Peace of Mind and the Gift of Safety | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


**UPDATE!!*** THE WINNER OF THE ROAD I.D. IS: JESS!! E-mail me your snail mail at christieo at shrinkingjeans dot net! Congratulations!!

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This week, my husband learned that a classmate of his from high school was killed after being hit by a car. He was training for a triathlon and was out cycling.

He was our age and he left behind his wife and two-year-old. He had just begun doing triathlons to lose weight and fell in love with it. He was a photographer. He was a blogger. His son was wearing the same outfit as my two-year-old in one of his pictures.

He was us. Any one of us.

That night my husband went out for a run in the dark. I saw that he wasn’t carrying his phone because it was sitting there, lonely on the counter. He wasn’t carrying his I.D. He didn’t have pockets. All I could think was that if something happened to him and he needed emergency attention, no one would know who he is and no one would be able to tell me he was hurt. Had I not heard about the death of his friend, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. But this was too close to home and I had a terrible sickened feeling until he walked back in through the door and then I yelled at him, “Are you CRAZY???!!!” and threatened him (gently) to carry I.D. and his phone next time! He’s out running his 4 miles as I write this, phone in hand.

Here at the Sisterhood, we’re doing this fantastic new Globetrotter challenge right now where we’re logging miles, running, walking, just overall getting out there. I’m so excited to be watching everyone racking up the mileage and I’m so excited that I, myself, have this constant nagging feeling that I need to go out and get another mile or two in because I know someone (not mentioning any names here) was already up to 13 for the week by Wednesday! That’s a seriously motivating challenge, if you ask me!

I was never much of a safety girl in my 20’s when I was single and reckless. Because I was invincible, of course! I thought everyone who preached safety was just being a Paranoid Nelly. And now, with a family, some might call it paranoia, but I call it peace of mind. So it’s list-time, here are my favorite safety tips for when you are out there pounding the pavement. I’m not trying to instill the fear of God in everyone, I just hope to make our sisters, our runners and walkers, all more aware of being safe out there. And don’t just do it for you, do it for everyone who loves you! You are all irreplaceable.

Christie O’s Top 10 Safety Tips:

1. Map out your route ahead of time and if possible, drive it before you go. Identify public areas along the route as well as secluded spots and identify any safe places that you can flee to as an escape if you must.

2. Then, always always let someone know where and when you are running ahead of time and when you should be back.  Because if you stumble over a pebble, twist your ankle, fall down and become unconscious and bleeding from the head, and you aren’t home by 4:15 like you said and it becomes 7:15, your friend or husband or sister can send out the dogs looking for you along the exact route that you said you were running on, find you, and give you a band aid.

3.  Try not to run with music but if you must (like me), put it on low so you can hear traffic and any potential attackers jumping out of potential bushes.

4. Mix up your route and jogging times and be unpredictable. You don’t want some crazy knowing you’re going to be at a certain place at a certain time every day. That’s not good. You gotta keep the crazies guessing.

5. Carry your I.D. and cell phone!!! You’ll say it’s too annoying to run with your cell phone because you don’t have pockets or whatnots or it’s heavy or whatever your excuse is, but there are items you can procure to make sure you have a pocket and it’s so much better to be able to have your (fully charged) phone on you! First, there is a neat little item on the market called a SPIBelt (a Small Personal Items Belt.) Not a hip pack! It’s so much cooler than a hip pack because the pockety thing is small enough to fit your key, an I.D. and a phone and that’s pretty much it. OR, if you’re running longer than 3 miles, it’s also a good idea to also carry water with you anyway, so you can have one of these little ditties like I have, a belt that attaches your water bottles to them, like this one right here that I have by Fuel Belt, and it has a pouch in the front that fits your phone and keys and I.D. Sure it’s like traveling overnight in order to get a 4+  mile run in, but it’s worth it.

