Saturday, February 11, 2012

My reason to run today

Today marked the worldwide virtual run to remember Sherry Arnold, a Montana runner, math teacher, mother and wife who disappeared in the early morning of  Saturday, January 7, 2012 during her morning run. While two arrests have been made, her body has not yet been found. Her cousin, Beth Risdon who blogs at Shut Up + Run, started a movement to honor Sherry with a simple blog post and go out and run/walk/cycle or whatever activity of a person's choice to honor her cousin on Saturday, February 11, 2012. Several of my running friends, local and online, planned to participate. Some of us simply to remember Sherry and some of us, like myself, to make the stand that safety is an issue for runners, perhaps especially for women who run solo...and that we shouldn't allow fear to keep us from doing something we enjoy. Watch this video about the virtual run from KTVQ in Billings, Montana.

Despite having woken up at 4:30am and spending the next 4-5 hours trying to deal with an upset stomach that almost stopped me from going on the run, I persisted and ate my usual light breakfast, took a hot shower to hopefully perk me up (which it did), and taped up my knees and turf toe. The run was scheduled to start at 9am but I ended up moving a little slow and didn't get out the door until 9:30. I had originally planned to drive out to the local Air Force base to run the 10 mile long perimeter road, but between being sick and a weather forecast with a freezing fog advisory, 22°F, wind chill of 11°F and winds for the east at 11mph, I decided that running a 5K route in the area of my house would be the best plan since I'd be relatively close to restrooms very close to the route and close to home should I begin feeling ill during the run.

I have to admit that the run started out pretty slowly as I tried to grapple with my rumbling stomach and the occasional wave of nausea. The tree branches and grass were fairly well covered with frozen fog. I had to concentrate on keeping warm and keeping moving. My initial intervals were pretty short...not even ¼ mile before walking for 100-200 feet. As time passed the nausea seemed to subside and I was able to get into a fairly regular pace with my run intervals increasing closer to half a mile. Once I hit this comfort pace my thoughts for why I was running, especially while sick, became the focus. My thinking began to focus on what I could do to make myself safer since I run solo about 97% of the time. I carry pepper spray on most of my long runs (when I can remember it) and I try to run in fairly well traveled areas (Perimeter Road on base is the most remote location I run on). Whenever possible I tell my husband which route I'll be on and try to leave it up on my computer where he can find it and if I'm running during the week while he's working and I'm going down that way I'll usually check in just to let him know where in my run I am and when to expect me home. At about this point I found myself hearing my Runstar app announcing that I had just surpassed the 5K mark. Woohoo!! I'm feeling pretty good, I think I'll try to keep going for the 10K.

As I began on the second loop I realized that I had forgotten my RoadID anklet, another item that I try to remember to put on before my long runs. This little gem provides basic emergency information plus is linked to an account online that emergency services can retrieve my medical history. I do, however, always carry my smart phone which shows my husband's phone number on the lock screen and also has an emergency information app on it listing my medical history. I began thinking if there was anything else that I could do to make myself even safer and I couldn't think of anything short of running in a group. I don't know enough local runners who run at my pace which is slower than most runners I know (they are probably at an 8-9 minute mile while I'm more at a 13 minute mile during training) and my run is faster than walkers than I know. Besides, I do enjoy my alone time to just zone out or think things over by myself. I do try to go to the local running club weekly meetup but I only do 1-2 miles due to time constraints although it is nice just touching base with people. There it is Runstar app announces 6.2 miles and I'm just short of my house. Oh, what the heck...haven't been feeling sick lately let's go for the full 10 miles!

I turn around and decide to do the route in the opposite direction with some extra turns and such to reach the full 10 miles. I'm pretty much done thinking at this point having covered every talking point that I could think of. I'm plugging along when I start seeing individual young men at two different points walking towards me with hoodies on and the hoods pulled up over their heads and obscuring their faces. I then start going into alert mode...what are you going to do if you're attacked? Should you turn around and make sure you're not being followed? Frankly, just a little touch of mild paranoia. Obviously, nothing happened. But what if it did? How would I fight back? Kicking, screaming, swinging my frozen arms which seemed to be frozen into the 90° angle to keep proper form. I had left my pepper spray at home since I'd be running in town and on fairly well traveled roads. Unfortunately, that reaction is really something that you won't know about until it actually happens. I continue on my way turning a corner (one of those extra turns I had mentioned) and there's a man walking out of his garage who hollers out, "That's too extreme, this is not running weather!" to which I reply, "Any weather is running weather!" Again, my mind turns a little paranoid. What if this guy actually tried to grab me and drag me into the house? What would I do? Again, there was nothing that I could come up with for sure because the reaction would be instinctual. I realize that I can't let paranoia control me. I have to trust in the run and trust in my instincts to keep me safe. I hear the Runstar app call out 9.3 miles. I need to adjust my route a little again to make the full 10 miles. I begin to wonder what must have gone through Sherry's mind as she was being abducted. Was she terrified or had they tricked her into entering the vehicle? What was it that made her their target? Just the fact that she was a woman running alone? We will never know. As I turn onto my street, I have to turn away from home to get another quarter mile in. I pull out my phone and open the Runstar app to keep track of how much further I need. I shake up my sprint flask (a palm held 10 oz bottle) full of G2 to find that it has pretty much frozen into a thick slush which is totally undrinkable through the valve (good thing I wasn't thirsty during the run). Then as I pull into the driveway I said a silent thank you for getting me through this run and a wish for peaceful running for Sherry Arnold. You are safe now. Run happy.

100 Days Challenge:
  • Day 42
    • 10 mile run to honor Sherry Arnold in 2:13:52

What I Ate Today: (Still being updated)
  • 1 whole wheat Bagel Thin
  • 1 Tbsp reduced fat peanut butter
  • 40 oz G2
  • 2 sausage patties
  • 2 fried eggs
  • Spaghetti with meat sauce from Something Different Grill
  • 2 slices of garlic bread
  • Side salad with Ranch dressing (iceberg lettuce, cucumber, tomato, red onion, croutons)
  • 32 oz Pepsi
Alkalete Review, Day 5:
Still not noticing any significant changes. Some soreness post 10 mile run after 2 doses today. Two days of rest in my future aside from PT exercises and Aqua Zumba before the virtual half marathon. We'll see how ready I feel on Tuesday.

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