arm band. I never ever wear headphones and I try to be conscious of my surroundings and when I run by myself I always tell my hubby exactly where I’m going. There are lots of crazy people; but I’m glad to read ur post and glad you and your kids are okay. I hope I dont ever encounter anything that scary ever.

  34. Wow that’s scary, thanks for sharing – good advice.

  35. WOW what a crazy story. I would have been terrified. Good for you for knowing to get away. I live in Philly which isn’t the safest of cities. The best advice I have is to always be aware and to constantly be looking around. I no longer run with music in the early morning, and also carry pepper spray at that time.

  36. Again, I’m glad that everyone is safe and you were aware of your surroundings. Don’t second guess yourself on how you handled the situation, mother’s instincts are usually spot on. Just because you give someone the bird, doesn’t give them the right to chase you down.

  37. That is so incredibly terrifying. I am so so sorry this happened to you! I think you acted exactly right even though you second guessed your actions later. I’m glad your kids aren’t too shook up either. I wonder if that girl with the scary man is okay or if she is in a bad situation?

  38. What a terrifying situation. I always run with my RoadID (in fact, I don’t really ever take it off). I sometimes run with my cell phone, but I should be more diligent about taking it every time.

    While I know that the focus of this post is about your awful run in with the crazy dude, can I also express my thanks for the first bit? It makes me feel so much less of a freak when I read that someone like you (who I consider to be an awesome example of healthy living, etc.) still struggles with making the right choices and finding motivation. Thanks for that honesty.

  39. That a scary situation. I am sorry someone did that to you.

    I never run with headphones when I am pushing the kids. They like to talk to me when I run and I like to be aware of my surroundings. When I run alone, I make sure it is light out and stay in the neighborhoods or near busy roads where there will be a lot of people out and about.

    I am going through the same thing regarding motivation. I am in a slump and hopefully I can snap out of it. It is so much easier to just be unhealthy but that’s not the person I want to be anymore.

  40. Glad you are safe!! I had a situation a few years ago, I was running on a fairly busy road early in the morning, a car passed me on my side…I was on sidewalk…then went down the road a ways turned around in a driveway and pulled over. It happened to be a stretch where the road is near some woods. He proceeded to get out of the car and walk across the street to my side. Luckily I was a good distance away…I promptly turned around and ran home as fast as I could…the road is now busier and there is a dentist office in that section of the road…needless to say I have only run that route alone once since and it was in the middle of the afternoon when traffic is heavy… Scary
    I appreciate the suggestions on leaving your route written down at home or texting it, pepper spray, and cell phones and of course Road ID. My daughter’s husband makes her carry her iphone with the GPS and find my friend app running. He knows where she is!
    Stay safe!!

  41. Gosh, that is scary!! What a crazy man! I probably would have lost it and flicked him off too…now if I’m ever in this situation I’ll think twice and ignore it. Thanks so much for sharing this story and I hope you and your kids never have to encounter anything like that ever again!

  42. sophia says:

    That’s so scary! I’m so glad you guys are safe. The guy was nuts and his following you had nothing to do with “concern” for your kids.
    I’ve never had anything scary happen during runs but I do some things to stay safe running:
    1. No music with stroller runs (or night time solo runs)
    2. I keep my cell phone on my fuel belt at my waist so I can grab it without stopping.
    3. I tell my husband approx how long I’ll be gone
    4. I run where there will be people (no trails for me). Luckily we live near the Charles River in Boston which has a bike path that is high traffic during the day.
    5. When I lived alone and ran at night pre-kids I ordered some pepper spray for runs but never wound up carrying it around (you should check local laws if you go this route because you need a permit in some states).
    6. You should also have a designated place for your kids to go in the off chance that you guys get separated.
    I hope your next runs are less eventful!
    Sophia

  43. That is just terrifying. So glad you and your children are ok. thank you for the great reminders to “ignore” and to have a cell phone on long runs/with kids. I like to use my long runs to “unplug” but better safe than sorry if I’m off in a remote place. Enjoy your runs. Stay safe!