6. Carry mace. I know it sounds a little over the top, but there is a runner’s Mace at Sports Authority that has a great little grip and a Velcro strap and it doesn’t feel like you’re really carrying anything when you run, it’s awesome. (Not that I would know.) If you are confronted by a crazy or just a crazy dog, with a couple little sprays, your attacker can be rendered useless and you can get the heck out of dodge. (Note: check the legality of using mace in your area.) Also, you know the ol’ “keys between the  fingers” trick? Where you run with your keys between your fingers? Take one key and put it in between your pointer and your middle finger, and another key through the middle finger and your ring finger, keys facing up, and pointing up out the back of your hand, then make a fist. So that if you punch a potential attacker in the face, you get him nicely in the eyes with your key-spears. (Not condoning violence here, but purely self defense. Please don’t punch any innocent bystanders in the eyes with your key-spears on purpose.) A self-defense class would also be very helpful here.

7. Be completely aware of your surroundings at all times. Take note of the guy watching you from his car, take notice if the same car passes you five times or slows down really slow and rolls down his window and tries to talk to you from his van (this may or may not have happened to me). Try to take note of details of people and places around you, be hyper-alert when passing secluded areas or areas where there are nooks and crannies for people to be standing or hiding. And always have an “out” in mind, in any scenario, so that if someone or something confronts you, you already know your out. Do make sure that your “out” is a more public place if possible and not a more secluded one. However, I’ve imagined my “out” more than once if I needed to run from someone as just jumping into the bay if I needed to. Like they’re going to follow me into the bay. Sha! That’s too much work for them. I also picture myself pulling out my bamboo straw and sitting under water breathing through my straw while the person looks for me and can’t find me,  then gives up. I have an active imagination.

8. If you’re running at night, wear reflective clothing or remember my water belt I told you about? It has a reflector on the pocket. There’s reflective tape, too, that you can put on yourself and little lights you can buy so you can blink along your running path. I highly recommend not running at night as a woman unless you are either running with a bodyguard or running on Camp David, but that’s just me and my paranoia talking.

9. Jog and walk defensively. If a bike or car is coming, know where you can go to avoid them if they’re out of control. And did you know that if a car is careening toward you and if you have no way to avoid being hit, jumping is much better than just standing there? You have a better chance of going over the car, says Active.Com. But it’ll still hurt pretty badly.  Hopefully you will never have to use this little nugget because of the bright orange traffic cone shirt you’re wearing.

10. Finally, ladies, just trust your gut. If you feel like something isn’t right, you are probably right. The gut is always right. I have been known to completely turn around and go another way when I see something or someone that makes me feel uneasy. I’m not ashamed.

Now I’m not trying to turn you into a bunch of paranoid runners here and I’m definitely not trying to deter you from getting out there — quite the opposite! I want you to get out there (slap on the behind like from a football coach!) and go get ‘em! Because I love it out there and plan on getting out there myself all the time because it’s finally cooler here in Florida! But I do want everyone to be more aware and come home safely to your families at the end of the day.

Now to the giveaway part!! Yayyy!

Have you ever heard of Road I.D.?

They sponsored my 5k this past weekend and they have ads in every sport magazine I’ve picked up in the last month. They offer bracelets, anklets and shoe-ID’s with all of your information engraved on it so you can be identified if you are in need of medical or any other assistance. The I.D. has enough space on it to list your allergies or medical history on it, and an emergency contact number along withyour address, blood type and other valuable information. It also has enough space for you to put a personal quote on there if you want. (I did! Mine was “Strength. Focus. Discipline.”) It comes in a bevvy of styles and beautiful colors. This is definitely going in my husband’s stocking this Christmas, by the way.

Road I.D. was generous enough to offer one lucky reader their very own personalized Road I.D.! And if you get a second to read the testimonials, please do. These things save lives.

How to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite time-tested safety tips are and if you have ever had any scary moments, please share your braveness and educate our sisters!
  • For an extra entry, follow us on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. Be sure to leave an additional comment about your tweet!
  • For another entry, subscribe to our feed. Be sure to leave an additional comment letting us know you subscribed (or are already a subscriber).
  • Join the ‘hood. Come on, you know you want to! We talk about the funnest stuff over there! And again, leave another comment and let us know you’re a member!

Now for the fine print:

  • Contest ends today, November 13th, at midnight Pacific time. (Friday the 13th! Woooooooooo!)
  • Winner will be chosen via and announced tomorrow. Please be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you! Winner has 48 hours to claim prize, and unclaimed prized will be relisted for giveaway.

Disclosure: Road I.D. sponsored this giveaway. The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans did not receive monetary considerations for writing this post.

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