I honestly really hate that I have to tell this story. I hate that it happened at all. And while I can look back on it with a mixture of relief that it wasn't that serious, and humor because let's face it, it's funny now, I still feel like I need to share.
Saturday I had an eight mile long run on the schedule so I got up early and got ready. Brad and I were visiting my family in KY for the weekend and my dad was the only person up at the house. He and I don't get a chance to talk one on one very often so I took my time getting ready and stretching while talking to him. I think I ended up leaving the house around 9am. And just like I was still young, he asks where I was going and how long I'd be, because he's my dad and he worries. I can't begin to list all the times my parents have given me that 'warning tone' when I mention running outside alone... And as usual, they were right.
Our hometown has a major bypass that will take you from one end of the town to the other and there is a walking path that runs between the road and the river. There are only a few spots on the trail that you can't be seen from the road. I've been on that track thousands of times.
I run out and back on the trail, and it is about 0.8 miles, so I settle in for a while. I've got a great playlist and while I have both earbuds in, the volume is very low. The first person I pass from behind is an older man, probably in his 70's, walking from McDonald's with his coffee. I don't pass another person until I'm on my way back (passed from the front), I passed a young boy who looked about 12 years old. I smile and wave and he nods. I continue to run.
I passed this kid really close to the turn around point so I quickly lap him from behind as I go out for another loop. He moves when he hears/sees me coming and I go on. Everything's going great, the weather's perfect and I'm really getting into my run. I'm running a faster pace than usual and taking the small hills with ease. I loop around and before long see the boy again. I really don't think anything of him being as we've already acknowledged each other, but I do look up at him and he nods again.
Right when I get by him, I feel this sharp smack on my left butt cheek. I am shocked out of the happy little world I was in and turn on him. He turned to run when he realized I was coming towards him but then he stopped. Either I'm not very scary or he realized he was running from a girl. I yelled at him, "who do you think you are?" and "who made you think it's okay to treat a woman like that?" (don't ask me where I get this stuff, I was in the moment). I kept asking him how old he was also. Like I said he looked about 12 and while I wasn't really thinking, I remember the thought, 'if I hit him I'll get in trouble for assaulting a minor.' (No it didn't occur to me that he'd touched me first).
He answers me that his dad taught him that he could treat women like that and he said he was 17. I was fuming. He obviously didn't have a good example at home, but that still didn't give him the right to touch me. He kind of smiled and walked off. I turned and started walking, and even put my ear buds back in... But then I thought, 'No, he's not getting away with this." So I called 911 and told them what happened. (Sorry I didn't have the PD in my phone). They sent two cops out and I was so pleased when I realized I went to school with one of them.
Long story short, they told me that I was right in calling (I was worried I'd blown it out of proportion) and they took me very seriously. They found the boy and he first denied it, then he admitted everything. He ended up being fourteen years old. I didn't press charges and the officers made him get in their car so they could drive him home.
So looking back... Yes this is a very funny story. Some little kid got grabby with me. Big deal.
But the whole incident has set in very heavily for me. I know you can't play the if's and but's game, but really. That just goes to show you. People can surprise you. I thought just because I was out in the open where people might see me that I was fine. I didn't have my pepper spray or ID. I had both ear buds in. Essentially I was in my own little world and that cannot happen!!
I hope you find the humor in this story, but I really hope it'll scare you a little like it did me.
Be cautious. Be prepared. Be careful. Be aware of your surroundings.