  44. Whitney says:

    WOW dorothy! im speechless. thank goodness you and the three kids are okay. some people are literally crazy and its scary because you never do know anyone’s motives. its ironic how children can keep their cool in a situation like that. they have good instincts which is an amazing quality that you have instilled in their personalities as a mother. keep up the good work– and never, ever let them quit (=

  45. Morgan says:

    While an itinerary is always a good idea, I would exercise caution in leaving the actual times visible. By leaving your actual itinerary visible, you are telling someone you won’t be back for X amount of time- leaving you vulnerable to theft, and possibly assault if you are returning at a late time.

  46. This is so scary!!!!! I am so glad that you and the little people are safe!

  47. o my goodness so scary! I’m so glad you are ok!

    I really need to be more safe on my runs. I live in the country and it’s easy to get complacent, but if something were to happen there is NO ONE around.

  48. :( A scary run 20 years ago – forever changed my “out for a run” – I always carry my cell phone…always. So glad you are safe – Keep you head up, ears open, and body aware. Hard to do when you ZONE OUT, like I do running.

  49. So scary. I use the cell phone camera trick when I am driving and someone gets road rage. When I am running I haven’t had anyone get angry at me but I have slammed by fist on the hood of a car to get it to stop. They were rolling right through the crosswalk.

  50. Glad you are all o.k.! I literally had chills reading your post. I run my kids in a double stroller and am constantly aware of my surroundings. I would have flipped that guy off too. I take my phone, road ID and never wear headphones ever.

    Bravo to you for not letting one weirdo ruin your running!

  51. My goodness that is scary and you handled it beautifully. Perhaps running to the woods sounds odd but my gut thought was you were going where it was harder for a car to go. And you are indeed fast, smart, and strong. You were a perfect mommy and always are. I am so sorry you had to endure that but am glad the kiddos seem fine. And why wouldn’t they? They know they have a strong mom!

  52. For sure. I think it always comes down to using your best judgment for what works best in your situation.

  53. You are right – I was heading for the woods because I was thinking this man was a coward and wouldn’t get out of his car only follow me with the car. I figured there was no way he could follow me into the woods. Ugh. The whole situation just sucks. The more I think about it the more upset/angry I get.

  54. Kim – Just reading your comment makes me feel sick :( I don’t want to imagine what your scary run was. Hope you are okay from it! xoxo

  55. Melissa says:

    That must have been so scary! I’m so sorry that happened to you, and I am in awe that you were able to get right back out there and run again today. I’ve only been chased once (by a pedestrian, not a car, thankfully), and after that, I wouldn’t leave the apartment without a guy I trusted for two weeks! (Yes, I was THAT girl.)
    I also agree that going into the woods was a good instinct. He couldn’t follow you with the car there, and you could definitely have outrun him. Already fast runner+mama bear protecting her cubs? You would’ve set some speed records if you had to!
    Granted, I wasn’t there, but it doesn’t really sound like the guy was crazy. I think it’s more likely that he’s abusive and cruel. Mentally ill people are way more likely to be the victims of crimes than the perpetrators of them. I’m worried about the woman who was in the car with him too. If she just sat there and didn’t say anything, there’s a good chance he’s been abusing her, too.

  56. Holy cow, that’s just scary as hell! I’m so sorry someone did that to you. It sounds like you handled it well. It can be hard to not react to other’s negativity, but ignoring is definitely the best. I also LOVE the idea of holding your phone like you’re taking a video. Calling 911 right away if you have your cell is another good idea. I wouldn’t wait for even a turn around. If someone makes a point to slow and curse, then a 911 call should be made. Try to get the plates and watch for them in case they do turn around. I had a number of run-ins when I used to ride my bike, but not any since running. I always thought it was odd around where I live because of the high Mennonite population. You’d think people would be used to riders, horse and buggies, horses, etc so another person wouldn’t be a bother.

