Off & Running
a Blog of Life on the Run


I'm a barefoot runner. I'm a woman. I live in one of the richest communities in the US. I feel safe when I leave my home. Every single time.

I am one of the few.

The living that I make does not afford me the level of comfort that I live in. I am truly blessed and have to remind myself daily to thank God for the blessings He keeps piling on my head. My income is well-below the level it should be for this area, yet I thrive here. When it comes down to it, I should be living in an area that would have me looking shifty-eyed at every person who passes me.

I run the Bethesda Trolley Trail, a beautiful trail that goes through neighborhoods of homes with people who drive Land Rovers and BMW SUV's. I run past people walking their dogs, a YMCA that costs $160/mo, a private Catholic school, a park, million-dollar homes, a prep school, Whole Foods. I see other runners, friends walking & chatting, and cyclists heading to work. I've never felt worried or scared while running.

Reading Runner's World this month, there is a story about a Ugandan man who was running and found a dozen kids sleeping under a bus to keep warm because their parents had all been shot. He took them in and paid for their care and food even though he had nothing. I think about what I would do in the same situation. I'm never going to find a dozen homeless children on any of my runs... most of the kids in my neighborhoods couldn't find Uganda on a map.

There are stories all the time about women who are kidnapped, raped, beaten, and left for dead in the woods while they were running in the dark. I run at 5:30 or 6am almost every day. I have never worried about someone jumping out at me while I'm running. I sometimes wonder what I would do if it happened but I'm typically thinking about my cadence and where my foot is landing.

I'm a woman. A tall one, but still a woman. I run in all black in the dark. I feel like a bit of a badass when I'm flying through neighborhoods in my Vibram FiveFingers. I do BodyCombat as a cross-training exercise but I doubt I'd ever be able to combat someone if they came at me. I'm strong but not that strong. I could run away but I'm not really that fast. I'm just a runner... a runner who is privileged enough to run in a safe neighborhood. It's a God thing, I know that. I thank Him every morning for the beautiful moon and the gorgeous sunrise... for the trees and the quiet spaces I get to softly run through.

I'm a woman. I feel safe when I leave my home. I'm a runner. I'm blessed. I'm safe.

But how can I help other women feel safe where they live? Even if it's unsafe. I'll have to work that out on my next run.

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