Caption stolen from my Instagram on Friday:
“Tomorrow I’m running in the only area that’s ever scared me. Might join a running group but also might do my own thing and keep it pretty chill. Janelle Mastain was with me.
We were lost on a trail far too long in one direction and looked at our map. No one else was on the trail for a mile or so and we turned around to head back to our destination. It was only a minute of two when I felt him behind me.
I freaked out in surprise and laughed because of it while i said hi to him because he literally came out of nowhere. He never said anything back.
Never looked at me. Just kept walking right behind us.
He was very intentional and not friendly.
All of a sudden her dog that loves everyone saw him and started barking like crazy at him and ran off ahead of us.
That was our sign.
We casually pretended to start running like that was our intention.
Within some time we looked back and he was running too.
We kept running and got to the destination and he was right behind us.
He sat on the ledge and was just staring at us at below his glasses.
Eventually a few mountain bikers made it to the top hooting and hollering(thank god) and the creepy guy started flinching and ran back into the trees.
I’ve always had that in my mind.
It’s changed my solo adventures.
Nothing happened yet my gut knew it was not right.
Anyway wish me luck tomorrow”
Let’s fast forward to today, it’s Monday and Hello!!! I’m still alive. That was something that happened about five and a half years ago and although nothing worse happened, it’s still in my mind. It still shows up randomly when I’m alone on a trail and I catch myself frantically looking over my shoulder. It’s sad that we humans have to watch out for each other as well as animals. I am 5’3 and an easy kill if anything ever wanted to, and my fearful pheromones probably put a big bullseye over me as well.
So Saturday I ran 13ish miles alone in the same area that that had happened. The first two miles I had mace in my hand. This might sound overboard for a lot of you but I watch way too much Forensic Files along with my previous story to enjoy myself alone in the woods. There was a time when I did enjoy it...before I was tainted with fear. Although I tell you about my fears, I never stop doing what I love but figured I’d share what honestly happens for me out there. If I’m alone, I usually choose popular areas to run.
Anyway the first two miles started with mace in hand. Then I started seeing a lot of other runners and the mace slowly went back into my vest pocket. Slowly I started to lose the fear and just focus on one step at a time.
My run was in Bellingham from the interurban trail -> the lost lake trail -> the rock trail -> the raptor ridge trail -> dans traverse trail -> the gravel road which takes me back to the interurban trail back to my car. It was amazing and I only fell twice, I only got bothered by horseflies once, and I brushed through stinging nettles and cursed the world. But I did it. Finishing things that scare me feels good. Trust me this is not some huge blogggable event, this is literally what I go through over and over again to get through these fears. Not a one time - accomplishment. This happens for me week by the week.
Today I was supposed to do Mount Defiance with a girlfriend but she backed out while I was at work today and that’s always hard. I wish I had more girlfriends that would run with me throughout the week but I feel that most are way beyond my skill level or hikers that want to run but don’t run.
So I’m getting ready to do a local trail loop which should suffice my training for the day and take it easy. This is a short blog for you but just a reminder that we all have fears, we all have stories that make us who we are today, but it is our choice to stop doing what we love because of fear, or to push through it anyway and feel the rewards by never giving up.