  57. Kalie says:

    Yikes! That is so scary! I am glad you and your kids are okay. You would think that people would be extra helpful of a mom running w kids…but sadly that is not always the case. A good reminder to do all we can to be extra safe. :)

  58. Kalie says:

    By the way…I saw these super cute necklaces on Zulilly today and this one made me think of you:

    https://m.zulily.com/product/1296196

    Kalie:)

  59. Wow, that is scary. I’ve had some weird stuff happen to me when I’ve been running–I got grabbed by some mentally handicapped guy once, got a ride home from in a police car then; got followed by a guy on a bike; and have been spooked multiple times by weirdos in cars. I’ve been run off the road more times than I can count. Once I was running in rural Wisconsin, early on a Sunday morning, when a car full of young guys, probably still out from the night before, slowed down next to me. I heard one of them say, leave her alone. So I knew they were up to no good. I ALWAYS carry my cell phone with me, I have a waterproof spi-belt, and it doesn’t bother me at all. There are just so many weirdos out there. I’m so glad nothing bad happened to you. Keep your head up and keep running!

  60. Michelle says:

    OMG that is so scary. And it’s even more scary to know that he lives in your neighborhood. I hope Eric runs into him and beats the living hell out of him lol!!! What an a**hole. And after reading everyone’s comments, I think I need to go out and buy pepper spray now :-)

  61. Wow. That is scary! Glad you and the kids are safe. To answer your question, I run with my dog. She’s a 65+ lb German Shepherd and my hope is that she gives the crazies pause before they bother us. I also always tell my husband where I am going and how long I’ll be. I should probably run with my phone as well, but I was so happy to ditch it when I got my garmin. I do need to carry ID, though.

  62. wow, that’s scary. Definitely keep your phone with you for ALL your runs! After a creepy guy weirded me out, i started doing that too….

  63. Super scary. Glad you and your kids are ok. I usually don’t carry a cell phone with me on my early morning solo runs. I know I should but its big and doesn’t hit in my iFitness pouch so I don’t. I usually run in the surrounding neighborhoods but not many people are awake at the early hour I run. I haven’t any scary thing happen to me, but I try to always be aware of my surrounding. I do have road ID that I wear. I only do about 2-3 solo runs per week because the other 3x per week I run with my running buddy which makes me feel safer.

  64. Oh my gosh Dorothy! That is so scary, seriously my heart started beating faster reading this. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I totally agree with your safety tips! It’s always a good to have a safety reminder even though its common sense stuff. God bless you and keep you safe:-)

  65. As for safety tips: I always carry my phone and wear my RoadID. I also my husband and I have an app on our phones called “Find My Friends” so that my husband can track my exact location. I tell him my route and give him an estimated time as to when I’ll be home but sometimes I tack on a few miles or in my case now because I’m pregnant, I take pit stops to pee:-)

  66. Oh my God, that is horrible. I am so sorry you experienced that. What a crazy man!!!! Who would think you’d encounter that on a neighborhood street! I am so glad you and the kids are safe.

  67. katie says:

    that’s some victim-blaming bullshit that if you pressed charges, he could twist around you flipping him off.

    i feel bad for the teenager in the car with him. anyone who yells obscenities at strangers is likely to be an abusive asshole.

  68. I would have done the same thing as you. Good move texting the plate to your hubby.

    1. Always carry a cell phone – I wear an arm band which holds my iPhone. Its the kind without the plastic cover (bad for rainy day runs) that lets me use it without removing it from the holder.

    2. Keep your head up and look people in the faces when you pass them.

    3. If you’re being encountered (like you were), this may sound crazy but….start yelling and acting all erratic. They’ll only think you’re nuts but it will throw them for a loop. I want them to know that they’re now dealing with a crazy woman!

    4. My hubby and I both have iPhones and if we need each other and can’t talk or text something – we will hit the space button on our iPhones then hit send. It just leaves one of those empty message bubbles.
    At least this way your husband knows somethings up if you can’t text completely.

    So glad you and your kids are safe. You will be even more vigiliant now.

