1. I think someone attempted to kidnap me.
2. It' s a good idea to leave a pair of sneakers in your car.
(Both these revelations could go hand-in-hand)
I'll tell you about my new sneaker rule first. We spent an overnight at my sister-in-law's house in Cranbury, New Jersey. As usual, I am responsible for packing for five people. Pete packs car snacks and will remind me not to forget the sunblock. We were already on the Southern State Parkway when I realized I forgot my pocketbook (Okay, I can be a bit absentminded) and, more importantly, my sneakers! Can we go back? I ask. Are you nuts? Pete responds. We actually weren't that far from home, however the traffic going in the opposite direction back toward our house was crawling, as is typical on the Southern State Parkway. Pete mentioned he needed to go shopping at Fort Dix, the Army base near my sister-in-law's, so I could pick up a pair of shoes there. Would spending money on yet another pair of sneakers bother me more than missing a run? I thought about this for a good minute and a half: I have eight pairs of sneakers already, but only really rotate three of them for my runs. It wouldn't hurt to have an extra pair to keep in the car for running emergencies just like this. You never know when you'll be away from home and have an impromptu opportunity to go for a run. I rationalized the frivolity and agreed to another pair (Pretending like I was getting new sneakers reluctantly).
The nice thing about shopping at military exchanges and commissaries is that everything is tax free and most of it is discounted. Unfortunately, sometimes the stock is limited. I saw a couple of pairs of Adidas and Asics for around $60, however none of their women's shoes came in a size smaller than 6.5. Ugh! As I was leaving the shoe department, I passed the kids' shoes. I remembered that my women's size 6 translates into a children's size 4! And whaddya know, they had a cute pair of Asics just my translated size! The $40 children's price tag was the icing on the cake.
Emergency Running Shoes:
When you gotta go,
you gotta go!
After the shopping was done, I went out for my "emergency" run. I waited until 5pm when the temperature cooled down to 80. My brother-in-law gave me an easy 7 mile route with just two turns. As I was heading back, about a mile and a half from their house, I turned onto Old Trenton Road. A man in a pickup truck at the traffic light rolled his window all the way down and waved enthusiastically for me to come over. I had my earphones in and at first thought he was my brother-in-law. As I approached the car, I realized I did not know him at all. He was a thin older man in his 50s or 60s with a gray beard. There was a small, yappy Jack Russell in his passenger seat. Suddenly, every Dateline On OWN abduction came to mind and I quickly turned and kept running past his truck. I saw him wave after me out of the corner of my eye. There were cars behind him also waiting for the light so there was no way for him to reverse, if he was so inclined. Now it's possible he could have wanted directions or some totally innocent request, however his exuberance was odd and off putting. It was a strange encounter that I'm glad didn't get any stranger. It made me more aware of how vulnerable we can be, as runners, alone on the streets. I'm usually on high alert for four-legged fiends, but the two-legged ones can be just as threatening. Yes, I know I'm suspicious to a fault, but if you're going to ask a young, doe-eyed female runner (Yeah, I'm talkin' about me, smarty-pants!) how to get to the highway, it's better to look like: