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Awareness While Training Solo
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An interesting discussion going on over on the main tri forum, someone posted an interaction they had with a female triathlete out on a ride and felt the need to post about it. I tried to offer an explanation of why she may have reacted the way she did but got a surprising backlash from some of the men. I tried to explain to them why, I apparently missed out on the "running while female" thread that had been active earlier touching on why women are sometimes apprehensive about interactions with males when they are out training solo but I replied along the same lines with my own personal examples (obviously it is situation dependent), but there seem to be guys that insist that all women should feel comfortable engaging them in conversation at any time if they "look like" a few athlete and any apprehension is unfounded. Here's the thread if you are interested: http://forum.slowtwitch.com/..._brag_ever_P6126407/.

Maybe I'm just lucky that all of my male friends and training partners get it - they are aware that women are sometimes on their guard when training solo and are mindful of it when striking up conversation with women they don't know out on the trail or road and if stopping to lend a hand. Is this the norm or are most guys completely oblivious? Do you bother trying to get them understand?


Elisha
"Triathlon doesn't build character. It reveals it."
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Re: Awareness While Training Solo [f_ahsile04] [ In reply to ]
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I thought you were doing a really good job of explaining things in the other thread, but there are some men who refuse to get it (I suspect that most of them are creeps IRL).
Personally, almost all of my training buddies are men, simply due to the demographics where I live, and I trust them completely. However, I have had a lot of threatening interactions with men when I have been training, and I can think of one time when one of my friends wouldn't leave at the end of a ride until after I did because he saw someone across the street in a car staring at me.
Men don't have to get what we go through. The world would be a much better place if no one got it. But those who don't get it need to STFU and stop denying our experiences.
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Re: Awareness While Training Solo [f_ahsile04] [ In reply to ]
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I thought your posts were spot on. I did happen to catch the running while female thread as well as all the chatter on RW original article. So what if it is in more than one thread. By default, I wear my bitch hat because a random stranger has to earn my trust, even if their tri gear matches mine. I'm just not willing to let my guard down. I actually had a guy try to nab me at dusk on a rural road and I made a ballistic scene, running out into the road, straight up the middle of the road, and acting completely insane. The guy took off, I called the cops, gave a description, and they paid him a nice visit. Like you, I'd rather be called a crazy bitch than be a dead lamb in a ditch.

If we aren't brave enough to share our stories and viewpoints then the problem will never improve. Unfortunately, speaking up on this very topic always seems to garner a smack down from some (seemingly a lot of...) guys. Sometimes you gotta ignore STers just like you ignore creepers. Be strong sister. And be safe.

Hillary Trout
San Luis Obispo, CA

Born a swimmer, borrowed a bike, laced up some runners, and the rest just fell into place for a solid MOP life.
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Re: Awareness While Training Solo [f_ahsile04] [ In reply to ]
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I appreciated your posts. I had to stop reading the thread and the "running while female" because the responses were making me angry. It's easy for a man to say that people should smile and be friendly with each other, when I'm willing to bet he has never felt threatened on a solo run.

Sadly, my two favorite running routes, 25 miles apart, have both had incidents this summer where a woman has been nearly assaulted. One was in a "safe" suburb, so it's not like I'm running crime-ridden routes. I have since limited my running to with my husband or dog, or on a college campus where there are always tons of people around. It sucks and I hate that I have to do this.

http://mediocremultisport.blogspot.com
My life goal is to improve my race times so much I'm featured on MarathonInvestigation.com.
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Re: Awareness While Training Solo [SLOgoing] [ In reply to ]
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SLOgoing wrote:
I actually had a guy try to nab me at dusk on a rural road and I made a ballistic scene, running out into the road, straight up the middle of the road, and acting completely insane. The guy took off, I called the cops, gave a description, and they paid him a nice visit. Like you, I'd rather be called a crazy bitch than be a dead lamb in a ditch.
This is exactly what you're supposed to do. How terrifying. I am glad you got out away.