  69. How awful and scary this happened to you with your babies! Glad you are okay. In reference to carrying a cell phone: it’s also a good idea to carrying a cell phone in case you get hurt. Here’s a story: 8 years ago my husband went out for a recreational, “easy” bike ride. At the last minute I reminded him to take his cell phone. During his ride he misjudged a corner, his speed and crashed, landing in a sitting position but with an open fracture of his tibia. (yes,one of his lower leg bones was protruding through is skin). He ended up being able to sit on the curb and call me for a “pickup”. (LOL) one I’ll never forget…. Meanwhile,he’s overhead waving to the few people driving by on a nearby road (small town, quiet Sunday afternoon), and they waved back but didn’t stop, probably assuming since he was sitting on a curb he was just sitting and resting I guess.. Finally someone (a young person) did stop but they told me later they weren’t sure if they should, because he looked okay and like he was just sitting on a curb. My point is, not very many cars were going by and no one stopped. (as a woman I wouldn’t have stopped to ask a guy sitting on a curb if he was okay). So how long would he have sat there with his broken leg/open fracture??? Now we carry our cell phones when we run(outside of a small neighborhood loop, I carry mine), or bike anywhere now. He bikes so putting it in a bike bag is easier but I don’t ever have to remind him. and yes I always wear a road id. Always, no matter how small the run. ~just mentioning this because there are countless situations from weirdos to injuries and a cell phone can change for the better the outcome of these situations. It’s not being paranoid, it’s being smart. When you think of the reasons anyone carries a cell phone, carrying one on a solo run/bike, or at least one phone in the group, just makes sense. : )
    Just wanted to share. So glad you and your babies are safe Dorothy. Keep on, keeping on! I love reading your blog and have been meaning to write and tell you.. so there, I just did. Love your honesty and humbleness in your posts along with your dedication to working hard towards your goals. : )

  70. Thank you for your kind words about my blog! :)

    You brought up an excellent point in your comment. PEOPLE DON’T ALWAYS STOP. There were multiple cars that saw that man whip around and chase after me. Maybe they didn’t know what was going on- but there was a man in a truck that I looked directly at as if to say to him HELP. Of course I don’t blame anyone for not stopping but at the same time if I saw something like that happening I would call 911 just in case and tell them I saw something suspicious. Thanks for sharing your story about your husband. I am MORE than convinced that a cell phone has become a must on my runs.

  71. Morgan this is why if I tweet out about a run I almost always talk about it AFTER and never before. Same goes with many things I say on my blog. I talk about the after and not where I plan on going/running before it actually happens. Sometimes I feel paranoid but after this not so much. Great advice from both of you!

  72. Aaaaagh! This is horrible. I’m so sorry, Dorothy! I’ve never had a *psychotic* encounter like you just did, but last Thanksgiving I was stopped by a guy who kept hitting on me. It was insane. I thought he was stopping his car to ask directions or something, but when I took my earbuds out to see what he needed, he started trying to coax me down another street so we could “talk.” He wouldn’t stop, and I was scared to be nasty because I didn’t know what he had in the seat next to him (i.e. a gun)! WTF?!?! No thanks, dude! I had to actually turn in the complete opposite direction and start running because he would not get the hint and drive away. Luckily I was in a pretty safe area and fairly close to home. I have yet to carry my phone with me even after this run, but after hearing your story… yikes. Maybe I should?

    I also have not worn my bootie shorts (like the little ones you are wearing in your video) since then. I think he thought that was “hot” and obviously “inviting” to his advances. I usually wear Nike tempo shorts and a tank. Nothing too revealing because I think that draws the attention of scumbags like him, unfortunately.

  73. I am so glad you and your children are OK. I can’t believe how people behave but to do this in front of children, yours and his, is inexcusable. So glad you got his licence plate and were able to track him down via the police. It reminds me of the incident where some tri-people riding bikes in S. Riding were chased down by a car last summer. Why are people so angry? Honestly, their life must be miserable. Great tips on how to protect yourself from lunatics. Be safe #FindYourStrong xoxo

  74. Lisa – bikes were chased down?!?! I don’t think I ever heard about this! What ended up happening. I have no idea why people care in general about things like me pushing my kids in a stroller. I’d like to say this is the first time I’ve had people yell obscenities at me in SR but unfortunately it’s not. :(

  75. That is BEYOND creepy!. I do agree that sometimes an outfit can seem inviting but it’s a fine line for me between being comfortable in the heat or changing because of someone else. Obviously I don’t have the right answer for this – if there even is one. Yesterday I was wearing capris, a shirt [typically just wear a sports bra in the summer], and a reflective vest for the first time ever while running with my kids. Of course I wonder if it was because I was a woman that this man did this – would he have yelled at my husband if he saw him running pushing the triple? Who knows. Boils my blood either way.

