Better Safe than Run Over

By Megan Cox

Ah yes, nothing better than, on an early morning run, the feel of the cool autumn air, the daylight just beginning to peek over the horizon, and the quiet stillness that hangs over a sleepy neighborhood.

That is, until I have headlights coming at me full speed ahead.

Currently, we have a little situation going on in my subdivision. It’s called a Facebook war, which has been waged between those who have been tracking cars driving too fast through the neighborhood and those who like to tell people to mind their own business.

As a mama of two little ones, I tend to side with those who caution the reckless speeders, but as a woman with a very full plate, I don’t comment. However, it’s fun to tune in to the Facebook drama—there’s usually a new episode every day.

Lately, I’ve been a little more perturbed with the reckless drivers, and that’s because I’ve been out very early to get in my training runs for my December half-marathon.

If you’ve been keeping up with my journey, you’ll remember that I can’t use the YMCA child watch because of the warning by my pediatrician about a whooping cough outbreak — at least not until my baby is six-months-old. That leaves my only training option to be six in the morning, which wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t still feeding the baby at four a.m.

I know. Whine, whine, whine. And I promised I wouldn’t do that!

Anyway, as I have no desire to end up flattened by some texting, distracted, and/or sleepy neighbor driving like a bat out of hell in the wee hours of the morning, it’s time to invest in some safety gear.

One of the best purchases I can probably make in this department is reflective gear. I’ll probably buy a reflective safety vest, but there are all kinds of options, from arm bands to clip-on strobe lights. See some choices here.

But if we’re talking safety, speeding cars aren’t the only threat to the dedicated runner. As a woman of less-than-intimidating size, I’ve talked to my law enforcement friends about what they would recommend to keep, you know, unwanted guests away. I’m not just referring to the unlikely stalker/mugger, but also to those cute-but-sometimes-not-so-friendly canines.

For this, one might pick up some pepper spray (or, sometimes sold by the more fancy name of “self-defense spray”). I bought a runner-specific one at my local sporting goods store.

Finally, alertness is a person’s best defense. Being able to call for help is also important, so if you carry nothing else while you run, don’t forget to pack your cell phone and a whistle. And yes, ditch the headphones. Really, I mean it. Because you know what they say…

Better safe than, well, the alternative.

This is a guest post by Megan Cox, an Oklahoma City-based novelist, writer and contributing blogger for HalfMarathons.Net. Learn more about Megan at her website.

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