(When I set out to write my post for this week, I had grand plans of writing about my experience registering for Boston. Other ideas included talking about volunteering at a marathon last weekend and cherishing the connection with other runners. As life goes, however, my run on Wednesday night changed my plans for this week’s entry. )
Typically bucolic Burlington has been disrupted by a violent event in the North End, where a woman was found dead in her home. Details continue to emerge, but the event unsettled me. The extent to which was not clear until my run on Wednesday night.
I was running along the bike path when a bike slowed behind me. Normally, I wouldn’t have paid any mind. On Wednesday, however, I spun around, spooked. It was a commuter, slowing to turn off the bike path onto his street. He apologized and was clearly surprised to have upset me. I spent the rest of the run on edge, jumping at the rustling of leaves and mile markers. As it got too dark to see, I needed my headlamp, plunging myself into the isolation of a single beam of light. By the last two miles, I was whistling “Camptown Races” as loudly as I could, as though that would dissuade any attackers.
On my nth rendition of the song, I got mad. I’ve been running alone for fifteen years in places much more dangerous than Burlington. I survived four years in Albany and ran through post-Katrina Biloxi. Now, in my safe little haven, I’ve been rudely reminded of my vulnerability as a woman runner. As someone constantly competing with the boys, it pisses me off that while they run on, I’m risking ankle sprains from jumping off a path when a branch brushes my arm.
In a few weeks, the salience of this will fade and I’ll be back to being a creature of the night, running before the rest of the world rouses. Until then, I’m begging friends to run with me (fruitless), considering a new dog (crazy) and re-scheduling my life to allow me to run in the daylight (impractical).