http://mediocremultisport.blogspot.com
My life goal is to improve my race times so much I'm featured on MarathonInvestigation.com.
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Re: Awareness While Training Solo [SLOgoing] [ In reply to ]
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SLOgoing wrote:
I thought your posts were spot on. I did happen to catch the running while female thread as well as all the chatter on RW original article. So what if it is in more than one thread. By default, I wear my bitch hat because a random stranger has to earn my trust, even if their tri gear matches mine. I'm just not willing to let my guard down. I actually had a guy try to nab me at dusk on a rural road and I made a ballistic scene, running out into the road, straight up the middle of the road, and acting completely insane. The guy took off, I called the cops, gave a description, and they paid him a nice visit. Like you, I'd rather be called a crazy bitch than be a dead lamb in a ditch.

If we aren't brave enough to share our stories and viewpoints then the problem will never improve. Unfortunately, speaking up on this very topic always seems to garner a smack down from some (seemingly a lot of...) guys. Sometimes you gotta ignore STers just like you ignore creepers. Be strong sister. And be safe.

That is an interesting strategy. I have never been in that situation, but I have always assumed that if I were, I would just take off cross country. I figure that I am a trail runner and most random dudes can't run me down in my element, so I would just go where their cars couldn't (lots of trees here). I might have to rethink the strategy. I have heard from other women that screaming and acting insane were successful, though.

Recently, I had a situation that was fucked up on so many levels. I was riding with one of my male friends on a rail trail. We weren't going very fast, we were just cruising toward the end of a training session. A man stepped out in front of my bike and tried to block my path. I swerved around him, then he saw my friend and apologized to him. The guy I was riding with was stunned, and I told him that shit like that was common for every woman, and he should ask his wife about it.
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Re: Awareness While Training Solo [f_ahsile04] [ In reply to ]
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I stopped reading the thread also. I just think a lot of men are oblivious because it would not occur to them to do anything bad. They don't have to be on guard all the time.
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Re: Awareness While Training Solo [SLOgoing] [ In reply to ]
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I'm glad we have this place on the forum to talk about these things. You were brave and smart. That probably prevented something awful from happening.

A couple of years ago I was finishing up an early evening bike in a local park. By the time I got back to my car the park was empty and it was getting dark. As I was putting my bike in the back of my car, I noticed a man, with his hand in his pants, coming out of the woods next to my car. Every alarm bell went off. I knew I had to get in my car and get the door locked before he got there, and without panicking. It was really scary.

I got in my car and he veered off to the side. I went straight to the park ranger's house and reported what happened. Afterwards, I learned that when the ranger stopped the man, the man impersonated an officer. He was prosecuted for that. He also had an arrest record and had previously been warned to stay out of the park.

So yeah, really bad shit can and does happen to women while working out. I can't change how others understand, or don't. I do know what my experience has been.

"Ain't no shortcuts to the Opry."
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Re: Awareness While Training Solo [f_ahsile04] [ In reply to ]
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I just read the humble brag thread based on your post here. Like another poster on that thread, I figured it would be about something like an expensive bike on an even more expensive car or lake side property, etc.

I am blunt and socially awkward. I can also be really fixated on what I'm doing and have a hard time snapping to and being charming. Anyone coming across my path at most times is likely to conclude I'm a bitch. Perhaps I am - maybe that word refers to any unfriendly-seeming person regardless of said person's intent/motivations. I rarely try to be a bitch, but I don't very often go out of my way to try to seem friendly (I find doing so to be really tiring), so you get what you get. (Unless I'm racing - I do go out of my way to put on a happy face then; sometimes I'm more successful than others.)

Interacting with others in what is considered a normal and friendly way takes a good deal of effort and if I'm in the middle of something I often don't want to expend it. All that said, I can't think of an instance when I've been creeped out by another cyclist. I thought the car analogy was fantastic, but have personally never experienced the creepy cyclist version of it. Maybe I'm lucky in that resting bitch face just keeps most whacko's from bothering with me?

I like to be situationally aware and agree we should respect our inner alarms when they go off, but by and large I want to give folks the bennefit of the doubt.

So my synopsis of the other thread is, OP probably wasn't being creepy, subject was possibly not being friendly (but isn't required to be), topic was not worthy of the post.