  76. Yes, they were chased down.. I think it was Brian and a few other TPR people. If I recall correctly they gave a description of the vehicle and they never caught the guy. It’s scary, why are people so angry? Is it domestic terrorism against fit people? Why would someone be angry that you are taking your kids out? They are happy, in fresh air, being exposed to the beauty of their natural surroundings, being pushed around in a fun “car”, and not comatose in front of a TV or video games. I can’t really even get my head around why someone would flip out over that. Just glad your all OK.

  77. That is super scary Dorothy!!!! So glad that you and your children are okay.

  78. I’m married to a prosecutor so we know more than most about the awful things that happen every day. It makes me paranoid sometimes. You did everything right once you realized the seriousness of the situation. Yes, a secluded area could be bad- but it’s also away from the street. He couldn’t exactly drive down a trail, and you (as a marathon runner) probably have an advantage on foot. Good job texting the plate.

    The only thing I’d add is to trust your gut when you get that first inkling of a bad situation. It is amazing how much you know and don’t realize you know.

    Congrats on getting through it unscathed.

  79. Oh gosh, Dorothy. I’m so sorry that you had to experience this…ESPECIALLY with your kids there. I will never understand why some people are just so opinionated that they feel THEY can cross the line and do something that is unacceptable to get their point across. Since being pregnant with AJ, I now always run with my phone. I feel so much more vulnerable and nervous now that he’s in my life…I used to run cellphone-less late at night or early in the morning w/o a care and now I feel naked w/o my phone.
    A few years ago, I had a guy stop and motion me over to his car. I thought he wanted directions b/c I had seen his car a few times while I was running in my neighborhood in TX. He did in fact ask me for directions…while I was giving them to him and looked down to see himself exposed and touching himself. I was so mortified, embarrassed, and shocked that I just stopped and started running (in the opposite direction) again.
    Glad to hear that you guys are all okay. Keep your head up – you are a great mommy who is a GREAT example for her kids – you are spending quality time with them (and they with each other) when you take them out running.

  80. I always make sure my husband knows my route, and I make him repeat it back to me for EVERY SINGLE RUN! He knows how long I’ll be gone for so if he starts to worry, he can at least track me down.

  81. OMG, Dorothy! How scary! I’m so glad you and your little ones are ok. I hate confrontation so I think I would’ve just ignored him in the first place. I ALWAYS carry my cell phone with me if I’m by myself or pushing the stroller. And my road ID is a must!

  82. So glad you and your kids are okay!! How scary!!! You did everything right!!!

  83. Dorothy, so sorry to hear this happened to you and so glad you weren’t hurt. To elaborate on what Lisa told you, last year a guy who lives off Center St. chased Brian (my coach) and some other bikers in his car and tried to hit them. He actually screamed out of the car that he was trying to “f***ing kill you.” The police were called and he did end up going to court – he was fined and had to go to anger mgmt classes but that was it. As far as I know he still lives in SR. Drives a Chrysler 3000 with For Hire plates. Be safe.

  84. Susan says:

    So glad you are safe!!! So sad how sick people are these days. I always run with a pepper spray clipped to my shorts. I would hate to use it – it would be my luck I would spray it up wind and get me with it! I did unclip it and carry it in my hand and show it to a guy who I thought was stalking me in his car on a run, and he left. I’d like to think that it scared him off!

  85. Such a frightening story. So glad you and your children are safe! It amazes me how sick some people act. My father, who is a retired police officer, always recommended never carrying anything (like pepper spray, etc) that could be used against you. So, to be safe on runs, I carry my cell phone and make sure at least one person is aware of my route and when I expect to return.

