My Pepper "Spray"

The news about Sherry, the missing mother, teacher, runner that went missing 6 days ago in Montana has gotten me thinking more about what I can do to be more safe as a runner.  Her news is tragic and my heart goes out to her all of her family and friends.

I have considered rejoining the gym, but the thought of running on a treadmill, inside is painful for me.  I just don't enjoy it.  I'm not saying it's wrong, it's just not for me.

If you are like me and still plan on getting your running done in the great outdoors, here are some of my safety tips I'd like to share with you:

1.  If running at night, run with lots of reflective gear.

2.  Do not run at the same time/same route - mix it up.

3.  Run with your cell phone.  I've been carrying mine in the pink reflective fuel belt you see in the picture above.

4.  Do not run with music - you want to be able to hear if someone/something is coming up to you.  I have finally broken myself of this habit.  No more iPod for me.  Well, maybe for races!

5.  Bring protection.  What I want to buy --- Pepper Spray for the runner!
    I saw it on Christy's blog the other day and I am convinced that this is what I need!

6.  Try to run in well populated areas.  For me, that means if I run alone, a lot of out and backs near my house.  No longer will I be venturing into the dark wooded areas by myself.  

7.  Run with buddies.  I have my usual running date with the Rail Trail Chicks on the weekends.  I need to focus more on looking for someone to run with on my weekday runs.  I'd go with Ward, but someone needs to stay with the kids!
which leads me to...

8.  If you have a dog that is able to run with you, bring him/her with you!

telling her she's an awesome running girl
This past fall, I tried bringing Pepper with me on some runs.  Running with her was okay, but she's not a leash dog at all and I swear she was out to get me.  She actually tripped me a few times which wasn't cool at all.  I feared she would trip me when a car was coming and then that would be the end of me.  So she stopped coming on runs with me.  But, now that I am more focused on being more safe, especially when running in the dark, I feel I need to really give it a shot with Pepper.  She will be my Pepper "Spray" for now.

I've taken her on two runs this week so far and it's been okay.  She's definitely excited to go with me because she shot off like a rocket both times.

Happy & Safe Running to you all!


  1. Oh gosh, that's so horrible about Sherry. My heart goes out to the friends and family and prayers that she'll be found and okay.

    I just bought a reflective vest and also have a small "runner's pepper spray" that I always forget to bring with me. Definitely reminds me to bring it next time I go alone! I also do loops/out+back routes nearby my house when I'm alone, or routes that go by friends' houses in case I need something, I'm nearby a safe place.

  2. I, too, started being more of safe runner recently due to an assault on a local runner. She was assaulted at 10:30AM, on a sunny day, on MY running route of all places! I was shocked, really, as things like that don't happen here. So, my husband stuffed my stocking with a thing of pepper spray. I was usually carrying my keys in "stab" grip, just in case. Now, I only carry my key with my pepper spray. I also have a really tough German Shepherd dog who's really great on a lease. She's a search and rescue/protection pup, so the ONLY thing that stops me from bringing her sometimes is the SQUIRREL moments. ;)

  3. This story has certainly affected all of us - good tips here.  Thanks.

    I no longer have a canine running buddy so now I take my husband!

    Your Pepper is perfect.

  4. Pepper is so cute!  Our dog can't run with us since he is so young and we haven't taught him how to yet, but maybe some day.

    I typically run with my husband when we run at night, so I'm hopefully alright.  We never run with music so that's good too!  I don't really like to run at night by myself, though and try to get the workout over with as quickly as possible. 

  5. All super great tips!  I've always kinda thought of a dog to run with me... but I heard they take some work to "train" to run along side you.  Not sure I have the patience for that - or time in my run schedule.  Your Pepper is cute - I had a black lab growing up.

  6. Janine - 
    I do like the small runner's pepper spray as well & it is far less expensive!  Sounds like you are doing great being safe!  

  7. Melissa, 
    That is incredibly frightening but it sounds like you've got a plan!  I bet your German Shepherd is awesome.  My dad has had 2 German Shepherds and no one messes with them!  :)  

  8. Great plan going out with your husband!   Safety in numbers!  

  9. I'm not a big fan of the night running either - but it's a necessary evil.   I haven't done much training with her at all, but she is in definite need of some!  

  10. Pepper definitely changes the focus of the run.  They are definitely not going to be sprinting ones right now because I'm focusing so hard on having her not trip me.  I have had to let go of the speed thing this week and probably for a little while while I work on getting her used to the idea of running beside me and not into me! Thank you, I think she's a cutie too!

  11. I don't like to run alone at all for the very thought of something happening, but I like all of your tips. I do run with my dog, but he's only good for shorter runs. The pepper spray for runners is a great idea. I'll have to look into that. Thanks for sharing it!

  12. Good advice! Your dog is so cute! I always feel safer when I have one of my dogs with me. I am also thinking about getting that pepper spray. It's nice to have it in a ready position if needed.

  13. Love that pepper spray for runners gadget. I, too, prefer to run outside, but I do have a treadmill (just got one for my birthday on 1/3) and I love having the option (of course, I have to play games and vary it every few minutes to keep from being bored). I have a dog; she's sweet, loves the outdoors, and is happy to run with me... sadly she is a chihuahua and runs a 12:00 mile. :)

  14. Very scary - stay safe!  Thanks for the safety reminders - since I don't have a "Pepper" to run with (mines to old), the spray looks like the next best thing:)

  15. My dog loves (and needs) to run and while she can be a PITA, I almost always take her on my runs by my house.  We moved to the "country" from a sub-division about 1.5 yrs ago.  At first I was worried about run ins with another dog. Our neighbors dog got attacked by another neighbor dog,  so I got citronella spray. Then early one morning I saw someone kind of in an odd place out on the road (at 6ish in morning) and realized that I probably need to worry as much or more about people than dogs/animals and maybe I need pepper spray and not just the citronella spray....  thanks for reminding us all of safety. 


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