The running while female thread though, totally worthwhile. It is good to every now and then open a few eyes as to what, unfortunately, our reality can be.

To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive.
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Re: Awareness While Training Solo [happyscientist] [ In reply to ]
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happyscientist wrote:
I have always assumed that if I were, I would just take off cross country.

Before the incident this was my default plan as well, especially since I do a ton of trail running. In the moment, it felt totally wrong. For one thing, there was a ditch along one side of the road - the one place I am trying not to be. The other side of the road had a lot of brush and I felt like if I wasn't successful in evading him it would give the creeper cover. Straight up the non-existent yellow line (rural road) was the safest place to be. Just imagine me running straight up the middle, hands waving over head, screaming "rape, fire, murder, pervert" repeatedly at the top of my lungs while quickly emptying my hydration pack (was on a long run), tossing up into the air in all directions all of my jelly beans, gu, tissues, keys, etc so as to leave a trail. That was me. Then he drives off and I'm like. Ok. Guess I better pick up all my stuff from the middle of the road.

That said, I do almost all of my runs solo, and usually out where there isn't the safety net of crowds, cars, etc. It absolutely freaks me out, but I refuse to live in a bubble. My husband isn't happy that I run solo in the woods and for a long time he used to accompany me, even though running is not his preferred sport (he's a cyclist). He's finally at least stopped making me feel bad for running solo by not saying anything, but I know that every time I tell him I'm headed out for a run he silently wishes I wouldn't. He tries tracking me on find my iphone, but a lot of times I'm out of cell range. Sometimes if it is a really long run in a very remote area I'll take the Delorme InReach (there are bears and mountain lions and rattle snakes out there too, but I'm more scared of bad people) and he'll track me on that. It is a point of stress in our 20+ year marriage. But, he knows I would be an even bigger bitch if I felt caged and unable to go forth and run freely.

It is a constant struggle. Every time I park at a trailhead I inventory the other cars there and count off groups as I pass them to get a sense of how many other people might be out there. I'm on constant alert while out there, listening and watching for people more than I do for wildlife. Except for rattlers. I'm always on the watch for rattlers.

Hillary Trout
San Luis Obispo, CA

Born a swimmer, borrowed a bike, laced up some runners, and the rest just fell into place for a solid MOP life.
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Re: Awareness While Training Solo [f_ahsile04] [ In reply to ]
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I was listening to a comedy segment the other day, just after reading the Running while female thread.

The (male) comedian was spot-on, and the quote that stuck with me was "guys: don't say anything to a woman that, if you were in prison, you wouldn't want to hear from another inmate while heading to the showers".
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Re: Awareness While Training Solo [f_ahsile04] [ In reply to ]
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I think most people (men and women) do this under certain situations in various environments. For instance, I don't typically greet or make eye contact with unfamiliar people when I'm downtown in the evening. Engaging a victim and getting them to drop their guard is usually the first step. "hey buddy, you got the time?" "Do you have a dime for the parking meter?" I may be paranoid but that doesn't mean someone isn't out to get me. :)
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Re: Awareness While Training Solo [f_ahsile04] [ In reply to ]
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Glad I didn't read the other thread - I'd be prolly right pissed off and flame everyone... :-)

I've had the truck doing a u-turn to follow me scenario, the runner going opposite do a u-turn to run behind me scenario, the motorist pull over, get out and try to block my bike by standing in front of me scenario... the list goes on. I used to run with my big dog, and that solved 99% of these situations. Now that she's older and can't really run that much anymore, I am finding myself sticking to the HS track when it's dark & gloomy out. I still ride to work solo but it's during the day and I stick to busy routes and I try to ride pretty quickly. Weekend rides are with P or the club.

Sad that more guys can't at least try to hear what we are saying, try to put themselves in our situation, instead of just blaming us for being anti-social or whatever lame ass characterization they came up with....

P is pretty aware of it now. He gets it. But I'll admit it took time and a few incidents before he actually "got it".

AP

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"How bad could it be?" - SimpleS
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