Jasmine raised an interesting point in the comments below about how women are more likely to do cardio at the gym than men because of safety concerns. You know I really have to confess something – I never think that much about my personal safety. I know some women won’t go out running when it’s dark on their own but I never want to be that person – I never want to NOT do something because I’m worried about what someone else might do. Of course, I’m not stupid. I don’t go running along the Merri Creek trail at night (but then I rarely run the Merri Creek trail anyway because it’s all concrete and wreaks my body) but I’m more than happy to go for a run around the streets.
I think I have low levels of paranoia because I don’t watch TV all that often and I never watch crime shows. I don’t subject myself to hours of watching women being raped and murdered every night. I prefer my violence more gory and cartoonesque.
Also I think you are safer in the inner suburbs, strange as that might seem because people seem to think of the quiet safer of outer suburbia. It’s the quietness that worries me. If I go out for a run, most of my course is through streets filled people – people sitting out in cafes eating or doing stuff not to mention all the other runners and bike riders on the streets – whereas in the ‘burbs there’s no one around. Everyone is safely inside their homes not paying attention to things happening outside. You could have your throat cut and no one would even realise.
I know I’ll cop flak for this and that’s against all wisdom, but I run at night with my ipod. I don’t even really think about it, I just do it. I don’t think I’m any less aware of my surroundings when I wear it, mostly because I walk around in a daze of oblivion anyway. I used to worry about wearing music at night but then I realised I’d leave classes in the city at 8.30 and happily walk home in the dark listening to music and what’s the difference between that and running?
Another bit of conventional wisdom I ignore is letting someone know where I’m going and when I’m going to return. Every time I read that advice, I feel like I’m sitting in a resturaunt on my own on Valentine’s Day cos it fully assumes I have someone who actually cares. Simon and I actually laughed about it on one of our runs cos who do we have at home? I have my chronically fatigued sister and he has his vague as hell partner. Neither of them would notice us missing for days. I could just see my sister – she’d only notice I was gone if she went down for coffee and someone at the cafe asked where I am. Maybe I should just call in at the cafe before I run and let them know. They’d definitely send out a search party when the profits started going down! It’s not like I’m running on bush tracks with no one in sight for miles anyway. I’m sure someone somewhere would find me in the desolate wilds of Northcote and Fitzroy.
I guess it’s an individual thing. If you’re going to be panicking and looking over your shoulder the whole, you won’t enjoy your run. Personally I’m going to keep at it. Sure if some big bloke built like a brick shithouse comes at me with a knife I’m pretty well rooted but then I don’t think many male runners could fight off someone like that and it doesn’t stop them.
ps. I solved the ipod problem by downloading a program called Anapod to replace iTunes. It’s awesome and I fully recommend it 😀