I’m a minimalist kinda guy. Two years ago I took the
cast shoes off and started running with naked feet. Even wearing minimalist shoes to my teaching job hurts my feet. The purpose of this article is not to convince you of the benefits of running barefoot.
The “running naked” I’m describing is unarmed running. Yesterday morning I walked out of my middle class home onto my ‘safe’ neighborhood street to do my weekly sprint workout. I jogged about a half mile to warm up and stopped on the flat stretch of road where I normally sprint.
It’s dark at 6 a.m. After one stretching squat the fun began. I saw out of the corner of my eye a large four-legged creature charging my way without barking. I’ve encounter dogs on runs many times. Usually their bark is more dangerous than their bite. I usually call their bluff and they back off.
This one was different. There was enough light to see that this was huge beast, maybe 100 pounds or more. The only weapon I had on my person was my iPhone. Stupid right? I’ve yet to find an app to stop charging four-legged critters. I could have used it as a projectile I suppose. My options for self-defense were limited. There was no nearby trees to climb. The available trees are mostly old oak and hickory with high limbs out of jumping distance. White men can’t jump anyway.
Fortunately, these massive trees drop limbs and our good neighbors pile them on the curb for pickup. I grabbed the first rotting limb off the pile near me and threw it rabbit-stick style at my attacker. He stopped 5 yards away as the stick twirled inches over what appeared to be his washtub-sized head. I reloaded. Cujo’s owner materialized from the shadows of the garage. With a less rotten piece of oak in hand, I yelled at the owner to leash the beast. After several less than authoritative commands later, Cujo disappeared with his unapologetic owner to their fenced backyard.
Emotionally rattled, I proceeded with my sprints. I had an extra kick in my step with thoughts of Cujo on my heels.
I’ll continue to run naked
I’ll just never run unarmed again! The prepping tip for me, and hopefully for you, is to never be lulled into complacency by familiarity. I’ve run my neighborhood streets for years and know lots of neighbors and their pets. My familiarity bred contempt and could have turned into a morning mauling. This encounter prompted a new SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for me and Dirt Road Girl: Carry pepper spray on all runs/workouts in the neighborhood. I always conceal carry on walks with DRG. Pepper spray will now accompany us for non-lethal encounters with four or two-legged vermin.
I’m searching for workout clothing for concealed carry. Also considering handheld tasers. I’d rather have a cattle prod to put a little distance between me and Cujo next time. Anyone got ideas or links? If so, I’d love to hear from you!