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.