  86. Sonicka says:

    Last year during Portland to Coast (the walking relay that goes on at the same time as the Hood to Coast) I had a crazy guy drive through the mountain roads at midnight full speed honking his horn, swerving towards me, flashing his lights and yelling obscenities. I spent the rest of the dark leg trying to see if there was a ditch to jump into if he came back! When my team checked on me I made them stay close for the rest of the leg. I wish I had good advice for you because I know it’s terrifying! I’ll be checking back here to get some good advice myself. Good for you for getting back out there!!

  87. Jeannie says:

    Yikes! Very scary & so sorry to read this! I have been attacked by a dog before with a child in a backpack which was very frightening but never chased down by a car. Can’t believe someone would do that. Glad you & your kids are safe!

  88. Heather V says:

    That is definitely nerve-wracking, and I am glad you and the kids are okay. I always run with my dog and cell phone, but I think I will also be getting a Road ID after this. I want to let you know, though, that the beginning of your post really inspired me today, as I felt tired (and had other excuses lining up) and didn’t feel like running. You are absolutely right. I GET to run, I don’t have to, and I am blessed to be able to do so. Thank you!

  89. So scary! But glad you and your kids are safe! I guess I’m going to stick to running in my own neighborhood and keep it during the day. For longer runs, I’ll stick to the gym or go with my boyfriend.

  90. I totally understand why you did all the things that you did and probably would have done similarly. I run a lot at night. I always stay in my immediate neighborhood which is gated. When I run outside the gate, I always tell someone where I’ll be going, I call right when I start (or know I’ll lose a signal) and tell when to expect me to call at the end. You are so right about not being confrontational with crazies. I’ve made that mistake before. I am sooooooooo glad you and your babes are alright.

  91. What a terrible excuse… concerned for the safety of the kids? How about asking the question instead of yelling at you?? You asked why people even care that you’re running with a stroller… I can’t tell you how many women have told me I have to stop running if I get pregnant… or how bad stroller running is for the kids because it scrambles their brains. Grr… people make me angry.

    My safety: I actually got a puppy (6 months old now) that I’m training to be my running partner (in another 6 months) just for safety purposes so I can feel more comfortable running alone. I also ALWAYS run with my cell phone, ID, & money in case I need to get back fast (even in races, btw). People wonder why I can’t leave my cell phone behind & I don’t understand that… because I might fall & really hurt myself. And when my husband is deployed, I confess I spend a lot of time on the treadmill. Again, safety; it’s not a good idea to be out alone when there’s no one to expect you home.

  92. Yup, good advice. I always acknowledge other runners/hikers/bikers/pedestrians when I’m running.

  93. I’m am so glad you and your family are ok. An incident like that would leave me shaking for weeks. I’m pretty paranoid about situations like this, so I’ve stopped listening to music while I run. I’m not saying people shouldn’t listen to music while running, it just a personal choice that makes me feel safer when I run. My husband and I both have the Life 360 app on our iphones which allows each of us to see the other person’s location. I know law enforcement authorities can track us via our phones, but I like knowing that my husband could also find me, and vice versa (although the app is not as precise as the technology that law enforcement has, I’m sure).

  94. Melissa W says:

    Wow! I am so sorry this happen to you! Thanks for posting about it and the reminder to be safe.

  95. it bums me out that we live in a society where women are made to feel bad for wearing booty shorts or revealing clothes or whatever. the onus is on the harasser to NOT HARASS PEOPLE. no one is ever “asking for it” by wearing revealing clothing, but so many women (myself included) will adjust their behavior or clothing or comfort level to avoid harassment on the street.

    although, for what it’s worth, i don’t think clothing matters all that much either. i’ve been holla’d at walking home wearing sweatpants, winter hat, coat.

    i doubt this guy would have come after your husband or another man.

  96. I’m so sorry you and the kids had to go through this but I am glad you are alright. I think you handled the situation (flip off aside) very well! I’d never lead someone back to my house. My jogging stroller companions have all been taught over the years the “what to do if…” plans. What to do if mommy get hurt. What to do if mommy said it’s serious. We’ve planned and practiced (when they were each old enough) unbuckling and getting away from the road, in the case that I might faint or otherwise be unable to help them. That is one of my biggest fears. Living in a familiar and safe place for my entire life, I still did these things.
    Now with a move to a much more population area with an actual crime rate, I am very fearful of pushing the jogger. Just last week on a trail there was a body discovered. No word on what actually happend and I probably wouldn’t push the jogger there anyway BUT it makes all this much more real to me.
    Again I am so sorry you guys endured this but you really gave us all great pointers and a huge reminder!

