My Running #MeToo

So I hesitated a lot before writing this post. Our blog is not really one for serious conversations. Yes I rave about things I love here and I know there are a few lines of complaints when I am not totally in love with something, but this is a serious topic and I worry about writing about it. However I have this beautiful little girl in my life now. Our daughter who I read books to every night, who Robert and I constantly tell that she can be anything and do anything she wants. The little girl who I hope grows up to love running as much as we do. The little girl who will hopefully not have to deal with deciding which running route will make her the least target for an abduction, the one where she can avoid cat calls, maybe enjoy some solo night runs, or *gasp* run in just a sports bra when its over 90 degrees before factoring in humidity and every man is shirtless. This post is dedicated to you Miss Eleanor- hopefully me opening up a bit can bring some light to the issues women face while running so when you grow up, if you want to run, you can do so without the constant worry I know so many of us face each time we lace up.

As I said before I wasn’t planning on writing this post. I never even did the whole #MeToo status because I am not one to really delve that way when it comes to social media. Then I got cat called at the other day on my run by some redneck driving by and it set this fire off inside me. Can we please stop drive by harassment? For goodness sake I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, cousin, friend, and (former but will be again) teacher. To all men who yell at female runners out your car windows: Do you really not have one female in your life in some capacity that you respect? If she came home and told you she felt scared because someone yelled at her, wouldn’t that upset you? You may think you’re being funny- heck your delusional mind may even think you’re flattering me. So let me clear something up- you’re not. You scare me. You make me worry that you’ll pull that truck over into the subdivision up ahead and grab me as I run past. You make me change my running route and time each day so I can limit my chances of running into you again. I will not let you prohibit me from running- but I will let you be in the back of my mind each time I step out the door. So however manly you feel shouting out the window as you drive by please realize the cost of your fulfillment. Think about any of the women you have in your life- would you like them to pay the cost you continually make me suffer?

I love running new routes and going to different running locales for my daily runs, however I have definitely been in the position many times when I am running in the middle of the day somewhere new and am constantly checking over my shoulder. When a man passes me by on a running path I always make sure he continues to run in the other direction for a bit just to be sure I’m safe before breathing again. I do not want to be this way. I do not want any woman to feel this way, but until violence against women stops I will. Last Saturday Ellie woke up around 5:30 for her feeding. Robert offered to let me go for my run first to ensure I got in the mileage I wanted to before our company arrived. I had to remind him that it would still be dark for an hour. My very thoughtful husband just wanted to let me run first because he knows I used to love starting our days off before work with a run in the morning. I’m not scared to run with a headlamp, but I am scared to run alone in the dark. He does it every morning without fear so he did not think about why I would not take him up on his offer. I am fearless on a trail. I have no problem running a technical route on the side of a mountain, hopping over trees, slugging through mud, or jumping over snakes. The animals that we encounter may make me wary, let’s be serious I do not want to run across a bear. However that fear is much less constricting then that of a man behind the bushes or in the side alley just waiting for me to pass. I prefer to run on a trail by myself because at least I will most likely be able to outrun a potential threat- especially if I can find myself an uphill.

I would love it if we were at the point in our society where my fears would be in vain. However it isn’t. Obviously I understand that one blog post is not changing the reality of what is going on with the relationship between men and women today. However I know a lot of great men. Many of whom I know will be shocked and even possibly upset when they read this. Some may even be angry. I know that throughout history the way things change has been to circumnavigate the legislative process by getting the Supreme Court to make rulings have open discussions to bring awareness to a problem. I am not expecting a witch hunt against the redneck in the white truck, however let’s be aware that there is a problem. Let’s not make it seem okay to make others intimidated. Although you may think you are being funny- you are being threatening so please realize that. Maybe a little more awareness of the realness of this issue can help start the path to fixing it. I love running. I hope my daughter can too without the many concerns that make it a less than perfect sport.

Happy Running.

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