On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Friday, December 3, 2010

True Facts about Tracy

True Facts for your Friday:

  • I don't eat olives, sauerkraut, white chocolate, or sweet potatoes;
  • I have my wisdom teeth in a plastic jar on a bookshelf in my living room (near my medals, actually);
  • I spent one of the best summers of my life working as a cocktail waitress at a Hawaiian bar;
  • I'm addicted to my iPhone - or to a smart phone, anyway (I'm considering abandoning crappy AT&T to get a Droid);
  • I'm afraid of the dark.

What what, you say?  You don't eat olives, Tracy?

Yeah, it's true: I'm scared of the dark.  I'm okay in very well lit areas or when I'm with other people, but on my own - pretty much terrified.  So I don't run in the dark.  That works well all summer, when I can go running at 7pm and be fine.  But yesterday, I put my running clothes on and went outside.  Between taking out the garbage and a short phone call, it was dark before I could run.  And it was only 5pm.

One of the greatest things about running in my neighborhood is that it's empty.  Not congested.
One of the worst thing about running in my neighborhood is that it's empty.  Desolate.

How worried should I be?  Years of working as a rape crisis advocate and buying into the whole Katie Roiphe, blue-light argument have convinced me that I am at risk when I do something stupid like run in a lightly trafficked area by myself in the dark.

But what about when that means that I'm not going running?

How worried should I be?  I'm not worried about cars.  The path I run on is car-free.  I'm worried about my safety.  Running with my phone visible means that I'm a target; having my phone put away means I can't access it in a rush if something happens.


  1. Hear, hear. This girl is shit scared of the dark. I actually check my bed...every night before I go to sleep. Just to check whether or not something is hiding underneath. Yup. Also, a couple of days ago, I phoned my mom, because I thought (!) I heard someone stumbling around upstairs.

    I don't like running in the dark, but, well, it has to be done. How I tackle it? I take my dog with me. He's pretty huge and that's what scares off the bad guys (or so I hope). He does growl when people come near me. Not all people, but somehow he senses whether or not it's 'a nice person'. However, I am thinking about buying one of those runner alarms.

  2. Christel, I am SO GLAD to hear that!! I really thought I was the only pretend adult who was scared of the dark. What is a runner alarm?

  3. The only things that scare me about running in the dark THESE days are black ice and black bears. Luckily, the black bears are in hibernation by the time the black ice is around...

    But last year living in Atlanta, I was much, much more spooked about running in the dark -- a guy grabbed me once on a 5 am run and I had to fight him off with my keys. You definitely aren't being silly -- it's smart to be careful and aware and to not get complacent about it!

  4. I hate olives!

    I'm sorry about the darkness :( I avoid scary movies because they make me more scared of the dark, but other than that I'm usually ok. I like the reservoir and CP because of the lights. Maybe you can bring a little thing of pepper spray with you? If you really feel unsafe though, I would opt for the dreadmill. Better to be safe than sorry, you know?

  5. There's a street by my house that is perfect for running, fields and trees one side, the back of a subdivision on the other. It's about 1 mile from one end to the other so you can run back and forth and not have to stop for anyone or anything. However, there are two problems: one is that there isn't a garbage can (which is a situation when you are running with your dogs and you have to be a good citizen and pick up the poop), the second is ZERO street lights. You'll catch me back there after dark.

  6. @sweatykid: The thought of Alaskans having to fear BEARS really puts things in perspective. Because that is INSANE. And that you've actually had to fight off a guy (great job, though) does reinforce my "better safe than sorry" mentality.

    @Indigo: I've done that long walk with a doggie bag before. Totally no fun.

    And Kelly - you feel safe in CP? That's interesting... I could take the subway down to CP rather than running the riverbank (uptown). Better than the dreadmill!

  7. Run with a semi-automatic weapon. Anything else is just un-american.

  8. Spoken like a true Brit, Kai. I absolutely love it.

    Do they make coolmax holsters? Like a spi-belt, but for a gun? UNTAPPED MARKET.