    Stay safe!…it’s also printed on my Road Id.

  97. i purchased this self-defense tool on amazon: Safety Cat Women’s Self Defense Keychain. there is minimal chance of injuring yourself and it’s small enough to carry easily. I also recently got a road-id. they provided me with a coupon for $1 off (20 uses over the next 30 days) so if anyone needs to buy one, feel free to use the code: ThanksErin15428960.

    Scary stuff – thanks for posting.

  98. Oh my goodness that is insane! I am so glad you and the little blessings are safe! Praise God!

  99. I meant to comment on this yesterday and didn’t get to, but wow, wow, wow. That is such a frightening experience. In some ways, I actually feel safer running with the stroller, as though people would be unlikely to threaten/attack a mother… but there’s really no reason that would be the case! It’s a great reminder to always be aware of our surroundings, and never assume we’re safe, especially with kids in tow. I am terrible about running with my phone or id, I really need to make that a priority! So glad you’re all okay, and that your kids didn’t seem too traumatized. What a crazy experience!

  100. Yikes. I’m glad you and the kids are safe!

    Mary

  101. Samantha says:

    OMG this makes me want to curse, or cry, or beat the crap out of that man – I’m not sure which. I am so glad you and your kids are safe. My husband is the paranoid one in our family and is always worrying for me and our kids while I run. My road ID and smart phone do a lot to make me feel safe but I HATE that we have to think about this stuff and take all these precautions. Thanks for sharing and staying so positive.

  102. That is just horrible, sometimes I don’t understand what people are thinking. I am sorry both you and your children had to experience that situation. I am glad everyone is okay!

  103. That is a really nasty experience, and I feel tense just reading it. It brings home what you girls can run into. This is not an advert for our workplay running bags or iPhone’s – but it makes me realise how right it is to carry your security items with you and that it should be possible to be able to get to your phone quickly. I have an iphone and one of the good things is that it shares photo’s over iCloud. I cannot imagine being able to type a registration number into my phone as quickly as you did but a quick snap shot would mean that the car / maybe numberplate and GPS location would already be on my home iPad or computer pretty quickly so if somebody tried to trace the event there would be a fighting chance of finding out what had happened. I think it’s important to carry ID, so we built a “ICE” In Case Of Emergency Label into our fleetfoot running bag because of this – and again we built whistles into the chest strap of our backpacks just for those sort of situations. I appreciate this sounds like a advert for the bags we designed so please feel free to remove this post if it sounds that way – but I just wanted to not just sympathise but show that at least this ( male) designer has tried to create products for women. Nobody should have to experience what you did. I’d want to cut his n***s off if he did that to my wife.

  104. Mary Ibbetson says:

    I traveled to Memphis TN last year with family so my Godmother could check out Graceland. We got in very late at night and went right to the hotel. I got up before everyone in the am and decided to go for a run. I was on the mail road (that Graceland is on) so I figured I would be ok, I noticed some run down strip malls and not much else but it still didn’t occur to me that I was in a bad area and maybe shouldnt be alone at 530am until I came across a car sitting at the edge of a parking lot, seeming to be waiting for me. I turned around and started running in the other direction, convincing myself I was being stupid and he was just making a phone call or something – when I came across the same car again, this time blocking me at the entrance of a shuttered up strip mall. This was no coincidence.

    I was about a mile and half from the hotel and didn’t know a soul to even call. I ran out into the middle of the road and ran on the yellow line between traffic going in either direction (not that there was much of it, but enough where the guy couldnt grab me without being seen) and hauled @$$ back to the hotel, trying to call my family that was all sleeping while I ran.

    I never saw a cop and didn’t see the car again but, honestly, I was running hard and afraid to look up.

    Lessons learned – Don’t run alone in unfamiliar surroundings especially early am or late night. Make sure someone knows where you are (and can be reached).

    I am glad you and the kiddos are ok.

  105. i carry a cell phone on my runs, one of those small old types i put in my running skirt pocket. but now after reading your story, i will start carrying my new phone. i dont listen to music. i take id with me always and let my husband know my route. since i am petite i run with two 65 pounds dogs, one on my left and one on my right.

    thank you for sharing your story i am glad you and your children are ok.

  106. I was running with my double stroller when a biker passed me and screamed, “Hey dumb a** you’re on the wrong side of the street!” I was shocked. First, I have kids here so mind your language. Second, he didn’t know I was on that side because it was a simple means to an end- turning off that road. Third, what a jerk. He should have said, “Way to go pushing that thing. It’d be safer on the other side.” -If he really was concerned.

    People are just rude. I always tell my husband that its so unfair that woman feel vulnerable, I do on every run.
    Sorry about your experience…never fun!

  107. I am a little confused by something. You said the car was on the opposite of the road but coming towards you. Were you running with traffic as opposed to against traffic, and if so…with a triple stroller??

  108. I always run against traffic when alone and with my children. This man drove into the other lane – not sure if he was trying to be dramatic or what – but there was plenty of room for him – the road I was on has side street parking and there were no cars there – so I was not in his way in any way. Also keep in mind I am running in a neighborhood/community – not on the side of a busy highway/road.

  109. Thank you Maria. Stay safe :)

  110. Glad that everything was ok in the end.

  111. Anonymous says:

    Thanks. The whole thing is so ridiculous. I really wish it had never happened. ugh.

  112. Hi there,
    Came across your site first due to your affiliation with Saucony, then read this very scary post. Yes, I have cursed at cars and actually smashed their trunks with a hand after almost being hit, and I always think “what the heck am I doing?” but in the heat of the moment with endorphins and testosterne raging, it gets the better of me. A little different experience being a male.

    Your post is very serious, of course, but a much more light-hearted piece of running fiction speaks to a fantasy of mine of chasing down an evil carload. Check it out if you’re curious. I think it’s a very fun, quick read for a runner . http://markmatthewsauthor.blogspot.com/2012/05/running-and-drive-by-screamers.html

  113. Mine wasn’t nearly so bad, but I just had a scary run last night! Guy seemingly followed out of the park after my night run and most of the way home. Fortunately a cop vehicle basically followed me the walk home as well! I didn’t feel unsafe because the cop was there, but I wouldn’t have been really shook up – and possibly mugged – if he hadn’t been! Full post: http://goo.gl/HFrth

  114. Not jog with a stroller bigger then a car. Sorry jogging with children is dangerous and has health risks with all the pollution. Many articles about car pollution linked to autism.

  115. Even though a leasure activities is actually a good option, I would exercise careful attention in making the actual periods visible. By means of making ones precise leasure activities visible, you’re sharing with a person people won’t become again for Back button amount of time- making people liable to thieves, even invasion in case you are heading back at the overdue occasion.

  116. Yeah happened to me tonight running. 1am
    Creepy Red truck sees me running (coming out residential area) and starts creeping slowly.. cuts off lights.. pulls over and blocks the exit coming out the residential road. Passenger door opens.. I see two people in the vehicle Looks like they are waiting for me to pass near the vehicle( An interception at 1am).. My military senses say danger.. danger.. so I turn and run the opposite direction really freaking fast..towards some houses with lights on. The truck stays there and waits for a long.. long time with lights off.. then they close the door.. and it creeps away with lights off real slow down the road… i wait a while till its clear then do a running for my life mile ultra sprint back to my house coming out the residential area. It’s bad when you need to carry a weapon to go running anymore. I felt safer running in a war zone than in my own country.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I share all this with a pretty light tone because, in the end, we were all safe and will recover from any injuries sustained. However, it is important to keep your eyes and ears open and perhaps consider in advance what you would do in case you ran into trouble or got injured mid-run on a trail where you had no cell service. Most of us have heard of Sherry Arnold and Sarah Hart. Or what about what happened to Dorothy at Mile Posts? […]

  2. […] Related: I Was Chased Down By A Car While Running […]

I love a good comment!

%d bloggers like this: